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Bill Collection Agent: Salary and Career Facts

Research what it takes to become a bill collection agent. Learn about education requirements, job duties, average wages and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you.

What Is a Bill Collection Agent?

Bill collection agents work to obtain payments from debtors with overdue bills, such as medical service bills or credit card debts. First, they locate debtors in order to inform them of the charges. From there, they explain the reasons for the debt and negotiate a payment plan. Over the course of the plan, collection agents monitor incoming payments and check in with debtors to make sure they stay on track. In cases where debtors refuse to make payments, bill collection agents inform the creditor so that they can take legal action.

Learn more about how to enter this field in the chart below.

Degree Required High school diploma or some postsecondary school
Training Required On-the-job training
Key Skills Negotiation, decision making
Job Growth (2018-2028) -8% for bill and account collectors*
Median Salary (2018) $36,020 for bill and account collectors*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will My Duties Be as a Bill Collection Agent?

Bill collection agents work on behalf of their employers to collect unpaid or overdue service or credit accounts. Many industries use collection services and employ on-site or off-site agents. As a bill collection agent, you can expect to contact customers experiencing financial hardship or those who are delinquent on their credit or service accounts to arrange payment. Sometimes the position requires that you use research methods, such as contacting post offices or performing credit inquiries, to locate delinquent account holders. You also discuss repayment options, negotiate payment plans and answer questions about the status of customer accounts.

What Qualifications Do I Need?

Most employers require you to have a high school diploma and some post-secondary education before they will hire you as a bill collection agent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (www.bls.gov). Employers typically provide on-the-job training in the company's policies, procedures and technologies. You must have a strong understanding of the legal significance of debt collection at the federal and state levels. The Association of Credit and Collection Professionals offers several basic and advanced certification programs, which provide training on ethics and laws. Employers prefer that you possess negotiation and customer service skills as well as experience handling challenging customers. You should also possess good listening, writing, persuasive and communication skills.

How Can I Advance in the Field?

If you perform well and achieve a successful rate of resolved accounts, you can typically expect to enjoy increased commissions or access to higher-paying positions. Pursuing additional training, such as certification, can also improve your advancement opportunities.

How Much Money Will I Earn?

Bill collection agents earned a median annual wage of $36,020 in 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those in the 10th percentile earned $24,620 or less, while those in the 90th percentile earned $55,360 or more annually. If you continue your education and gain additional knowledge and skills, you can expect to earn a higher salary.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Another billing-related occupation is a position as a billing clerk. Billing clerks work at companies in a wide range of industries, where they calculate charges for goods and services and send them out to previous clients. For instance, at medical facilities they evaluate medical records and send bills to patients and insurance companies. Another option is a position as a loan clerk. In this position, your job would be to interview loan applicants, record their personal and financial information and assist with the preparation of loan documents. Billing clerks and loan processors both need at least a high school diploma.