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Bill and account collectors salary & career outlook

At first glance, collecting debt -- what bill and account collectors do -- may not seem glamorous. But it can actually turn out to be a worthwhile career.

Think about it this way: As a bill and account collector, you help companies recover payments from overdue bills and you negotiate a simpler, sometimes cheaper repayment for the person in debt, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). So it ends up being win-win for everyone, mostly thanks to you.

Becoming a bill or account collector, according to the BLS, usually requires a high school diploma (although some employers prefer that you've taken some college courses such as communication and accounting) as well as listening, speaking and negotiating skills.

If you decide to pursue this career after researching a bill and account collector education online, you could enter a sustainable and growing career field.

Bill and account collector salary

Collecting bills for a living could, in fact, pay your own bills. According to the BLS, as of May 2012 bill and account collectors in America earned a mean annual wage of $34,320, with the lowest-paying 10 percent earning an annual wage of $21,850 and the highest-paying 10 percent earning an annual wage of $48,640.

Those numbers can vary depending on which industry you're in. According to the BLS, the top-paying industries for bill and account collectors in America, as of May 2012, were:

  • Communications equipment manufacturing ($49,050 annual mean wage)
  • Specialized design services ($48,640 annual mean wage)
  • Scientific research and development services ($48,630 annual mean wage)

Location may also impact pay in this field. According to the BLS, the top-paying states in America for bill and account collectors, as of May 2012, were:

  • District of Columbia ($47,610 annual mean wage)
  • Alaska ($42,240 annual mean wage)
  • Connecticut ($41,640 annual mean wage)

The top-paying metropolitan areas in America for bill and account collectors, as of May 2012, were, according to the BLS:

  • San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA metropolitan division ($48,330 annual mean wage)
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($46,830 annual mean wage)
  • Barnstable Town, MA ($46,590 annual mean wage)

Job outlook for bill and account collectors

Debt seems to be timeless, so it's no surprise the bill and account collector career field may continue to grow. According to the BLS, employment of bill and account collectors in America is expected to grow by 15 percent between 2012 and 2022, which is slightly faster than the national average.

Medical industries expect to see particularly fast growth as the cost of healthcare increases. In offices of health practitioners in America, employment of bill and account collectors is expected to grow by 30 percent between 2012 and 2022, the BLS reports. And in business support services in America, due to credit card companies selling their debt to third-party agencies, employment of bill and account collectors is expected to grow by 20 percent between 2012 and 2022.

The BLS states, "Unlike many other occupations, collections jobs usually remain stable during economic downturns. When the economy weakens, many consumers and businesses fall behind on their financial obligations, increasing the amount of debt to be collected."

Exactly where, geographically, growth of bill and account collectors will occur the most is anyone's guess. But if history repeats itself, then perhaps it will happen in the American states with the highest employment level of bill and account collectors. As of May 2012, according to the BLS, those American states were:

  • Texas
  • California
  • Florida

It could be a good time to become a bill and account collector, no matter where you are in America, as the career field may be sustainable and is expected to continue to grow.

Sources:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Bill and Account Collectors, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes433011.htm

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bill and Account Collectors, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/bill-and-account-collectors.htm