4 minute read

Bounty Hunter Job Description, Career as a Bounty Hunter, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training:— No formal degrees required. Certification/ licensing may be necessary in some states.

Salary: Median— $62,500 annually

Employment Outlook:— Fair

Bounty hunters, officially referred to as bail enforcement agents or fugitive recovery agents, capture fugitives in return for a monetary reward which is known as the “bounty”. These unofficial law enforcement agents track down defendants who have failed to appear in court. Their primary responsibility involves executing warrants on people who have skipped or forfeited bail. Bounty hunters work independently, and are often hired by bail bond companies in the case of disappearance of any of their clients.

The profession of bounty hunting is legal only in the Republic of the Philippines, and the United States. In other countries, standard law enforcement agencies are employed to track down and return suspects.

Bounty hunters play the role of police authorities when it comes to capturing bail jumpers and ensuring their appearance in court. They are an important part of the bail bonds system, and in turn, of the justice system of a country.

Bounty hunting, as a profession, involves a number of responsibilities. Bounty hunters have to conduct investigations, perform surveillance, make arrests, and transport prisoners to the proper authorities. The job also requires one to research the state laws and regulations, and work in accordance with those.

Education and Training Requirements

In order to enter the profession of bounty hunting, candidates are not required to possess any specific academic qualification. However, it is advisable to opt for formal education in the field of liberal arts, criminal justice, or business.

Although formal degrees are not mandatory, a number of states require bounty hunters to possess licenses. There are some state-certified schools that offer certification courses to bounty hunters. In addition, it is extremely important to have a thorough understanding of the state laws. Each state has its own specific laws on bail enforcement and bounty hunting. Prior to applying for licensing, it is necessary to know the criteria for application in that state. For instance, in some states, it is not legal for bounty hunters to carry fire arms. Some other states require bounty hunters to wear visible identification tags. Still others, like Kentucky, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Oregon, consider bounty hunting to be illegal.

Another important aspect of the profession is training. Those wishing to become bounty hunters need to have some kind of martial arts and self defense training. One should learn how to use a fire arm. It is also a good idea to have some knowledge about security measures and negotiation tactics.

Getting the Job

Getting the job of a bounty hunter may prove a little tricky. Since they are mostly recruited by companies in the bail bonds industry, it is a good idea to first approach such an organization to act as a mentor. Local companies may even advertise job openings through job portals on the Internet.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Advancement in this profession comes with experience. It is usually after years of work that one becomes familiar with all the processes of tracing fugitives and apprehending them.

In order to progress in their careers, bounty hunters must maintain friendly relationships with others in the bail enforcement profession. It is extremely necessary to market one’s services since bail bond companies only trust bounty hunters they know well and are comfortable with.

Opting for online courses in bounty hunting can also prove beneficial. These courses provide information on the various techniques of locating fugitives, like “skip tracing”. Attending these courses will make one aware of the more effective ways of conducting background checks, obtaining phone records, and tracing license plates.

Employment outlook for bounty hunters is expected to be fair in the next ten years. They are an important part of the state’s justice system, and help apprehend the large number of fugitives who regularly skip bonds and try to flee the authorities. Job prospects are likely to be favorable for those having formal certification.

Working Conditions

Bounty hunters lead an adventurous life. They have to travel frequently and work odd hours. The job also has an element of danger attached to it. Bounty hunters are required to bring to justice fugitives who are considered armed and dangerous. This job role calls for a great deal of courage and cleverness, and also expertise in self defense techniques. Bounty hunters may have to work in all kinds of weather conditions, and be prepared to chase after a fugitive any time of the day or night.

Where to Go for More Information

United States Professional Bail Bond Investigators Association
P.o. Box 7819
San Antonio, Texas 78207

National Association of Bail Enforcement Agents
P.O. Box 129
Falls Church, VA 22040-0129

Fugitive Recovery Agents Association
P.O. Box 323
Lorain, Ohio 44052

Salary, Earnings and Benefits

Bounty hunters employed by bail bonds companies usually charge a contingency fee for apprehending a bail jumper. This fee is about 10% of the bail bond’s face value.

Entry level jobs in this profession report median annual salaries of $25,000 in the United States. However, with experience, bounty hunters have been known to earn $100,000 annually.

Bounty hunters do not enjoy most of the regular benefits that are offered to salaried professionals. However, those employed by an organization may be entitled to paid leaves, vacations, and life insurance and medical insurance coverage.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesLaw and Public Service