Georgia Bounty Hunter Guide: Requirements and Steps

    Over 10.7 million people live in the state of Georgia.1 Georgia allows the practice of bounty hunting but does not use the term “bounty hunter” in its statutes. Instead, those employed in the capacity of fugitive recovery are known in the state as bail recovery agents. It is not required for bail recovery agents to be licensed, but they must be registered with the sheriff in their home county. Although the profession doesn’t require a license, it is still regulated by Title 17 of the Georgia Code. Bail recovery agents work with bail bondsmen to find and catch fugitives who have skipped bail. If you have good investigative skills and are considering a career as a bounty hunter in Georgia, continue reading below to learn the requirements for the job.

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    Requirements for Prospective Bail Recovery Agents in Georgia

    Bounty hunters must meet the minimum criteria before they can register with their sheriff’s office. In Georgia, bail recovery agents must:

    • Be at least 25 years of age
    • Have no felony convictions or convictions for crimes involving moral turpitude
    • Be eligible to carry a firearm
    • Be a US citizen

    If you meet these basic qualifications, you can follow the steps below to register as a bounty hunter in Georgia.

    Steps to a Career as a Bail Recovery Agent in Georgia

    Because bounty hunters are responsible for apprehending fugitives, they often carry a firearm for protection. If you wish to carry a firearm, Georgia state law requires that you be a licensed firearm holder and have taken a basic course for bail recovery agents. Below we detail the process for becoming a registered bail recovery agent in Georgia and provide tips for training opportunities and how to find work.

    1. Apply for a firearms license.

    To protect the safety of the residents of Georgia, the state requires that anyone who carries a firearm possess a firearms license. To apply for a firearms license in Georgia, you must go to the probate court in your county to submit an application. If you meet the requirements to register as a bail recovery agent, then you will meet the requirements to be issued a firearms license. In Georgia, individuals who are applying for a firearms license must:

    • Be at least 21 years of age (unless you are 18 years of age and enlisted in the armed forces)
    • Be a US citizen or legal resident, and a legal resident of Georgia
    • Have no felony convictions in any state nor any drug-related convictions, nor any other disqualifying convictions
    • Not have had their privilege to carry a firearm revoked
    • Not have been in a mental hospital or drug or alcohol treatment center within the past five years, nor ever committed to a mental hospital against their will

    As a part of the application process, you must submit to a criminal background check, which includes fingerprinting. The fees vary by county, but the average fee was $75 as of April 2022.

    A firearms license is valid for five years. To renew, you must fill out a renewal application at the probate court of your county.

    2. Complete the required education.

    In Georgia, bail recovery agents must complete 8 hours of training from an approved education provider. The training should cover the rules and regulations governing bounty hunters and discuss laws and trends that affect the bail bond industry. Class fees may range from $250 to $400. You will need to complete this mandatory training prior to registering with your local sheriff’s office.

    3. Register with your county sheriff’s office.

    After you have completed the required classroom training and are licensed to carry a firearm, you may register with the sheriff’s office of your home county. Once registered, you can work as a bounty hunter to apprehend fugitives. Per Georgia state law, you must notify the sheriff’s office when entering a building to catch a fugitive. To maintain their firearms qualification, bail recovery agents should qualify annually at a certified firing range.

    Bail recovery agents in Georgia must complete eight hours of continuing education (CE) and renew their registration every year.

    Related Careers

    To gain experience and earn extra income, Georgia bail recovery agents may choose to work in similar professions while working as fugitive recovery agents. Bail recovery agents commonly take work as private investigators or process servers, as these jobs use similar skillsets. The text below summarizes these two professions and provides minimum qualifications for the state of Georgia.

    Private Investigator/Private Detective

    Private investigators (PIs) work for individuals or groups and investigate various types of information for their client. In Georgia, PIs must be licensed by the Georgia Board of Private Detectives & Security Agencies. To apply for licensure, you must be at least 18 years of age, a US citizen or resident alien, and have no felony convictions (nor have been convicted of any crime relating to the illegal use or possession of a firearm). Additionally, to work independently under your own agency, you must have two years of experience as a registered private detective with an existing agency, two years of full-time experience with a law enforcement agency, or a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related field from an accredited university. You must be registered as an employee of a private detective agency, even if the agency is your own. If you are running your own agency, you must also submit an application for a company license.

    Process Server

    Process servers serve legal documents and notice of court actions to parties involved in a lawsuit or judgment. Process servers are certified and appointed by the Judicial Council of Georgia, Administrative Office of the Courts. Process servers in Georgia must be at least 18 years of age and a US citizen. They must complete pre-certification training from an approved provider and then submit and pass the certification exam. Once the requirements are met, prospective process servers must then complete and submit the Certified Process Server Application form. Once issued, the certification must be renewed every three years.

    Training and Education Options in Georgia

    Bail recovery agents in Georgia aren’t required to have a two- or four-year degree from an accredited institution. However, pursuing this type of education can increase your earning potential while strengthening your knowledge of the career and honing your investigative skills. If you don’t have a degree, you should consider obtaining a two- or even four-year criminal justice degree or a certificate in criminal justice. Listed below are some schools in Georgia that offer associate degrees or certificate programs in fields related to criminal justice and law and order.

    Georgia Perimeter College
    3705 Brookside Pkwy
    Alpharetta, GA 30022

    Georgia State University
    33 Gilmer Street SE
    Atlanta, GA 30302

    Georgia Piedmont Technical College Law Enforcement Academy
    495 N Indian Creek Dr
    Clarkston, GA 30021

    Finding Work

    If you hope to have a successful career as a bounty hunter in Georgia, you will need to expand your network and meet other agents and private investigators. Join bounty hunter associations to make connections and inform bail bondsmen that you are available for hire. You should seek to partner with more experienced bail recovery agents to find a mentor or even someone who needs an apprentice.

    Featured Bail Agents in Georgia

    Below you will find some of the most highly-rated bail bondsmen working in the state of Georgia. Use this list as a resource to find mentors and job opportunities alike.

    A 2nd Chance Bail Bonds
    756 Glass St NW
    Atlanta, GA 30318

    Anytime Bail Bonding
    3435 Peach Orchard Rd
    Augusta, GA 30906

    Double O Bonding
    1011 Hwy 98 W
    Danielsville, GA 30633

    Free at Last Bail Bonds
    233 Peachtree St SW
    Atlanta, GA 30303

    Saseen Bonding Co
    1061 Carl Griffin Dr
    Savannah, GA 31405

    To find even more bail agents and bondsmen in your area, use the Member Search tool on the Professional Bail Agents of the US (PBUS) website.

    Bail Recovery Agent Salary and Outlook in Georgia

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide salary data for bounty hunters or bail recovery agents. Because the work of a private investigator is similar, we use their salary data as a proxy. In Georgia, private investigators earned an average annual salary of $56,430 as of 2021.2 An estimated 1,020 PIs were employed in Georgia in 2021 and that number is projected to increase by 17.6% through the year 2030.3,4 The table below provides salary and employment information for major cities in Georgia.

    City or Metropolitan AreaNumber Employed3Average Annual Salary3
    Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell800$58,370
    Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC50$52,310

    Additional Resources

    Check out the following associations in Georgia to grow your professional network and search for job opportunities.

    1. US Census Bureau Quick Facts, Georgia: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/GA/PST045221
    2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021, Private Investigators: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ga.htm
    3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Georgia: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ga.htm
    4. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm