Missouri Bounty Hunter Guide: Requirements and Steps
According to the US Census Bureau, Missouri has a population of 6 million people.1 Bounty hunters in this state are regulated by the Missouri Department of Insurance. In Missouri, bounty hunters, also known as surety recovery agents, must be licensed and meet a certain set of criteria. 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.
Requirements for Prospective Surety Recovery Agents in Missouri
To work 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 mandatory qualifications, 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 by 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, we urge you to 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 $41 (as of April 2016). 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 outlines 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 April 2016, the application fee was $150. Along with the application fee, you must submit:
- A signed certificate of initial basic training (photocopies are not allowed)*
- 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)
*If you are not a resident of Missouri or if you have already completed the basic training course, you must submit an original letter of certification that you are currently licensed as a bail bond agent and have completed the basic training.
**As of April 2016, the fee for fingerprinting and background check was $12.
4. Receive your license.
When you have completed all of the steps above, you will become a licensed surety recovery agent in Missouri. Surety recovery agents in Missouri must renew their license 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 April 2016). Your renewal form must include the continuing education certification summary.
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 of private investigation experience
- Provide information for any other professional licenses you hold (in any state)
- 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 April 2016, the application fee was $500. If you are interested in becoming a PI, submit an application to the Board.
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:
- Are at 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 could 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 associate degrees in criminal justice or a related field, and some even offer certificate degrees.
4255 S Nature Center Way
Springfield, MO 65804
Missouri Western State University
4525 Downs Sr
St Joseph, MO 64507
Three Rivers Community College
2080 Three Rivers Blvd
Poplar Bluff, MO 63901
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 website lists 15 bail bondsmen in Missouri in their 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 bounty hunting 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
1000 Market St
Saint Louis, MO 63101
Bob Block Bail Bonds
36 Four Seasons Shopping Ctr
Chesterfield, MO 63017
Bratten Bail Bonds
105 E Mill St
Liberty, MO 64068
Conklin Bail Bonds
817 N Boonville Ave
Springfield, MO 65802
Freedom Bonding LLC
1132 Oak St
Kansas City, MO 64106
Gwendolyn O’Leary Bail Bonds
PO Box 763
Florissant, MO 63031
Hall Bail Bonds
PO Box 958
Lees Summit, MO 64063
Mike Motsinger Bail Bonds
6404 Sprucefield Dr
O’Fallon, MO 63368
Queen City Bail Bonds
939 N Boonville Ave, Ste D
Springfield, MO 65802
For even more bail agents and bondsmen in Missouri, you can use the Find a Bail Agent tool on the PBUS website.
Bounty Hunter 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. 490 PIs were employed in Missouri in 2015 and they earned an average annual salary of $51,680.2 Projections Central reports that job opportunities for private investigators in Missouri will increase by 9.4% between 2012 and 2022.3
|City or Metropolitan Area||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Kansas City, MO-KS||200||$47,100|
Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2015.2
1. US Census Bureau Quick Facts, Missouri: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/MO,US/PST045216
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2015, Missouri: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_mo.htm
3. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm