Missouri Bounty Hunter Guide: Requirements and Steps

    According to the US Census Bureau, Missouri has a population of 6.1 million people.1 Bounty hunters in this state are regulated by the Missouri Department of Insurance. In Missouri, bounty hunters are known as surety recovery agents and must be licensed. Surety recovery agents work to find and return fugitives who have failed to appear in court on their appointed court date. If being a surety recovery agent sounds like a career you would be interested in, continue reading below for details on the requirements and the steps to licensure in Missouri.

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    Requirements for Prospective Surety Recovery Agents in Missouri

    To apply for a license as a surety recovery agent in Missouri, you have to meet the following minimum requirements. You must:

    • Be at least 21 years of age
    • Be a US citizen
    • Possess a high school diploma or GED
    • Have no felony convictions in any state

    Steps to a Career as a Surety Recovery Agent in Missouri

    In addition to meeting the qualifications above, surety recovery agent applicants in Missouri must complete four steps to be issued a license, as follows.

    1. Obtain the appropriate training.

    The Department of Insurance requires surety recovery agents to complete 24 hours of basic training. You must receive your training through an approved provider. Pricing for the training course may vary, but according to Missouri state law, a training provider can charge no more than $200 per course.

    Topics covered by the basic training course usually include interviewing skills, surveillance techniques, and bail recovery laws in Missouri. Although your training course will touch on the legal system, you might also consider obtaining a formal degree in criminal justice to give you a better understanding of the legal system and learn how to analyze social situations.

    The following groups are exempt from taking the Missouri training course:

    • Those who possess a Missouri or (general) bail bond agent license and previously completed the 24-hour basic training course
    • Those who have taken the basic training course within the past 12 months
    • Those who have at least two years of law enforcement experience within the past 10 years

    2. Take and pass the examination.

    Candidates wishing to become licensed surety recovery agents must take and pass the surety recovery agent exam via Pearson Vue. The exam is a 50-question, one-hour exam and costs $22 (as of June 2022). You must score a 70 or above to pass the surety recovery exam. If you fail the exam, you may retake it, but you must wait one day to reschedule the exam. Pearson Vue provides a candidate handbook and content outline to help you prepare for the examination.

    3. Submit an application.

    After passing the exam and meeting the training requirements, you must apply to the Department for licensure as a surety recovery agent. As of June 2022, the application fee was $150. Along with the application fee, you must submit:

    • A signed certificate of initial basic training (photocopies are not allowed) OR proof of licensure as a bail recovery agent in another state
    • Your fingerprints and a criminal background check from the Missouri State Highway Patrol and a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) search
    • A photocopy of the front and back of your driver’s license (or government-issued ID)

    4. Receive your license.

    When you have completed the steps above and your application is approved, you will become a licensed surety recovery agent in Missouri. Surety recovery agents in Missouri must renew their licenses every two years. To renew, you must complete eight hours of continuing education (CE) from an approved CE provider and pay the $150 renewal fee (as of June 2022). Your renewal form must include the continuing education certification summary. You must register and complete fingerprinting through the Missouri Automated Criminal History Site Fingerprint Portal.

    Related Careers

    Oftentimes, surety recovery agents will work similar jobs to earn additional income and to gain valuable investigative experience. Two of these professions include private investigation and process serving. In an effort to assist you in building your career, we provide information on the requirements in Missouri for both professions below.

    Private Investigator/ Private Detective

    Private investigators (PIs) work for clients to find information on matters relevant to the client; they can work for individuals, corporations, law practices, and even law enforcement. In Missouri, PIs are licensed by the Missouri Board of Private Investigator and Private Fire investigator Examiners. Licensed PIs in Missouri must:

    • Be at least 21 years of age
    • Have at least two years, with appropriate documentation, of private investigation experience OR proof of passing the state licensure exam for PIs
    • Provide information on all other professional licenses you hold (in any state)
    • Complete a fingerprint-based background check
    • Submit two passport style photographs
    • Submit proof of liability and worker’s compensation insurance in the amount of at least $250,000
    • Complete a criminal background check including fingerprinting

    As of June 2022, the application fee was $500. If you are interested in becoming a PI, submit an application to the Board.

    Process Server

    Process servers work for the court system to file legal papers, serve documents to parties involved in a lawsuit, and retrieve documents when needed. Laws for process servers in Missouri vary depending on the jurisdiction. Generally, process servers in the state must be at least 18 years of age and must contact their local court for more information. In St. Louis, process servers must register with the sheriff’s office and must:

    • Be least 21 years old
    • Be a US citizen
    • Have no criminal history
    • Attend a 16-hour training course and pass an exam
    • Possess a $100,000 certificate of insurance

    Check with your county clerk’s office for more information on becoming a process server in the Missouri.

    Training and Education Options in Missouri

    Surety recovery agents are required to take 24 hours of basic training, but they can also benefit from obtaining formal education in the criminal justice system. You can expand your knowledge of the legal system and show potential employers that you are serious about your career as a surety recovery agent by completing a two- or four-year degree program. The following schools in Missouri offer certificates or associate degrees in criminal justice and related fields.

    Missouri Western State University
    4525 Downs St
    St Joseph, MO 64507

    Three Rivers Community College
    2080 Three Rivers Blvd
    Poplar Bluff, MO 63901

    University of Central Missouri
    PO Box 800
    Warrensburg, MO 64093

    Finding Work

    Surety recovery agents who intend on recovering fugitives in Missouri need some viable leads to find work. Most jobs will come by word-of-mouth, so it is imperative that you connect with existing bail bondsmen and other surety recovery agents in the state. The Professional Bail Agents of the US (PBUS) website lists six bail bondsmen in Missouri in their member directory. You could also identify an agent or bail bondsman who is willing to mentor you. An apprenticeship opportunity would be a great way to gain experience.

    Featured Bail Bond Agencies in Missouri

    Here you will find a listing of well-known or top-rated bail bond agencies in Missouri to help you find job opportunities.

    Action Fast Bail Bonds By Hucker LBA
    7055 Mexico Rd
    St. Peters, MO 63376

    Bob Block Bail Bonds
    36 Four Seasons Shopping Ctr
    Ste 104
    Chesterfield, MO 63017

    Bratten Bail Bonds
    1000 Progress Dr
    Ste 671
    Liberty, MO 64068

    Bruno Bail Bonds
    615 W 39th St
    Kansas City, MO 64111

    Chuck Telle Bail Bonds
    200 Main St
    Hillsboro, MO 63050

    Queen City Bail Bonds
    939 N Boonville Ave
    Ste D
    Springfield, MO 65802

    Sharp Bail Bonds
    11240 State Hwy E
    Rolla, MO 65401

    For even more bail agents and bondsmen in Missouri, you can use the Member Search tool on the PBUS website.

    Surety Recovery Agent Salary and Outlook in Missouri

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide salary data for bounty hunters. We use the information provided for private investigators (PIs) as a proxy because of the similarity of job functions and compensation. An estimated 260 PIs were employed in Missouri in 2021 and they earned an average annual salary of $67,470.2 This was higher than the national average during the same time period, at $60,970.3 Projections Central reports that job opportunities for private investigators in Missouri are expected to increase by 13.3% through 2030.4

    City or Metropolitan AreaNumber Employed2Average Annual Salary2
    Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO100$87,760
    Kansas City, MO-KS110$57,470
    St. Louis, MO-IL230$71,810

    Additional Resources

    You can start your career as a surety recovery agent in Missouri by networking with bail bondsmen in your local area. One great way to find other agents is by joining a professional association.

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