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Massachusetts Bounty Hunter Guide: Requirements and Steps

Massachusetts has a population of 6.7 million people and is relatively silent on regulations for bounty hunters.1 The state allows bounty hunters or fugitive recovery agents to pursue fugitives who have fled from bail, but does not provide any regulations or guidance for them. To learn more about becoming a bounty hunter Massachusetts continue reading below.

Requirements for Prospective Bounty Hunters in Massachusetts

Unlike most other states, there are no licensing requirements for bounty hunters in Massachusetts. In Massachusetts, bounty hunters should be consenting adults (at least 18 years of age), be a US citizen or resident alien, have no felony convictions, and have some investigation or law enforcement training. In this guide, you will find general information about becoming a bounty hunter and helpful tips for starting your career.

Steps to a Career as a Bounty Hunter in Massachusetts

As previously stated, Massachusetts does not regulate the bounty hunting profession. For that reason, there is not a specific legal process for becoming a bounty hunter in the state. We have compiled the below steps based on our research and expert knowledge to guide you in working as a bounty hunter in Massachusetts.

1. Obtain the appropriate training.

Specific training and education is not a requirement for bounty hunters in Massachusetts, but training can help you understand the legal system and bail and recovery laws in the state. You may wish to complete a basic civics course with a focus in Massachusetts law or even enroll in a bail enforcement training class. If you are unable to find training schools in Massachusetts, considering attending training in neighboring states; learning the “ins and outs” of bounty hunting can greatly improve your chances of enjoying a successful career. You should look for training that covers legal issues, the court system, tracing fugitives (known as “skip tracing”), surveillance, and interviewing techniques. You may also consider obtaining a criminal justice degree from a two- or four-year college. Having some formal education can greatly increase your knowledge of the industry and may increase your chances at steady work as a bounty hunter.

2. Identify a mentor.

In an open field like bounty hunting, it’s necessary to tap into a variety of resources to learn how to do the job well. A helpful resource may be an experienced bounty hunter or bail bondsman who is willing to mentor you. Look into joining any bounty hunter or bail bondsmen associations in the state to grow your network and to build your client base.

3. Begin working as a bounty hunter.

Once you have the training, have built a solid network, and have informed local law enforcement of your intentions, you can begin working as a bounty hunter in Massachusetts. If you are over 21 and plan to carry a firearm as part of your practice, you must obtain a firearms identification card.

Related Careers

Many bounty hunters also work in similar fields to earn additional income and gain experience that will help them. Continue reading below to learn about careers similar to that of a bounty hunter and the associated Massachusetts requirements.

Private Investigator/ Private Detective

Private investigators (PIs) are detectives who work for clients to find information on a matter that is relevant to them. PIs (or private detectives) can investigate legal, financial, and personal data. In Massachusetts, private investigators are licensed by the Certification Unit of the Massachusetts State Police. The Unit requires that you:

  • Submit three character references with your application
  • Have at least three years of investigative experience
  • Have no felony convictions in Massachusetts or any other state

Visit the private investigator licensing page for more information or to submit an application.

Process Server

A process server works independently for the court system to file legal papers, serve documents to parties involved in a lawsuit, and retrieve documents on an as-needed basis. Process servers need not be licensed in Massachusetts but must register with the Massachusetts Court. For more information on becoming a process server in Massachusetts, visit your local county clerk’s office.

Training and Education Options in Massachusetts

To be successful as a bounty hunter, it is imperative that you understand the criminal justice system. You may wish to obtain a bachelor’s or associate degree in criminal justice or a related field. Some schools even offer certificate programs. Having a degree or certificate in criminal justice not only shows potential employers that you are serious about your career, but it also provides a solid foundation for your work as a fugitive recovery agent. Listed below are some schools in Massachusetts that offer two-year criminal justice degrees.

Bay State College
122 Commonwealth Ave
Boston, MA 02116
http://www.baystate.edu

Holyoke Community College
303 Homestead Ave
Holyoke, MA 01040
http://www.hcc.edu

Middlesex Community College
591 Springs Rd
Bedford, MA 01730
https://www.middlesex.mass.edu

Springfield Technical Community College
1 Armory St
Springfield, MA 01105
http://www.stcc.edu

Finding Work

Bounty hunters who wish to work in Massachusetts should develop a plan to secure work. You should look for experienced fugitive recovery agents who will give you advice and tips, act as mentors, or provide you with apprenticeship opportunities. When looking for work, reach out to bail bondsmen or other bail agents who may need some assistance finding “skips.” Be prepared to talk about your experience and training and why you have what it takes to become a great bounty hunter.

Bail Agents in Massachusetts

Due to egregious fees and corruption, the bail bondsman trade is heavily scrutinized in Massachusetts. Although bounty hunting is legal in Massachusetts, judges have begun to set cash bail that is affordable to a defendant and that reduces the defendant’s need for a bail bondsman.

Because Massachusetts is relatively silent on bounty hunter guidelines, there is not a huge market for the profession. If becoming a bounty hunter is truly a passion, you should connect with bail bondsmen in nearby states to learn more about the job and to gain leads on jobs. You can find a listing of bail bondsmen who are members of the Professional Bail Agents of the United States (PBUS) in nearby states by using their search tool.

Bounty Hunter Salary and Outlook in Massachusetts

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide salary data for bounty hunters or fugitive recovery agents in Massachusetts. To share with you the next-closest data, we use the information provided for private investigators (PIs) as a proxy because it is most similar in job functions. Massachusetts has the fourth-highest level of employment and the highest concentration of jobs for PIs in the nation.2,3 In 2014, 1,600 private investigators were employed in Massachusetts, earning an annual average salary of $47,620.2 Between now and 2022, jobs for private investigators are expected to increase by 3.5%, amounting to about 20 additional job openings per year.3 The table below shows employment and salary data for Massachusetts’s largest cities as reported by the BLS.

City or Metropolitan Area Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH 1,630 $47,810
Providence-Warwick, RI-MA 70 $46,040

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2015.2

Additional Resources

References:
1. US Census Bureau, Massachusetts: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/MA/PST045216
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2015, Massachusetts: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ma.htm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2015, Private Investigators:
https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes339021.htm

4. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm