Massachusetts Bounty Hunter Guide: Requirements and Steps
Massachusetts has a population of 6.9 million people and is relatively silent on regulations for bounty hunters.1 The state allows bounty hunters, also known as fugitive recovery agents, to pursue fugitives who have fled from bail. However, because the state follows a cash bail system, there is comparatively little demand for bail bond services. To learn more about becoming a bounty hunter in Massachusetts, continue reading.
Table of Contents
- Bounty Hunter Requirements
- Steps to a Career
- Related Careers
- Training and Education Options
- Finding Work
- Salary and Job Outlook
- Bounty Hunter Resources
Requirements for Prospective Bounty Hunters in Massachusetts
Unlike many other states, there are no licensing requirements for bounty hunters in Massachusetts. In Massachusetts, bounty hunters should be adults (at least 18 years of age), be US citizens or resident aliens, 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 license 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 to guide you in finding work as a bounty hunter in Massachusetts.
1. Obtain the appropriate training.
Specific training and education are not requirements 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 focusing on Massachusetts law or enroll in a bail enforcement training class. If you are unable to find training schools in Massachusetts, consider 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 bounty hunter or bail bondsmen professional associations in the state to grow your network and 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.
Many bounty hunters also work in similar fields to earn additional income and gain experience. 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
- Be, and have been continuously for at least three years, employed in investigative work, or have equivalent police or military work 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.
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. The rules for process servers vary by county. 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 shows potential employers that you are serious about your career and 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
31 St. James Ave
Boston, MA 02116
Holyoke Community College
303 Homestead Ave
Holyoke, MA 01040
Middlesex Community College
591 Springs Rd
Bedford, MA 01730
Springfield Technical Community College
1 Armory St
Springfield, MA 01105
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
Even though it is not licensed, the bail bondsman trade is heavily scrutinized in Massachusetts. While bounty hunting is legal in Massachusetts, judges typically set cash bail that reduces the defendant’s need for a bail bondsman. As a result, 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. We use the information provided for private investigators (PIs) as a proxy because of its similar job functions. There were an estimated 290 PIs working in Massachusetts as of 2021, earning an average annual salary of $62,540.2 The Washington-Arlington-Alexandria metropolitan corridor that includes much of Massachusetts has the fourth-highest level of employment of PIs in the nation.3 Between now and 2030, jobs for private investigators in Massachusetts are expected to increase by 20%, with about 30 job openings per year.4 The table below shows employment and salary data for Massachusetts’ largest cities as reported by the BLS.
|City or Metropolitan Area||Number Employed2||Average Annual Salary2|
- Licensed Private Detectives Association of Massachusetts (LPDAM): Provides legal resources, updated code of ethics, and networking opportunities for PIs in Massachusetts.
1. US Census Bureau, Quick Facts, Massachusetts: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/MA/PST045221
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021, Massachusetts: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ma.htm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021, Private Investigators:
4. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm