Complete Guide on How To Become A Bounty Hunter In 2023


Bounty hunting, also known as fugitive recovery, is a unique and exciting career path that involves tracking down and apprehending individuals who have skipped bail or are wanted for a crime.

In recent years, the demand for bounty hunters has increased, making it a lucrative profession for those who are interested in pursuing it. However, becoming a bounty hunter requires a specific skill set and knowledge of the legal system.

This guide will provide a comprehensive overview of what it takes to become a bounty hunter in 2023, including the necessary training, licensing requirements, and job responsibilities.

Table of Content


What Is A Bounty Hunter?

A bounty hunter is a private professional who is employed by a bail bondsman to arrest fugitives and criminals in exchange for monetary reward alternatively known as “bounty”.

Bounty hunters should ideally act outside of the legal limits that govern police officers and other armed officials.

The bounty hunter’s reward, or “bounty,” is usually a percentage of the bail.


For example, if a fugitive’s bail is set at $15,000, a bail bondsman may opt to pay the bounty hunter between 10% and 20% of the bail amount.

This is subject to their consent as well as the outcome of the bounty hunter’s operation.

A bail agreement is typically a civil contract entered into between a defendant and a bail bondsman.

To summarize, bounty hunters are hired by a bail bondsman.

Nonetheless, his actions are constrained.


Yet, bounty hunters have certain rights, such as visiting a defendant’s residence without a search warrant.

The job title is bail agency enforcer, bail enforcement agent, bail agent, recovery agent, bail recovery agent, or fugitive recovery agent.

Bounty hunting is a Medieval Ages-era remnant of Common Law.

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What Does A Bounty Hunter Do?

A bounty hunter apprehends customers who are on the run from the law.

In other words, they target persons who have skipped bail or failed to appear in court.

These bounty hunters are also known as bail enforcement officers.

Furthermore, they collaborate with bail bond agencies to pursue suspects who have failed to pay bail or failed to appear in court when required.


They are private citizens having the legal right to search for and arrest fugitives.

They are typically engaged as independent contractors.

Bounty hunters often collect a specific proportion (commonly between 10% and 25%) of the value of a bail bond.

Bounty hunting presents a variety of problems, and the majority of bounty hunters have extensive law enforcement expertise.

Many are former cops or private detectives who draw on their employment expertise and professional networks.

Bounty hunters, like law police, face some danger because suspects may resist arrest.

Bounty hunters frequently carry firearms and may need to protect themselves physically. See below for a bounty hunter’s responsibilities…

Gather Fresh Bounties

Bounty hunters collaborate with bond agencies to accept bounties for a charge.

They usually work as independent contractors, thus they may have to accept contracts from several agencies.

Investigate Fugitives

The investigation process frequently entails visiting to a fugitive’s home, employment, and habitual hangouts to gather information and interview subjects.

Conduct research

They may also be required to conduct research.

Communicating with police, tracing credit cards, monitoring a suspect’s web presence, and any other pertinent research task are all part of this.

What Is the Process for Becoming a Bounty Hunter?

To become a bounty hunter, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent academic qualifications, appropriate experience, and a license to practice.

Bounty hunters are private individuals who work to assist the criminal justice system.

They collaborate with a bail bondsman to track down and catch fugitives.

They also conduct investigations, interview people, and keep track of suspects’ identities.

It is their responsibility to turn over fugitives to the appropriate authorities.

You must be prepared for what is involved.

Remember, you’re going to apprehend fugitives.

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What Are the Requirements for Being a Bounty Hunter?

To become a bounty hunter, you must have education, professional experience, connections, and, depending on your state, a license.

The more connections you have, the more probable it is that you will succeed fast in the sector.

Individuals who are curious about ‘what it takes to be a bounty hunter’ can read the outlines below to learn about the steps required to become a bounty hunter.

Step by step instructions for becoming a bounty hunter

1. Educate Yourself

While no formal education is required to become a bounty hunter.

Anything less than a high school diploma is not permitted.

A degree in criminal justice or law enforcement, on the other hand, will help you develop the necessary skills, making the work easier.

2. Acquire Experience

Because the profession is more practical than theoretical, a certain amount of expertise is essential to succeed in the sector.

Professional training in criminal justice — typically as a police officer and/or a private investigator — can help bounty hunters prepare for the many hurdles that await them in the field.

3. Get A License

Most states in the United States require bounty hunters to be licensed, which may involve professional experience or education.

Hence, try your best to research the regulations of your specific state.

4. Establish a Strong Network

Bounty hunters must establish a network of contacts with bail bond agencies and local bail bond reps in order to get assignments.

This will result in additional jobs and contracts.

The method for becoming a bail enforcement agent varies by state; roughly half of all U.S. states require official licensure or registration.

Even in jurisdictions where licensure is not required, bounty hunters must undertake training before they can expect to be successful in the field.

Individuals with fewer professional ties may have difficulty acquiring bounty tasks as well.

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How Much Time Does It Take To Become A Bounty Hunter?

The time it takes to become a bail enforcement agent varies by state.

Most bounty hunters, however, require several years of criminal justice expertise to excel in the business.

I’m not saying you can’t enter the profession as a newbie, but having a high level of competence before taking on the job is preferable.

What Kind of Education Do I Need To Become A Bounty Hunter?

But, if you live in a state that allows firearms, you will also require a carry permit.

On-the-job training is available, as is training through a criminal justice school.

Where Can I Find Out How to Become a Bounty Hunter?

As previously stated, no special degree is required to work as a bounty hunter.

Degrees in criminal justice, law, criminology, and corrections, on the other hand, will be extremely useful. View the schools listed below…

The UConn School of Law

The Law School, which was founded in 1921, is accredited by the American Bar Association and a member of the Association of American Law Schools.

It provides a high-quality professional education that prepares graduates for a lifetime of rewarding service in any career they choose, including the bar, government, business, and education.

The curriculum emphasizes intellectual discipline and the development of professional analytic abilities needed to effectively react to the challenge of dynamic change in the law and the society it serves.

University of Eastern Kentucky

Correctional and Juvenile Justice, Criminal Justice, Legal Studies, and Police Studies are all areas of study.

Correctional and Juvenile Justice, Criminal Justice, Legal Studies, and Police Studies are all available at Eastern Kentucky University.

All of these programs are valuable to a bounty hunter because they expose him or her to the fundamentals of the law, criminal justice, and its impact.

Southwestern College

Law, Public Safety, and Professional Studies

The institution provides degrees in public safety, law, and professional studies, including programs like as law enforcement, legal interpretation, paralegal studies, and administrative justice. These programs increase the value of a bounty hunter.

Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU provides a criminal justice degree.

This program is intended for bounty hunters who want to improve not only their physical strength but also their academic strength.

Students who complete the bachelor’s program in criminal justice are prepared for careers in criminal justice, forensic crime scene investigation, and other public service fields.

Students are also prepared for graduate studies in law and criminal justice.

University of Eastern Michigan

EMU provides bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminology and criminal justice, as well as public law.

A degree in any of these fields will be extremely beneficial to a bounty hunter.

This is due to the fact that the duties of a bail enforcement agent center around criminology, criminal justice, and public law.

Central Missouri University

The University of Central Missouri offers a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.

This course introduces aspiring and experienced bounty hunters to the criminal justice system.

You will be able to identify moral and ethical issues that arise in the administration of justice and criminal justice practice.

North Dakota State University

Criminal justice is a discipline that focuses on law enforcement, courts, and corrections, as well as the criminological and legal ideas that inform practice in these areas.

Police patrol, criminal investigations, supervising adolescents on probation, counseling and correctional work in institutions, group homes, halfway houses, and other rewarding occupations are all possible for criminal justice practitioners.

Goodwin College

The associate degree in Criminal Justice from Goodwin College will allow you to experience and learn about all facets of the criminal justice system.

You will develop the critical thinking abilities required for modern law enforcement, security, emergency response, and investigative careers.

You will be well-prepared for a successful career by being exposed to present policing concerns, historical evolution, and the future of criminal justice.

College Park, University of Maryland

The department trains graduate students to conduct and understand basic and applied research, and provides undergraduate education of the highest quality, including internships and international experiences, with a focus on the promulgation of research-based policies to prevent and control delinquency, crime, and terrorism.

Youngstown University

Criminal Justice students at Youngstown State University learn about the law and how to effectively protect persons under such laws.

You will learn in-depth analyses of state and federal case laws, legislation, and rules.

Following graduation, many students choose to attend law school.

During our mandatory internship program during their senior year, students can integrate academic studies with the day-to-day operations of a forensic science-related facility.

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What Does a Bounty Hunter Get Paid?

Bounty hunters work under the supervision of private detectives and investigators.

According to the BLS, private investigators of all types earn a median yearly compensation of $50,510.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that job openings for bounty hunters will grow by 8% between 2018 and 2028, outpacing the national average.

Bounty hunters are paid for each contract they complete, and they normally receive payment only after apprehending a fugitive.

As a result, a bounty hunter’s annual compensation varies depending on how many contracts they fulfill in a year.

It may also be of interest to you that bounty hunters with more experience typically receive a higher fee per assignment.

Yet, a bounty hunter’s level of schooling does not guarantee a high salary.

Those with a higher level of education, on the other hand, often have a more comprehensive skill set and a broader understanding of criminal justice practices, allowing them to take on more difficult jobs with higher remuneration.

Bounty hunters typically collect 10 to 20% of the whole bail amount.

Aside from the money, the job of a bounty hunter is not easy; they must spend hours working on a specific target.

They even become engrossed in going to a pub only to sit and observe the target’s movements.

The real payoff, according to Bob Burton, is the adrenaline rush that comes from making an arrest or capturing a target.

In cases when the defendant, also known as the accused, cannot afford bail, a bail bondsman will step in and post a bail bond – similar to a loan — in exchange for a portion (typically 10%) of the entire amount.

Following that, the bail bondsman will obtain a bail bond from an insurance firm.

How Can I Obtain a Bounty Hunter License?

To become a licensed bounty hunter, you must follow the steps below;

Step 1: Clear a background check and satisfy state requirements.

A background check is required before a bounty hunter license is issued.

This is used to ascertain the applicant’s background and qualifications.

Those with felony convictions, for example, may be denied licensure.

Furthermore, the background check verifies that candidates have no prior mental health concerns, drug convictions, or other issues.

While some states accept applications as young as 18, others accept applicants as old as 21.

Candidates must also be US citizens or legal residents, as well as high school graduates.

Employees of local or regional jails, sheriff’s offices, police departments, correctional or criminal justice agencies, attorneys, or probation services are not permitted to operate as bail enforcement agents in several states. Prior expertise in law enforcement or investigations, on the other hand, may be beneficial.

Step 2: Finish the Training Course

Before awarding a license, most states require bail enforcement agents to finish a training course.

Applicants might inquire about bounty hunting training programs with state licensing departments.

The number of training hours required varies by state. Those with prior law enforcement expertise may be excluded from a training course.

State legislation, the legal system, investigative procedures, recovery methods, prisoner care and custody, and bail law are all covered in these seminars. Bounty hunters who carry or have access to firearms receive additional firearms training.

Classroom instruction, hands-on exercises, and range training are used for training.

Not to mention that those who carry firearms will be required to obtain a firearms licence.

Step 3: Apply for Licensure

A copy of the applicant’s driver’s license or identification card, a recent photograph, a fingerprint card, a high school diploma or college transcript, a bail enforcement training course certificate, a motor vehicle record, and a recent credit report are all required in some states.

Typically, a fee is required.

Of course, you can’t just start bounty hunting without a license.

Students and professionals who want to get a bounty hunting license should look into their state’s licensing criteria.

Step 4: Gain Work Experience

In some areas, entry-level bounty hunters are required to work as apprentices under veteran bail enforcement agents.

Before they may move to higher positions or work as independent contractors for a bail enforcement agency, these apprentices must complete a certain number of hours.

Step 5: Become Bonded

The process of becoming a bounty hunter does not end with the acquisition of a bounty hunter’s license.

The individual must keep a surety bond in the amount required by the state.

Several states enable bounty hunters to get liability insurance to shield themselves from losses incurred while executing bail enforcement tasks.

Workers of bail agencies are frequently exempt from this obligation.

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In conclusion, becoming a bounty hunter can be a challenging yet rewarding career path for those who have a passion for law enforcement and a desire for adventure.

As outlined in this guide, the path to becoming a bounty hunter requires extensive training, licensing, and knowledge of the legal system.

It is important to note that the profession also comes with risks and ethical considerations that must be taken into account.

With dedication and perseverance, however, individuals can successfully navigate the process and enjoy a fulfilling career as a bounty hunter in 2023 and beyond.

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