How to Become a Bounty Hunter in Tennessee

Known as “the Volunteer State” for its accomplished brigade of volunteers during the war of 1812, Tennessee is now better known for its contribution to country music. Bristol is touted as the “birthplace of country music,” and Nashville continues to be a metonym for the country music industry as a whole. While cities like Memphis have a reputation for their culture, they also have high rates of crime. Criminals in the state also often skip bail, meaning that Tennessee bounty hunters have to be hired to go and bring them in.

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Becoming a Bounty Hunter in Tennessee

Tennessee has fairly lax requirements for bounty hunters operating in the state. They must submit to a background check and receive eight hours of continuing education per year. The Tennessee legislature recently passed laws requiring a bounty hunter to register with their local sheriff’s department in their county of operation, but not all counties enforce this requirement.

Basic State Requirements

  • Education: Eight hours of continuing education requirements per year
  • Age: No stated age requirement, but bounty hunters should be legal adults 18 years of age or older
  • Degree: No degree is required
  • Experience: No experience or training is required, although bounty hunters must record eight hours of continuing education credits per year
  • Citizenship: Bounty hunters must be citizens or legally authorized to work in the U.S.

Additional Requirements

  • Bounty hunters in Tennessee must not have a conviction for a felony on their record

bail fugitive investigator tennessee

Application Process in Tennessee

  • Bounty Hunter Application: There is no license required to operate as a bounty hunter in Tennessee, but you must submit to a background check and provide proof of eight continuing education credits per year.

Degrees Related to Bounty Hunters

Nearly any related degree program or certification course can satisfy the continuing education requirements for bounty hunters in Tennessee. A degree in criminal justice would be most appropriate, and many people in law enforcement and related fields have degrees in psychology, sociology or forensics.

You can also seek out education courses and seminars for improving investigative skills or safely subduing and apprehending individuals. Organizations like the Tennessee Association of PRofessional Bail Agents provide continuing education courses on an ongoing basis.

Major Cities in Tennessee

Tennessee’s biggest cities are Memphis and Nashville, which have fairly equal populations of 646,889 and 626,681 people, respectively, as of the 2010 census. Knoxville is the third-biggest city with 178,874 people, while Chattanooga’s 167,674 residents qualify it for fifth.

Crossville has the highest per-capita level of property crime, though. With only 11,199 citizens, you still have a 1 in 9 chance of being a property crime victim.

Specific Duties of Bounty Hunters in Tennessee

Per Tennessee Code §40-11-318 and §40-11-401, bounty hunters in Tennessee must make a “good faith effort” to verify that the name and address of the suspect they intend to apprehend. They must also submit the following to a police officer prior to attempting to apprehend their bail jumper:

  • Certified copy of criminal charges or pending investigation case for defendant
  • Certified copy of the bond or capias
  • Credentials from a professional Tennessee bondsperson indicating that the bounty hunter is operating as their agent
  • A pocket card documenting their credit hours as proof that they are satisfying the yearly continuing education requirement

While bounty hunters can forcibly apprehend individuals and forcibly enter properties known to be their primary residence, they cannot enter third party’s homes without permission. They also must obtain permits for any weapons carried and never apply excessive force or intimidation, especially to people who are not the suspect.

Related Careers

Similar careers to being a bounty hunter in Tennessee include: process server, bail bondsperson, criminal investigator, private investigator, corrections officer, probation officer, law enforcement officer.

Employment Numbers in Tennessee

Since bounty hunters are not required to register for licenses with the state, no employment numbers are available. For private investigators, a similar occupation, there are 590 individuals employed in the state. Tennessee also has a sizeable police force with 12,860 patrol officers, and there are 9,420 corrections officers in the state.

Salary Ranges in Tennessee

While no salary data is available for bounty hunters in Tennessee, private investigators, a similar occupation, make a median income of $50,430.