The only state in history to turn down a chance to host the Olympics, Colorado certainly is a state that values independence and a spirit of individuality. It’s the home of the United States Air Force Academy and the original home of the cheeseburger (or, at least, where it was first trademarked!) Over 1/3 of the land in this “colored red” Centennial State is owned by the federal government and boasts well over 20,000 acres of city and national parks. With that much land, some fugitives think they can hide out and never be caught, but that won’t be the case if the state’s dedicated bail recovery agents—bounty hunters—have anything to say about it. Follow in the footsteps of famed bounty hunter Duane Chapman (Dog the Bounty Hunter) who got his start here, by learning the steps to take to get licensed as a bail recovery agent in Colorado.
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Becoming a Bounty Hunter in Colorado
Becoming a bounty hunter, or more properly, a bail recovery agent, one must meet a specific set of requirements. These ensure that the applicant is knowledgeable and skilled in the theory and applications of state legal requirements, and the methods to safely engage in the capture of fugitives and in skip tracing bail jumpers. Obtaining a license in this state is done under the administration of the Insurance Division of DORA (the Department of Regulatory Agencies).
Basic State Requirements
- Education: A minimum of 16 hours of training in bail recovery procedures and regulations is required to apply for licensure. Most cities in the state have institutions that offer such courses, which can also be taken online.
- Age: To become a bail recovery agent, you have to be at least 18.
- Degree: While a degree is not legally required, many do seek higher education in areas like criminal justice which can fulfill continuing ed. credits and enhance necessary skills and knowledge.
- Experience: Experience as a bail bondsman is not necessary to become a retrieval agent, but can help you understand the business and increase your chances at building a clientele. To this end, many new bounty hunters seek mentorship from experienced retrieval agents.
- Citizenship: All Colorado bounty hunters must be either United States citizens or legal resident aliens.
- Background Screening: Background checks are necessary to ensure that the applicant has no felony convictions. You will need to be fingerprinted and provide a clear photograph or identification to establish that you have no criminal background.
- Exam: The fee to take the Colorado Bail Bonding Agent Examination through DORA is $73. Pearson VUE offers and proctors this exam, and passing it renders you eligible to apply for licensure for one year after completion.
Application Process in Colorado
- License Application: When you have completed the prerequisites, submit your application including a $71 processing and licensing fee, your fingerprints and photo for background check, proof of completion of your training courses, and evidence that you passed the exam to the Colorado Division of Insurance.
- Licensure: Your license is good for two years, after which it must be renewed. In order to qualify for renewal you must complete at least 24 hours of continuing education courses within the term of your license.
Degrees related to Bounty Hunters
Many bounty hunters, either as part of continuing education efforts or just to enhance their abilities, pursue higher education degrees in fields like law enforcement, criminal justice, sociology, psychology, police procedures, finance or business administration.
Major Cities in Colorado
As a mountain state with beautiful vistas, Colorado also has a number of major cities where bounty hunters can commonly be found. These include the state capital of Denver, Colorado Springs (the most populous city in El Paso County), Aurora (which is often considered a suburb but is more than half as large as Denver), and Fort Collins (home of Colorado State University).
Specific Duties of Bounty Hunters in Colorado
In their duties as recovery agents, Colorado bounty hunters seek out those who have skipped or jumped bail and failed to appear at court hearings. The bail bondsmen contract with the retrieval agent to bring these fugitives back to justice, in exchange for a fee. However, bail bondsmen must always act within the law. Bondsmen are forbidden to contract with any agent that has a felony background, has not completed a background check or has not submitted the requisite fingerprints to facilitate the process.
Careers related to bounty hunting include private investigators, law enforcement officers, and court process servers. Many bounty hunters moonlight in one or more of these positions to supplement their income.
Employment Numbers in Colorado
Employment numbers for bounty hunters are usually estimated based on those for private investigators. This is because the BLS doesn’t track statistics for bail retrieval agents and private detectives have closely-related job duties. To this end, Colorado is projected to see an increase of jobs over the next seven years by roughly 30% over their 2012 numbers.
Salary Ranges in Colorado
Again based on the earnings of private detectives, the average annual salary can be expected to range between $45,000 and $52,000, with an average of around $51,000 per year.
Education Programs for Bounty Hunters in Colorado
- Criminal Justice, MA
- Homeland Security, MA
- DEM - Emergency Management
- BS - Criminal Justice
- MS - Cybersecurity
- Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Public Administration
- JM: American Legal Studies
- JM: General
- JM: Health Law
- JM: International Legal Studies
- JM: Special Student (Non-Degree Seeking) - Legal Studies
- LLM: International Legal Studies
- MPA: Law & Public Policy
- MS: Criminal Justice
- MS: Criminal Justice: Forensic Psychology
- MS: Criminal Justice: Homeland Security
- Online Teaching in Higher Education
- Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) - Homeland Security
- PhD in Criminal Justice - Emergency Management
- PhD in Criminal Justice - Global Leadership
- PhD in Criminal Justice - Homeland Security Policy and Coordination
- PhD in Criminal Justice - Law and Public Policy
- PhD in Criminal Justice - Public Management and Leadership
- DBA - Criminal Justice
- DBA - Homeland Security: Leadership & Policy
- Doctor of Criminal Justice
- MS in Criminal Justice
- MS in Criminal Justice: Advanced Counterterrorism & Homeland Security concentration
- MS in Criminal Justice: Public Safety Administration concentration
- Associate in Science Criminal Justice
- Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
- Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with concentration in Criminology
- Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with concentration in Homeland Secu
- Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with concentration in Legal Studies
- Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with concentration in Police Admini
- BS Criminal Justice w/conc Human Services
- BS Criminal Justice w/conc in Corrections
- MS: Criminal Justice - Critical Incident Management
- MS: Criminal Justice
- MS: Criminal Justice - Corrections
- MS: Criminal Justice - Criminal Investigation
- MS: Criminal Justice - Forensic Science
- MS: Criminal Justice - Legal Studies
- DCJ: Education
- DCJ: Homeland Security
- MBA: Cybersecurity Management
- MS: Criminal Justice - Behavioral Studies
- MS: Criminal Justice - Non-Degree Seeking
- AA: Criminal Justice
- BA: Criminal Justice
- BA: Criminal Justice - Criminalistics
- BA: Criminal Justice - Homeland Security
- BS - Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration
- Master - Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration
- CTU - Criminal Forensics