How to Become a Certified Bounty Hunter

By | November 11, 2023
How to Become a Certified Bounty Hunter
You can make a rewarding career in the bail bond industry by becoming a bounty hunter.

How to Become a Certified Bounty Hunter

If you are interested in the bounty hunter career and want to know how you can become one, then this post is for you. It provides the needed information to successful get into the career, including becoming certified.

Read on ….

Who is a Bounty Hunter?

A bounty hunter is a professional, or a bail enforcement agent, who tracks down fugitives and gets a percentage of the bail money. Fugitives are individuals facing trial who have absconded and cannot be located, and have forfeited posted bail for not appearing in court.

Bounty hunters are hired by bondsmen (who paid the bail money) to help find and recover from fugitives the money they paid to ensure their bail.

Bounty hunters need to attend training and get certified and sometimes licensed, depending on the state where they work.

The National Association of Fugitive Recovery Agents (NAFRA) is one of the most recognized agencies in the United States that train and certify bounty hunters.

NAFRA has recommended bounty hunters to be more effective than the police and nab almost 90 percent of all bail jumpers.

Educational Requirements and Career Pathway

The only educational requirement for bounty hunting career is high school diploma. That means that post-secondary education or equivalent is not required to become a bounty hunter.

How to Obtain Bounty Hunter Certification and Training

Certification plays a major role in the bounty hunting career. It brings recognition to the bearer, and opens ways for job connections.

Procedural and Legal Training

Every state has its own rules and legal limitations related to bounty hunting, according to the laws of that state.

Some of the procedural protocols that bounty hunters should understand are as follows:

  • Legal process
  • Bail bond process
  • Use of firearms and weapons
  • Proper use of force
  • Transportation of fugitives
  • Entry and seizure.

Civil and criminal law pertaining to fugitive recovery are as follows:

  • State laws and statutes
  • Constitutional law
  • Surveillance and public record law
  • Detainee civil rights
  • Procedure for surrendering defendants to law enforcement

Skill Acquisition Training for Bounty Hunters

This training includes self-defense and firearms training, handcuffing techniques and tactical entry. All sessions of the training are applicable to all bounty hunters.

  • Self-Defense Training: It is going to really be risky pursuing a fugitive who would do almost anything to avoid jail term. Bounty hunters are trained to use all possible means of defending themselves during operations. In addition, they learn martial arts and kickboxing.
  • Firearms and Weapons Training: In a situation that allows bounty hunters to carry arms and other weapons, they should get proper knowledge through this type of training. The firearms and weapons training involves formal firearms training and certification through the Criminal Justice Training Commission (CJTC). Additional training involves the use of non-lethal weapons like batons, pepper spray, and tasters.
  • Field Training: Bounty hunters undergo on-the-job apprenticeship training under the supervision of a bail bondsman or bounty hunter. This offers real-life experience to the hunter who faces the challenges of the real-world bounty hunting career. The trainee performs surveillance; captures and arrests criminal fugitives.

Licensing Procedure for Bounty Hunters

You should check the licensing requirements of the state where you operate. This helps you to know what they need before issuing you a license. Some states may require high school diploma, driver’s license, training, and work experiences.

If you are licensed in Arizona but need to pursue someone to Texas, you are required by the law to obtain a license from Texas if your aim is to make an arrest there.

If perhaps you are caught working in a non-bail states such as Kentucky and Oregon, you may land yourself in jail.

Some of the requirements for obtaining a state license in bounty hunting include:

1. Past Records Check: If there is an instance of criminal records, the individual might be disqualified. The check extends to examination of mental condition and whether the individual had been treated in a rehab of alcohol or drug.

2. Minimum Age Requirements: When it comes to age, some states require minimum of 18 years while some 21.

3. Educational Requirements: Minimum of high school diploma or equivalent may be required.

4. Residency Requirements: U.S. citizenship or legal residency may also be required.

5. A Valid Driver’s License: There is requirement of a valid driver’s license by some states, and sometimes they trace your past driving records.

6. Licensing Training and Certification: Some states require attendance and completion of training course before issuance of license.

7. Work experience: Some states require that you work and gain experience before applying for a license.

Continuing Education for Maintaining a License

Many states that license bounty hunters will require that you complete some continuing education before renewal of license.

Also required are completion of renewal application and payment of renewal fee. After meeting the necessary requirements, your license will then be renewed.

Bounty Hunters Duties and Responsibilities

According to most state laws, a bounty hunter can only pursue a fugitive after receiving authorization from a bail bondsman.

The authorization permits a bounty hunter to arrest the fugitive in the presence or absence of the bail bondsman.

He/she needs a copy of the bond from a bail bondsman in order to initiate arrest.

The personal information of the fugitive is given to the bounty hunter by the bail bondsman in order to facilitate a successful search and arrest.

Some of the duties and responsibilities of bounty hunters include:

  • Use databases and social media to determine the whereabout of fugitives
  • Interview friends, family members, colleagues, and neighbors in search of the fugitive
  • Affirmation of whereabout of fugitive to determine the appropriate time for arrest
  • Work for bail bondsmen to trace and apprehend criminal defendants who refuse to show up at the court after posting bail
  • Keep suspects under surveillance at the request of bail agents.

Where Can Bounty Hunters Look For Employment?

Bounty hunters get hired by bail bondsmen, or sometimes they may be required to contact local law enforcement agencies of their bounty hunting activities.

The Average Salary of Bounty Hunters

The exact income range for bounty hunters cannot be determined. It is usually between 10 and 20% of the bail money and varies from state to state.

According to the Bail Bonds Salary Organization, the Californian estimated average income for bounty hunters is around $27,000.

Generally, highly experienced bounty hunters can earn anywhere from $50,000 to $80,000 annually.


You can certainly make a good career as a bounty hunter by equipping yourself with the right knowledge.

So, if you are interested in a career to do with investigation and enforcement, you might want to take a look at becoming a bounty hunter.