While some bounty jobs refer to professionals as bounty hunters, many prefer modern names such as bail recovery agent, bail agent, or bail enforcement agent. People working in these positions earn money by capturing fugitives. In return for arresting fugitives and delivering them to law enforcement, the bail agents receive a portion of the fugitive's bond. The job can lead to exciting cases, but the work is often dangerous and can require days of research and surveillance.
Bounty Job Education Requirements
Each state has its own requirements for bounty jobs. Most states require bounty hunters to hold a high school diploma or its equivalent. College experience isn't usually necessary. Before accepting a bounty position, though, candidates must pass state requirements that usually include a background check. States may require a valid driver's license, mental health evaluation, and established residency within the state.
Most states require bounty hunters to take training courses that teach them about subjects including:
How to capture and care for prisoners
Training is offered through several organizations, including the National Institute of Bail Enforcement and the National Association of Bail Enforcement Agents.
People who have undergone law enforcement training may have the option to skip this requirement. States, however, often bar law enforcement officers from working as bounty hunters. Anyone who wants to become a bail enforcement agent needs to apply for a bounty hunter's license. Individuals who work for themselves may need to obtain a surety bond. Those working for agencies, however, can often skip this requirement depending on state licensing law.
Bounty Job Market
The Federal government does not keep track of bounty job projections, so it is difficult to determine whether the industry will grow or shrink. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does, however, analyze data about private detectives. The private detective industry is expected to grow by 11 percent between 2012 and 2022. In 2012, private investigators made a median income of $45,740 per year.
Bounty Job Salary Information
The salary for bounty hunters varies significantly. Many receive between 10 to 20 percent of the prisoner's bond. Depending on the fugitive, this could mean hundreds or thousands of dollars. In most cases, bounty hunters make the most money by capturing dangerous fugitives. The percentage for nonviolent offenders is usually much lower and, therefore, less profitable. Bounty jobs may also pay more when they require working in high-crime areas or escorting criminals over long distances.
Bounty workers who want a more reliable source of income may wish to pursue police jobs or security manager jobs. Training programs for these positions are similar to those undertaken by most bail agents.