The nature of bail enforcement agent jobs is fascinating and satisfying. This particular career line was developed in the 19th century exclusively for the United States. However, in different states, the job title changes, such as bounty hunter, skip tracer, bail bond enforcer, and fugitive recovery.
Although the bail enforcement agent’s salary is commendable, and so is the on-the-job description, the profession is not very visible amongst the job seekers. This article will talk about fugitive recovery agents, their salary, their job role, and the steps to become a bounty hunter.
Bail Enforcement Agent Job Description
Before you go ahead in pursuing the career line, you must understand bail enforcement agents’ job descriptions and learn how bounty hunters work.
Here’s a behind-the-scene brief: A bail is given to the person with criminal offense only on this condition that they must not leave the country and appear in court when and as required. Once the defender appears in the court, the bail amount is refunded. But as we see in the movies, many offenders who are granted bail do not appear in court when their hearing is due. They either flee the country or take home underground. Some even vanish and appear after 10-20 years, while others are never traced by the cops ever.
[Also Read: How to Become a Detective (Private and Police)]
A Fugitive Recovery Agent Job Role
As the names suggest, a fugitive recovery agent or a bounty hunter finds these offenders or fugitives’ whereabouts, catch hold of them and bring them to justice, and in return earn a commission from the bail bond (this could consist of cash, surety bonds, property, etc.).
Bail enforcement agents typically work with bail bond agents. Bail bond agents are professionals who pay the bail amount to the court on behalf of the offender (against a collateral bond) when he’s not able to pay the bail amount. Bail bond agents also guarantee the offenders’ appearance in the court when due. In return, they charge 10 – 15% commission upfront based on the crime.
Once the defender or suspect appears in the court, the bail bond or the collateral is returned to them. In this case, the bondsmen get back the bail amount and keep the commission.
When defendants vanish in thin air, Bail Bondsmen hire bounty hunters or bail enforcement agents to arrest the defendants and present them in the court.
Bail Enforcement Agent Salary and Market
As of 2018, the employment rate in this line is quite high, almost touching 23,888 bounty hunting jobs in 2018. The market is growing at a rapid speed, and so is the demand of the professionals.
If you ask us how much do bounty hunters make, the answer is depending upon the severity of cases, the bail amount, and the number of cases the agent solves. The salary also differs from state to state. However, on average, a bounty hunter can earn anywhere between $38,000 and $50,000 per annum.
How to Become a Bounty Hunter
Traits That Will Help you Excel in Interviews
Although anyone can become a bounty hunter, few characteristics or attributes that are highly appreciated for the job include:
- Quick thinking
- Strong reflexes
- Common sense
- Street smart
- Good instinct
- Ability to work in a high-stress environment
- Investigation skills
- Excellent communication and networking skills
The career as a fugitive recover is quite adventurous that will keep you on your toes.
This is not a desk job, and therefore, you must be comfortable working in different environments, situations, and scenarios. For instance, you must be willing to work in the wee hours to deal with accused criminals in a dangerous place.
[Also read: Become a Private Investigator – Learn the Steps]
Steps to Become a Professional Bail Enforcement Agent
Note: No prior educational qualification is required. However, if you have a degree in criminal law and justice or a related field, you stand a higher chance of securing a job. That being said, the bail bondsmen give priority to the traits mentioned above than educational qualifications.
Step 1: Pursue Training If you Wish To
To increase your chance of landing a job quickly, you can consider pursuing a two-year associate program in criminal justice or any other program that teaches subjects like investigation techniques, legal concepts, reporting and documenting conflict handling, and communication and negotiation.
Step 2: Research If Licensing is Necessary
Depending upon the state you live in, you may be required to have a license to become a bail enforcement agent. Individual states may also require you to be a private investigator to become a fugitive recovery agent. Therefore, look up your state’s federal regulations so that you can comply with them ethically.
Step 3: Gain Practical Experience
More than theoretical knowledge, a bounty hunter requires practical experience to understand the intricacies of the job. You must learn the tactics to hunt down and recover missing and vanished offenders from the face of the earth within a stipulated time, without losing your mind.
Law enforcement schools will provide the relevant experience, such as peace offering training, types of criminal justice, operations involved in the bail bond industry, negotiations with criminals, investigation, tracking suspects, using force, arrest and control tactics, and using discretion.
Since the bail enforcement agent’s job is a dangerous profession, we advise you to gain adequate training(1), even if it is not compulsory in your state.
Step 4: Obtain a License
You may be required to obtain a license in a few states, such as Washington, California, and Texas. The qualifying requirements vary in each state. However, certain hours of training, pre-licensing classes, and passing an examination are standard parameters.
Remember that this is not a nine to five career and not a very-easy going one that. Though a very flexible and convenient profession, the fugitive recovery agent job needs a high-tolerance level, a calm mind, strong law knowledge, and an able cognitive skill. Make sure you receive ample training in law and justice, as well as in criminal practice before proceeding further.