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Collection Agent

Collection agents use strategies such as letter writing, telephone calls and credit management to collect money owed on past-due accounts.

Also Known As

Bill Collector, Claims Collector, Debt Collector, Skip Tracer

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Collectors (1435) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Collectors (B535) 
  • 2011 NOC: Collectors (1435) 
  • 2016 NOC: Collectors (1435) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Collectors

2006 NOC: 1435

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
METHODICAL

Interest in compiling and maintaining records and files; may work with on-line accounts and systems

INNOVATIVE

Interest in tracing and locating debtors and in making collection arrangements; may contact debtors' friends, neighbours, relatives and employers to obtain information

social

Interest in speaking with debtors in person or by telephone to resolve collection issues by making payment arrangements

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated May 17, 2021

Collection agents are employed by businesses, financial institutions, governments and collection agencies to get payments from customers or clients who default on loans, credit card debts, bill payments or other financial obligations.

Collection agents may have a variety of job titles such as:

  • Credit adjuster
  • Bill or claims collector
  • Collection clerk or officer
  • Recovery clerk or officer
  • Receivables control specialist
  • Accounts receivable analyst
  • Loan counsellor
  • Tax collector

Small companies may hire part-time collection agents or assign the task of collection to an employee. Large companies usually hire a number of collection agents or contract a receivables management firm. For accounts that are difficult to collect, businesses may hire legal firms or contract private collection agencies.

Collection agents use tact and diplomacy when collecting overdue accounts to preserve a positive customer relationship with the business. They may use a variety of approaches such as:

  • Sending persuasive letters
  • Telephoning debtors or meeting with them to discuss overdue accounts
  • Arranging a repayment schedule based on the debtor's financial situation if the debtor cannot make a full payment
  • Using local directories, bureaus, registries and the Internet to locate people (sometimes called skip tracing)

They also may:

  • Keep records of payments manually or in a computer database
  • Prepare letters and statements of overdue accounts for mailing

If debtors fail to respond to initial letters, collection agents usually follow up with other letters and phone calls. Most use 3 standard form letters:

  • First a letter of reminder
  • Then a letter requesting contact
  • Finally a legal demand for payment (used only when appropriate)

Collection agents are legally allowed to contact friends, family members, neighbours and employers 5 days after the first letter of reminder has been sent, but only to establish a new phone number or address for the person being sought. Collection agents have access to computer databases and elaborate skip tracing methods for locating people who are difficult to find.

Collection agencies usually are hired by businesses or organizations that have had no luck collecting on their own and are willing to pay a fee to get the money owed.

Collection agencies generally resolve about 40% of their debts through phone calls and letters. Payments not collected by agencies may be abandoned or, in some circumstances, legal proceedings may be instigated. If the matter results in court proceedings, once a legal judgement is passed the collection agent is then allowed to deduct money from (garnish) the debtor’s employment pay until the debt is paid off.

Working Conditions
Updated May 17, 2021
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Collection agents work in offices. They may sit for long periods of time working at a computer and using the telephone. Since collection agents often phone people at home, they may work weekends, early mornings or evenings. In Alberta, collection agents are allowed to call between 7a.m. and 10p.m. Dealing with unpleasant, upset debtors can be stressful.

Traits & Skills
Updated May 17, 2021

Collection agents need:

  • A high degree of motivation, initiative and perseverance
  • Flexibility to respond effectively to the unexpected
  • The ability to negotiate with people courteously and effectively in difficult situations
  • Verbal and written communication skills
  • Listening skills
  • Organizational skills
  • The ability to work under stressful conditions, meet deadlines and not be offended by insults
  • The ability to work in a team environment
  • The ability to follow instructions and pay attention to details

They should enjoy having clear rules and methods guiding their work, speaking with people in person or on the phone, and finding innovative ways to locate debtors and recover debts.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2011 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Collectors

2011 NOC: 1435

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 10 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Dec 31, 2021 and Sep 16, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Health benefits: Health care plan
Health benefits: Dental plan
Business Equipment and Computer Applications: Internet
Work with on-line accounts and systems
Business Equipment and Computer Applications: Electronic mail
Business Equipment and Computer Applications: MS Windows
Maintain work records and logs
Notify debtors of overdue accounts and payments
Trace and locate debtors
Personal Suitability: Effective interpersonal skills
Educational Requirements
Updated May 17, 2021
  • Minimum Education High school diploma

Most businesses and collection agencies prefer to hire collection agents who have at least a high school diploma. Some companies hire university or college students to work part-time as collection agents.

Collection agents usually are given on-the-job training. They must become familiar with local and provincial regulations governing collection procedures and learn how to negotiate with debtors. They need:

  • Investigative skills to locate debtors and their assets
  • Financial analysis skills to determine a debtor's capacity to pay
  • Sales skills to persuade debtors to pay the money they owe

Collectors working for a collection agency to settle debts on behalf of other businesses must have a provincial collector's licence from the Government of Alberta. Licence is not required if the collector is working directly for the original creditor.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Red Deer Polytechnic

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated May 17, 2021
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated May 17, 2021

Collection agents are employed by many types of businesses including:

  • Retail and wholesale companies
  • Banks, credit card companies and other lending institutions
  • Hospitals
  • Insurance companies
  • Leasing firms
  • Property management companies
  • Trucking companies
  • Health clubs
  • Hotels and other accommodation businesses
  • Rental agencies
  • Drilling, welding and other service suppliers
  • Utility companies
  • Government departments and agencies
  • Collection agencies

With experience, collection agents in large organizations may advance to legal collections or supervisory positions. In some financial institutions, collection agent is considered an entry level position from which employees may advance.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 1435: Collectors occupational group, 77.1% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 1435: Collectors occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.4% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 20 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated May 17, 2021

Collection agents' earnings vary considerably depending on their duties and qualifications, and on the type of employer. Those who work for hourly wages may earn bonuses or commissions on the total dollars collected.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Collectors

2016 NOC: 1435
Average Wage
$23.53
Per Hour
Average Salary
$47,542.00
Per Year
Average Hours
39.3
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 1435 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $16.73 $36.60 $21.72 $20.19
Overall $17.79 $45.21 $23.53 $20.19
Top $19.62 $47.29 $25.44 $20.77

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Public Administration
ALL INDUSTRIES
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Leasing

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
41%
41%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
N/A
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
7%
7%
Vacancy Rate
2%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Clerical and Administrative Support
Other Sources of Information
Updated May 17, 2021

Credit Institute of Canada website: www.creditinstitute.org

Government of Alberta website, collector's licence information: www.alberta.ca/collector-licence.aspx

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2021. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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