How to Become a Bounty Hunter

What is a Bounty Hunter?

As defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a Bounty Hunter is someone who catches criminals that have not been caught by the police in exchange for a reward. The practice of bounty hunting has been around for centuries in many forms. For the purpose of this website, we will stick to discussing the modern bounty hunter in the United States.  A modern bounty hunter can have several different occupational titles, such as bail enforcement agent, bail agent, recovery agent, bail recovery agent, or fugitive recovery agent. Bounty Hunting is a civil matter and does not always mean fugitives are being sought after for criminal conduct.

Featured School


Earn your degree from a respected, innovative and affordable university. Offering undergraduate and graduate programs that help you turn your passion into a profession.

While Bounty hunters are working, they often wear bullet proof vests and clothing that is branded with titles such as “FUGITIVE RECOVERY AGENT.” Many agents work in teams using two-way radios to communicate with each other. Bounty hunters also typically carry firearms, although some agents choose to carry less lethal weapons such as Mace®, electric stun guns, pepper guns and blinding flashlights.

Find Out How to Become a Bounty Hunter in your State

How much can I make as a Bounty Hunter?

Bail agents will reward bounty hunters in the ballpark of 10-20% of the amount of the bond to apprehend the subjects. So, if a bounty hunter returns a fugitive to the authorities that skipped a $50,000 bail, their reward could be $5,000 – $10,000.

Why are Bounty Hunters needed?

There are not enough police to apprehend all fugitives. When a person is arrested and bail is set by the court, the person may look for a bail agent to pay the bail for them. Bail agents are the most common employer of bounty hunters. When individuals who are out of jail on bond do not show up for their court date, the bond is due to the court.

What education is required to be a Bounty Hunter?

Have you wondered about bounty hunter certification? When you are looking for how to become a bounty hunter, you want to consider your education. What about a bounty hunter license? Common state requirements for bail agent licensure include reaching a certain age, paying a fee, passing an exam, completing education requirements, and submitting a criminal background check. There are additional prohibitions against employment in specified professions, most commonly judicial officers, members of law enforcement, and attorneys.

Where can I work as a Bounty Hunter?

As of 2017, there are only 4 of 50 United States that prohibit the practice of bounty hunting. Those states are Wisconsin, Oregon, Illinois, and Kentucky. The remaining 46 states allow individuals to be a bounty hunter as long as they meet the proper requirements.