A bail bonds recovery agent is a job with many names. Also known as a bounty hunter, skip tracer, and fugitive recovery agent just to name a few. But no matter what name, these people have a job that requires a lot of knowledge and skill and can be rewarding not only financially but also by helping bring justice to those who try and skirt the system. There are several criteria a person needs to become a bail bond recovery agent from training to licensing, here is an overview of what it takes.
The first step to becoming a recovery agent is being able to check off the base qualifications before going any further. Possibly the most important step is to first and foremost look at your state’s regulations. Each state has a completely different set of laws and guidelines regarding bail bond recovery agents. This can mean that the amount of training, age qualifications, and exams can vary and some states ban the profession completely. So unless you are ok with moving to a different state it is best to know from the start if you are allowed to become a recovery agent where you live and if the most basic qualifications are feasible. Beyond that, a couple of other universal qualifications to become a recovery agent are:
- Be at least 18 years old (some states require you to be 21)
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- No convictions unless they have been expunged
- In terms of convictions, felonies are typically disqualifying as opposed to misdemeanors but circumstances are taken into account such as why the felony occurred. So even if you are worried about your previous record, it may not be a completely closed door and worth looking into your options.
Becoming a bail bond recovery agent is not a job for everyone especially if you are looking for a 9-5 job. This is a career with odd hours, lots of travel, vast amounts of research as well as the need to wear numerous hats all at once. The nature of this position is almost like that of a detective where you will have to leave no stone unturned to find the culprit. You will have to be comfortable not only doing in-depth research about local laws and regulations but will also need to be at ease interviewing friends and family members, working in cooperation with bail bonds agencies not to mention having the temperament and knowledge to sometimes handle dangerous situations.
The road to becoming a bail recovery agent also requires quite a bit of training. In general, those who wish to get into this career need to take classes on law and legal procedures and receive training in the use of common tools and implements such as pepper spray, tasers, and batons. Each state will have its standards and requirements that must be adhered to. Usually, a would-be bond recovery agent can utilize a private company that provides training for these implements but often state governments can point you to resources. Additional training in self-defense and the use of firearms can be beneficial as well, given the nature of the work. Finally, some colleges offer a two-year degree in criminal justice that provides the necessary training and coursework for those people looking to become bail recovery agents.
After undergoing all of the required training and coursework, you must take an exam to certify as a bond recovery agent. Usually, you will have to apply and submit your coursework and training certificates, a set of fingerprints, and any required supporting documents. The exam is multiple choice and if it is passed, allows licensure for a few years until it is due for renewal. Like most professional licenses, there are continuing education and other requirements that may vary from state to state.
Once someone has been trained, certified, and licensed as a bail recovery agent, it is time to get to work. Generally, a bail recovery agent will be employed by a bail bond agency. While there are mainly no additional formal education requirements for these positions, bail bond agencies will typically look for former security, military or law enforcement backgrounds. In some cases, bail recovery agents work on a contract basis for a variety of agencies and can get paid a fee of 10-25% of the bond cost. Agencies need bounty hunters when defendants who have been bailed out of jail skip bail and need to be recovered (eBail provides a tracking app to help trace defendants). Successful bail recovery agents will also spend time networking with their local bond agencies. Bond agencies in need of bond recovery services will often go with the agent that they know and are confident will be able to complete the job. Keeping in contact and building a good reputation is essential.
Final Considerations Before Becoming a Bond Recovery Agent
All in all, being a bond recovery agent is not for everyone. In addition to the training, coursework, and preferred background, it requires a certain type of person that is willing to do what it takes to find their person. While the road to get started may have some hurdles, it is possible and not out of reach if this is a career path you want to pursue.