Georgia Bounty Hunter Guide: Requirements and Steps
Over 10 million people live in the state of Georgia.1 Georgia allows the practice of bounty hunting (those employed are known in the state as “bail recovery agents”). It is not required for bounty hunters 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 House Bill 216 (which amended section 17-6-50 of the Georgia Annotated Code). Bounty hunters 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.
Requirements for Prospective Bounty Hunters in Georgia
Like most other professions, 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 Bounty Hunter in Georgia
Because bounty hunters are responsible for apprehending fugitives and often carry a firearm for protection, Georgia state law requires that bounty hunters be licensed firearm holders 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 we 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 holds a firearm is issued a firearms license. In fact, all bounty hunters, whether they carry a firearm or not, must be licensed to carry. 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)
- Have no felony convictions in any state or any convictions related to the manufacture or distribution of a controlled substance
- Not have had their privilege to carry a firearm revoked
As a part of the application process, you must submit to a criminal background check which includes fingerprinting. The license and fingerprinting fee cost $75 (as of March 2016).
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 48 hours of training from an agency approved by the Board. 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 48 hours of 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 license, bail recovery agents must 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 two years.
In an effort to gain experience and earn extra income, Georgia bail recovery agents may choose to work in other similar professions while working as a fugitive recovery agent. Bail recovery agents may choose to work as a private investigator or process server, as both jobs use some of the same skills required of a bounty hunter. 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. 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, 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.
Process servers serve legal documents and court actions to parties involved in a lawsuit or judgment. Process servers are appointed by the Judicial Council of Georgia. Process servers in Georgia must be at least 18 years of age and a US citizen.
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 only 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
3393 Peachtree Dr NE
Atlanta, GA 30326
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
Following 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
976 Jefferson St NW
Atlanta, GA 30318
Aaron Bonding Company
675 Pulaski St
Athens, GA 30601
200 Memorial Dr SW
Atlanta, GA 30303
Anytime Bail Bonding
611 4th St
Augusta, GA 30901
Bob Raburn Bonding
611 4th St
Augusta, GA 30901
Double O Bonding
1938 Lexington Rd
Athens, GA 30605
Free at Last Bail Bonds
233 Peachtree St SW
Atlanta, GA 30303
Payless Bail Bonds, LLC
4307 Ogeechee Rd
Savannah, GA 31405
Saseen Bonding Co
1061 Carl Griffin Dr
Savannah, GA 31405
Bounty Hunter Salary and Outlook in Georgia
The Bureau of Labor Statistics 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 $40,750.2 790 PIs were employed in 2014 and that number is projected to increase by 8.7% between now and the year 2022.2,3 The table below provides salary and employment information for major cities in Georgia.
|City or Metropolitan Area||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary||Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta||680||$39,440||Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC||70||$54,270|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2015.2
Check out the following associations in Georgia to grow your professional network and search for job opportunities.
- Georgia Associations of Professional Bondsmen – An association that advocates for the best interests of bail bondsman and provides continuing education, networking opportunities, and resources.
- Georgia Associations of Professional Private Investigators – An association created to educate PIs, enforce a code of ethics, and help encourage relationship-building across the PI network in Georgia.
1. US Census Bureau Quick Facts, Georgia: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/GA/PST045219
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2015, Private Investigators: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ga.htm
3. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm