Indiana Bounty Hunter Guide: Requirements and Steps

    In Indiana, which has a population of 6.8 million people, bounty hunting is a legal profession.1 The Indiana Department of Insurance (IDOI) licenses bail bondsmen and bounty hunters, known as bail recovery agents in Indiana. Bail recovery agents use investigative skills to find and return fugitives who have “skipped” bail. If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a bail recovery agent in Indiana, continue reading.

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    Requirements for Prospective Bail Recovery Agents in Indiana

    The IDOI has standards that bail recovery agents must meet before becoming licensed. If you wish to work as a bail recovery agent in Indiana, you must:

    • Be at least 18 years of age
    • Have no felony convictions within the past 10 years and have no misdemeanor convictions within the past five years
    • Have been a resident of Indiana for at least one year prior to your application

    Steps to a Career as a Bail Recovery Agent in Indiana

    To become a bail recovery agent, you must go through a process developed by the IDOI. Listed below are the four primary steps required to become a bail recovery agent in the state, along with some tips that will aid you in leading a successful career.

    1. Complete the required training.

    The IDOI requires that bail recovery agents complete 12 hours of pre-licensing education (PLE). Bail bond training will focus on surveillance techniques, interviewing skills, investigative methods, and laws and rules relating to bail recovery in Indiana. You will need to schedule your PLE training and will receive a certificate upon completion of the class. Prices for PLE will vary. While it is not required, you should also consider obtaining a certificate or two-year degree in criminal justice to have a better understanding of laws and the criminal justice system as you enter this career.

    2. Take the examination.

    After obtaining the PLE training, you must take and pass the bail recovery agent examination. The exam consists of 60 questions, costs $100 (as of June 2022), and must be scheduled online. You will receive the score report after completing the exam and must submit this with your license application. If you fail the exam, you may pay the examination fee again and retake it an unlimited number of times.

    3. Submit your application.

    To become licensed as a bail recovery agent, you must apply to the IDOI. As of June 2022, the application fee was $300. Along with your application, you must include:

    • A recent photograph of your face
    • A fingerprint card (from your local law enforcement agency) or a receipt from L-1 Identity Solutions verifying that you’ve been fingerprinted
    • A recent credit report
    • The examination score report

    If you have any other professional licenses, you must submit copies of those with your application.

    4. Receive your license.

    Once you submit your application and pass your examination, you will become licensed as a bail recovery agent in Indiana. Bail recovery agent licenses must be renewed every two years. To renew, you must complete six hours of continuing education, pay the $300 renewal fee (as of June 2022), and submit a full face photograph with your application. You must also provide a completed Form 3A, demonstrating your appointment or sponsorship as a bail recovery agent with a licensed bail bond agency.

    Related Careers

    Most bail recovery agents supplement their income by working in similar jobs. In addition to providing additional income, these jobs also provide helpful experience to bail recovery agents. Some jobs that bail recovery agents consider are private investigators or process servers. Following is a summary of the requirements of both professions in the state of Indiana.

    Private Investigator/ Private Detective

    Private investigators (PIs) and private detectives (PDs) work for clients to investigate legal, financial, and personal data. Investigators in Indiana are licensed by the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency (IPLA). IPLA requires that prospective licensed private detectives:

    • Be at least 21 years of age
    • Have 4,000 hours of private investigative work experience
    • Have a four-year degree in criminal justice from an accredited college or university
    • Complete a criminal background check

    As of June 2022, the application fee was $150 and the license issuance fee was $300. To apply, visit the IPLA website.

    Process Server

    A process server works independently for the court system to file legal papers and serve documents to parties involved in a lawsuit. Process servers in Indiana are not required to be licensed. If you’re interested in becoming a process server, you must be at least 18 years of age. Contact your local county clerk’s office for more information or to start working as a process server.

    Training and Education Options in Indiana

    When becoming a bail recovery agent, you must thoroughly understand the criminal justice system and laws and legislation in Indiana. You should consider obtaining a two- or four-year degree in criminal justice or completing a certificate program. With a formal education, you will have more knowledge about the justice system and can show potential employers that you are serious about your career. Listed below are some schools in Indiana that offer associate degrees or certificates in criminal justice.

    Indiana University Bloomington
    107 S Indiana Ave
    Bloomington, IN 47405

    Oakland City University
    138 N Lucretia St
    Oakland City, IN 47660

    Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
    1 St. Mary of Woods Coll
    Saint Mary of the Woods, IN 47876

    Finding Work

    To find work as a bail recovery agent, you must know where to begin looking. The Professional Bail Agents of the US (PBUS) association lists 6 bail bondsmen working in Indiana. You should consider joining local bail bond associations to identify experienced mentors and find apprenticeships with local agents.

    Featured Bail Agents in Indiana

    Below is a listing of top-rated or well-known bail bond agencies in Indiana that you can use to begin developing your professional network.

    Adam’s Bail Bonds
    1632 S Nappanee St
    Elkhart, IN 46516

    American Bonding Co.
    1515 Laverne Ave
    Fort Wayne, IN 46805

    Angie Mardis Bail Bonds
    800 W Jefferson St
    Franklin, IN 46131

    Associated Bail Bonds Inc.
    690 W Morgan St
    Martinsville, IN 46151

    Indiana Bail Bonds
    6620 US Hwy 36
    Ste B-1
    Avon, IN 46123

    JP Bail Bonding
    114 N Delaware St
    Indianapolis, IN 46204

    Liberty Bail Bonds
    410 N Morton St
    Bloomington, IN 47404

    Smith American Bail Bonds
    8902 Otis Ave
    Ste #123A
    Indianapolis, IN 46216

    Woods Bail Bonds
    38 N Delaware St
    Indianapolis, IN 46268

    To find additional bail agents and bondsmen in your area, use the Member Search tool on the PBUS website.

    Bail Recovery Agent Salary and Outlook in Indiana

    In an effort to provide salary estimates for bounty hunters, we use data for private detectives and investigators as a proxy because the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide data for bail recovery agents at this time. As of 2021, there were 390 private investigators employed in Indiana, with a reported average annual salary of $50,500.2 Nationwide, the average annual salary for PIs in 2021 was $60,970.3 Through 2030, jobs for private investigators in Indiana are expected to increase by 16.7%, with 110 new jobs added.4

    City or Metropolitan AreaNumber Employed2Average Annual Salary2
    Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN460$54,570

    Additional Resources

    Joining professional associations in Indiana can help you network with bail bondsmen, bail agents, and private investigators.

    1. US Census Bureau Quick Facts, Indiana: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/IN/PST045221
    2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021, Indiana: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_in.htm
    3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021, Private Investigator: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes339021.htm
    4. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm