Idaho Bounty Hunter Guide: Requirements and Steps

    Idaho is a smaller state, with a population of 1.9 million residents.1 Though bounty hunters, who apprehend fugitives who have skipped bail (often called “skips”), are permitted to operate within state boundaries, the state has few laws regulating bounty hunters compared to other states, and does not require bounty hunters to become licensed. Bounty hunters, also known as bail fugitive recovery agents, must follow the directives of the Idaho Bail Act, which gives arresting authority to properly licensed surety insurance companies or their agents. Though state legislators have recently taken steps to amend the law, as of mid-2022 no new legislation has been passed. To learn more about pursuing a career as a bounty hunter in Idaho, continue reading below.

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    Requirements for Prospective Bounty Hunters in Idaho

    Idaho is one of a small number of states that do not require licensing or specific training for bounty hunters. In the state, bounty hunters must be of suitable age (18 years or older) and be empowered by a licensed surety insurance company to arrest the fugitive(s) in question. Though it is not required by law, bounty hunters should also have some formal law enforcement or investigative training. In this guide, you will find further general information regarding the steps to become a bounty hunter and general advice for starting your career.

    Steps to a Career as a Bail Fugitive Recovery Agent in Idaho

    As mentioned above, Idaho does not regulate or license bounty hunters. As a result, there is no required process to work as a bounty hunter in the state. However, to help you be successful in a fugitive recovery career, we have outlined the below steps based on common practices in other states and the industry as a whole.

    1. Obtain the appropriate training.

    While formal training is not required to become a bounty hunter in Idaho, it is highly recommended that you gain an understanding of the state’s laws and rules for criminal justice procedures. One way to do this is to attend a bail enforcement training course. Since training is not a requirement for fugitive recovery agents in Idaho, you may find a course in a neighboring state or online. You can also earn a two- or four-year degree in criminal justice or a related area such as law enforcement. Whichever training you choose should include the study of legal issues, the court system, and basic investigative and safety techniques.

    2. Identify a mentor.

    Working under the mentorship of an experienced professional bail agent is an important step for bounty hunters in any state. Although bounty hunters are not licensed in Idaho, in order to legally work in this state, you must either be working on behalf of a licensed surety company or, to work independently, become a licensed bail agent with the appropriate bond. A mentor can introduce you to surety companies that are hiring as well as help you learn the skills of the trade.

    3. Begin working as a bounty hunter.

    Once you have developed your skills and gained experience, you may begin working as a bounty hunter in Idaho. Current Idaho law allows you to apprehend fugitives if you are working under the direction of a licensed surety company or bail agent. You may also request the assistance of local law enforcement agencies to arrest the fugitives you have located.

    4. Consider an Idaho bail license.

    Although bounty hunters in Idaho are not required to be licensed, those who issue bail bonds–called bail agents–must be appropriately licensed. If you become licensed as a bail agent, you can issue bail bonds on your own as well as apprehend “skips” who do not appear under the terms of the bond. This allows you a greater measure of independence. To qualify, you must:

    • Be at least 18 years of age
    • Have no felony convictions or other grounds for disqualification
    • Pass the Idaho Bail Bond Exam
    • Carry a $15,000 performance bond, secured and appointed by a licensed surety company

    You can find more information about bail licenses and apply on the Idaho Department of Insurance (DOI) website.

    Related Careers

    Bounty hunters frequently also work in related occupations in order to gain experience and add to their earnings potential. Working in related career fields can also help bounty hunters gain valuable professional connections. Continue reading to learn more about similar careers and their requirements in Idaho.

    Private Investigator / Private Detective

    Private investigators (PIs) and private detectives (PDs) investigate legal, financial, and personal information on behalf of their clients. PIs and PDs are not required to become licensed in Idaho at the state level. However, some cities in the state do require PIs to become licensed or register as a business; these include, but are not limited to, Coeur d’Alene, Nampa, and Pocatello. The general requirements are that candidates must:

    • Be at least 18 years of age
    • Not have any felony convictions or convictions relating to moral turpitude in the past five years
    • Pass a firearms qualification exam, if requesting a carry permit
    • Post a surety bond with the city or county agency as specified by each jurisdiction’s code of laws

    Some jurisdictions in Idaho also require previous law enforcement experience or a minimum age of 21 for those who wish to apply for a PI license. Check with the jurisdiction(s) in which you wish to operate for specific requirements.

    Process Server

    Process servers are tasked with delivering legal and other documents that must be served in person on behalf of courts or other legal agencies. In Idaho, process servers are not required to be licensed, but must be at least 18 years of age. You can find work as a process server as well as further career information by contacting your local court systems.

    Training and Education Options in Idaho

    As with most other careers in the criminal justice system, success as a bounty hunter is based on your skills and qualifications. The best possible foundation for your career is earning an education that supports your professional goals. There are many two- and four-year degree programs in law enforcement and criminal justice that can give you an understanding of Idaho’s laws as well as help you develop specific skills in investigation, fugitive recovery, and related areas. Below we have listed a few schools in Idaho that offer degrees in criminal justice.

    College of Western Idaho
    5500 E Opportunity Dr
    Nampa, ID 83687

    College of Southern Idaho
    315 Falls Ave
    Twin Falls, ID 83303

    Idaho State University
    921 S 8th Ave
    Pocatello, ID 83209

    North Idaho College
    1000 W Garden Ave
    Couer d’Alene, ID 83814

    Finding Work

    A strong professional network of contacts is essential in order to find work as a bounty hunter. Since bail bond companies are the main agencies insuring bonds for those with pending court obligations, building relationships in this area will support your career. The Professional Bail Agents of the United States (PBUS) website does not list any member agents in Idaho, though you may find member agents in neighboring states.

    Featured Bail Agents in Idaho

    Below we have listed highly-rated bail bond agencies in Idaho to help you build your network and make the job search easier.

    A+ Idaho Bail Bonds
    1869 N Yellowstone Hwy
    Ste 6
    Idaho Falls, ID 83401

    A Affordable Bail Bonds
    428 N Main St
    Ste 101
    Pocatello, ID 83204

    Allied Bail Bonds
    5433 N Government Way
    Couer d’Alene, ID 83815

    Quick Release Bail Bonds
    5341 N Government Way
    Ste 101B
    Coeur d’Alene, ID 83815

    Teton Bail Bonds
    406 Shoshone St S
    Twin Falls, ID 83301

    Bounty Hunter Salary and Outlook in Idaho

    Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not track salary information for bounty hunters, information is available for private investigators, which we have used as a proxy. As of 2021, the average private investigator salary in Idaho was $54,640 per year.2 Most private investigators and detectives in Idaho work in the Boise City metropolitan area, with a slightly higher average salary of $58,500 per year.3 Estimates are that jobs for private investigators in Idaho will increase by 20% through 2030, with an average of 10 annual openings (including replacements).4

    City or Metropolitan AreaNumber Employed2Average Annual Salary2
    Boise CityN.Av.$58,500

    Additional Resources

    1. US Census Bureau, Quick Facts, Idaho: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/ID/PST045222
    2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Idaho: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_id.htm
    3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021 Occupational Employment and Wages, Private Detectives and Investigators: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes339021.htm
    4. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm