Washington is home to many of the country’s largest and most beautiful forests. In addition, Washington is bordered by three other U.S. states and British Columbia, Canada. Because there is so much open space in Washington, it’s common for criminals to flee from justice, which is why the state allows bounty hunters to operate in its borders.
Bounty hunters in Washington are known as bail bond recovery agents, and the state has very specific rules to pursue skipped bonds legally.
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Becoming a Bounty Hunter in Washington
- Education: Washington requires a high school diploma or a GED to work in bond recovery. However, if you have three years’ work experience in this field, you can apply for a license.
- Age: You must be over 21 to work as a Washington bounty hunter.
- Degrees: You do not need a degree to apply for a bounty hunting license.
- Experience: Before you will be licensed, you must complete 32 hours of training. This training must include criminal and civil law, firearm instruction and how to operate in the field.
- Citizenship: You cannot pursue bonds in Washington unless you are an immigrant allowed to work in the U.S. or a U.S. citizen.
- Background: You cannot have any felony or misdemeanor convictions. You will also need to submit a fingerprint.
- Concealed Carry: Bond agents in Washington are required to be licensed to carry a concealed firearm.
Applying for a Bounty Hunting License
- Application Submission: The first step to receiving your license is to provide an application to the Washington State Department of Licensing. Included in your application must be proof of your training, a copy of your concealed carry license and a firearm certification and your fingerprint card. A $450 fee is also required.
- Exam: All applicants must sit for a 50-question exam and pass with a grade of at least 85% before licensing. If you fail, you will need to apply to take it again and pay a $25 fee.
- Licensure: If you meet all the qualifications and pass the exam, you will receive your license. You must renew it every year for a $475 fee.
Working as a Bounty Hunter
When you work as a bounty hunter, you will locate fugitives who are out of jail on bond and have fled justice. Washington, unlike other states, allows bounty hunters to use forced entry to apprehend a criminal. However, you must provide a local law enforcement agency evidence that the criminal resides in the property, you and your employer’s information and information about the crime committed.
You are also required to wear clothing that identifies you as a bail recovery agent when making an arrest via forced entry.
Degrees Useful to Bounty Hunters
As with any carry, a degree can help you become a more effective bounty hunter. The most useful degree programs to enroll in include criminal justice, criminology, sociology and forensics.
Other Careers to Pursue
Careers that are similar to bounty hunting almost always include some form of investigation. This can include working as a police officer, a private detective or a process server.
Major Cities in Washington
Seattle is the largest and most famous city in Washington, closely followed by Spokane. Another large city in Washington is Tacoma, which is slightly south of Seattle.
Examining the career statistics for private investigators is the best way to learn about your opportunities as a bounty hunter. This is because the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not record information for bounty hunters. Private investigation jobs in Washington are anticipated to grow by 19.5% over the next few years, with 360 private investigators already at work in this state.
The average salary for a Washington private investigator is $59,220. Bounty hunters can expect commensurate pay.