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What Does a Bounty Hunter Do? Bounty hunters have strict job requirements to bring fugitives to justice.

bounty hunter with suspect

Bounty hunters aren’t just reality show stars. They’re real-life criminal justice agents who must be up for a challenging career.

Earning a criminal justice degree or law enforcement degree can help you get started on a bounty hunting career. Since every state has different laws when it comes to bounty hunting, check the requirements on licensing and if it’s legal in your jurisdiction.

What Does a Bounty Hunter Do?

Bounty hunters, also known as fugitive recovery agents or bail enforcement agents, are responsible for the capture and return of individuals that have failed to show up for their appointed day in court. These individuals are now considered fugitives in the eyes of the judicial system.

In order to succeed in capturing criminals, bounty hunters must do several things:

  • Communicate effectively to all types of people, from fugitives to law enforcement
  • Conduct surveillance
  • Investigate and collect evidence to locate a fugitive

Why is a bounty hunter necessary? Generally, it is in the best interest of the bail bond agency to hire a bounty hunter to locate and return the fugitive. Upon the capture and successful return of the fugitive, the bounty hunter will receive payment from the bail bond agency.

Bounty Hunter Salary and Job Growth

A bounty hunter’s salary depends on several factors:

  • Experience
  • Education
  • Training
  • Overall reputation

Bounty hunters are generally paid a percentage of the original bail once a fugitive has been apprehended and returned. As a rule, expected commission for a recovery is approximately 10% of the original bail.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2020 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for Recovery Agents, classified under Private Detectives and Investigators, is $53,320. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience, and a variety of other factors.

Employment is expected to grow 13% through 2030, which is faster than the average of all occupations.

Whether you want work independently or are looking for an employer, remember that bounty hunting is a business and, just like any other, requires research and respect.