Bounty Hunter / Bail Enforcement Agent
Bounty hunting is a popular career choice in the field of criminal justice, due in part to the popularity of shows like Dog the Bounty Hunter. Bounty hunters work with bail bond companies and other law enforcement personnel to catch fugitives who have skipped out on their bail or did not show up to their court date. If you want to learn more about working in criminal justice, use our listings to start your search today!
Bounty Hunter Job Description
As a bail enforcement agent, you must work within the limits of the law to enforce the law. You may take assignments from your company, which may front bail money for those who agree to appear on their court date in exchange for bail money. This may require you to track people down at their homes, at work, or more commonly, when they are on the run. You may have to be creative in how you identify, catch, and return people. A bounty hunter's salary typically depends on how many fugitives are successfully apprehended and returned to the court for their trials.
You must also be very knowledgeable about the laws in your state if you want to work in this field. Acting illegally or unethically may cause issues for your company and risk your employment. In an extreme example of a bounty hunter acting unethically, a bail bondsman in Florida was arrested in April 2018 for pocketing bond premiums for one of her clients. Part of your job involves keeping yourself up-to-date on these regulations so that you can follow them. You may find bounty hunting or bail enforcing to be a very rewarding job. You work may bring criminals and fugitives back to court, keeping your community safe and upholding the standards of the legal system.
This is clearly a fairly physical job, as you may be expected to pursue suspects and defendants who are on the run from the law. You are expected to do whatever you need to do to apprehend a suspect, so you may work a variety of shifts and travel all over the state. Y
How to Become a Bounty Hunter (Bail Enforcement Agent)
While many criminal justice and law enforcement jobs require quite a bit of education and specialized training, bounty hunters do not typically have to complete a degree in criminal justice. However, since this job does require the use of a gun, you must meet background check requirements and complete firearm safety training. To find out what you need to do to become a bail enforcement agent, it's important to look at the state in which you plan on working. In Illinois, Kentucky, Oregon, Florida, and Wisconsin, bounty hunting is illegal. If you want to work in this field in these states, you must become a bail enforcement agent. This job title does require licensure, so you may have to complete a degree in criminal justice or law enforcement. In states where bounty hunting is legal, you simply need to meet the expectations of each individual employer.
At minimum, you need a high school diploma or GED to become a bounty hunter. Even if a more advanced degree is not required, it may give you a more extensive range of employment opportunities to consider. You must also go through the process of earning a firearm permit; this process differs from state to state. Typically, this step requires you to pass a background check and prove that you do not have a dangerous criminal background.
Once you are hired as a bail enforcement agent or bounty hunter, you may complete on-the-job training. Some of the topics you may cover in your training include investigation techniques, civil law, due process, and how to appropriately and legally apprehend a fugitive. After you becoming a licensed bail enforcement agent or a bounty hunter, you may have to keep up on training requirements to maintain your position. This may include coursework on laws and statutes in your state, new techniques for the apprehension of suspects, and updates on firearm safety in your state.
Bounty Hunter Salary and Career Outlook
Across the US, the job outlook for bounty hunters, bail enforcement agents, and other investigative specialists is very promising. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, detectives, investigators and others in this specialty will experience an 11% increase in jobs from 2016-2026.
Salaries for bounty hunters and bail enforcement agents depend on many factors, including where they work, how much experience they have, and how successful they are at apprehending suspects. The national average salary in this field is $50,700 per year. In California, the average salary for someone in this field is $67,300. On the other end, Wisconsin bounty hungers earn an average yearly salary of $42,790.
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