Collection agency representatives, also known as bill collectors, contact customers and clients who have overdue bills and let them know that they must pay them. Although collection agency representatives sometimes communicate with customers via the Internet or regular mail, phone contact is the most common method. While this position requires no formal postsecondary education, between one and three months of on-the-job training is normal.
National Salary Statistics:
As of 2011, bill collectors reported a median salary of just under $32,000 per year and an average salary of $33,770 per year. The middle-earning 50 percent of workers in this occupation made between $26,000 and $39,000 per year. The lowest-paid 10 percent of bill collectors made $21,540 or less per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while the top-earning 10 percent reported annual incomes of about $48,000 or more.
Average Wage Statistics:
As of 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that bill collectors earned an average wage of $16.24 per hour. Half of all bill collectors working in the United States made between $12.54 and $18.66 per hour, and the median wage reported to the bureau was $15.35 per hour. The 10 percent of bill collectors who made the lowest hourly wages earned $10.35 or less per hour, and the 10 percent of bill collectors at the highest end of the pay scale made $23.05 or more per hour.
Regional Pay Variations:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, bill collectors in the Northeast reported the highest salaries by region in 2011. California, Hawaii and Alaska were also listed as high-paying states. The very highest-paying state was the District of Columbia, with a reported average salary of $43,850 for bill collectors. Connecticut ranked second, at just under $41,000. The lowest average incomes for this occupation were concentrated in the South and Midwest, although the lowest average salary, $24,000 per year, was reported in West Virginia.
As medical costs and credit card debt increase, more creditors are expected to turn to third-party collection agencies to recoup some of these debts. At the same time, technological advances are expected to make bill collectors more efficient in their work. As a result, the expected employment growth among bill collectors between 2010 and 2020 is a modest 14 percent, the same growth expected throughout the economy as a whole. Because this industry has a high turnover rate and continues to operate well even during times of economic recession, entry-level job prospects are expected to be excellent over the coming decade.