Collectors must usually have a high school diploma and experience in a call center. A few months of on-the-job training is common.
Most bill and account collectors are required to have a high school diploma, although some employers prefer applicants who have taken some college courses. Communication, accounting, and basic computer courses are examples of classes that are helpful for entering this occupation.
Collectors usually get 1 to 3 months of on-the-job training after being hired. Training includes learning the company’s policies and computer software and learning the laws for debt collection in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, as well as their state’s debt collection regulations. If they do not have experience, they may also be trained in how to negotiate.
Some employers prefer applicants who have experience in call centers. At least 6 months to 1 year is common. However, some agencies want a collector to have several years of experience.
Listening skills. When trying to negotiate a repayment plan, collectors must pay attention to what debtors say. Learning the particular situation of the debtors and how they fell into debt can help collectors suggest solutions.
Negotiating skills. Reconciling the differences between two parties (the debtor and the creditor) and offering a solution that is acceptable to both parties are the main aspects of a collector’s job.
Speaking skills. Collectors must be able to speak to debtors to explain their choices and ensure that they fully understand what is being said.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition