New Jersey Bounty Hunter Guide: Requirements and Steps
New Jersey has a population of 8.9 million people and allows for the practice of bounty hunting to capture fugitives.1 Bounty hunters in the state are licensed by the New Jersey State Police. In New Jersey, the term “bounty hunter” is used to describe a bail runner, bail recovery agent, bail enforcement agent, or fugitive recovery agent. Bounty hunters work to return fugitives who have skipped bail. If you are interested in a career as a bounty hunter, continue reading below to learn more about the requirements and the licensure process.
Requirements for Prospective Bounty Hunters in New Jersey
The New Jersey State Police requires bounty hunters to have minimum qualifications to apply. To be a bounty hunter in New Jersey, you must:
- Be at least 25 years of age
- Be a US citizen or naturalized citizen
If you meet the criteria stated above, you can begin the process to become a licensed bounty hunter in New Jersey.
Steps to a Career as a Bounty Hunter in New Jersey
To become licensed as a bounty hunter in the state, you must have a certain amount of experience, complete an approved training course, and pass a background check. Bounty hunters have a lot of flexibility in their schedule and are often self-employed. Bounty hunters are compensated based on experience and their results. Being a fugitive recovery agent can be an exciting career for the right person. If you wish to start a career as a bounty hunter, follow the steps below to obtain a license.
1. Gain the required experience.
In New Jersey, bail enforcement agents must have at least five years of experience as a law enforcement agent, a licensed private detective, or an investigator employed by a licensed private detective.
2. Submit an application.
Once you have satisfied the experience requirement, you must apply to the New Jersey State Police for licensure. As of March 2016, the bounty hunter application cost $300. Your application must include the location of your place of business and provide five character references from individuals who have known you for at least three years.
You must be fingerprinted and submit to a criminal background check. The fee for fingerprinting is $65.45 (as of March 2016). After completing your fingerprint cards, they must be mailed directly to the New Jersey State Police.
The New Jersey State Police administers a temporary bounty hunter license and card that allows you to work as a bounty hunter while waiting to complete the required training. The temporary license is only valid for 90 days.
3. Complete the required training.
New Jersey bail recovery agents must complete an approved bounty hunter training course. Instructors and schools can be found at the end of the online application process. This bail agent training will educate future bail enforcement agents on the New Jersey laws relating to bail enforcement and arrest, search, and seizure. After applying for licensure and receiving your temporary bail enforcement license, you have 90 days to complete the required training. If you cannot complete the training within this timeframe, your temporary license will become invalid.
4. Receive your license.
Once you complete the steps above, you will become a licensed bounty hunter according to the Bounty Hunter Licensing Act of New Jersey. Bounty hunter licenses must be renewed every two years. To renew, you must pay the renewal fee ($220.25 as of March 2016) and be fingerprinted again ($21.44 fingerprinting renewal fee).
Many bounty hunters supplement their income by working as private investigators or process servers. You must have a certain set of skills to be successful as a bounty hunter and most of those skills and requirements can be transferred to these two other professions. The following text provides a brief description of the two jobs and their New Jersey requirements.
Private Investigator/ Private Detective
Private investigators (PIs) work for individuals or groups investigating various types of information for their clients. In New Jersey, PIs must also be licensed by the New Jersey State Police. Private investigators must be at least 25 years of age, a US citizen, have at least five years of investigative experience, and successfully pass a criminal background check and credit history. For more information on requirements for PIs in New Jersey, or to apply for licensure, visit the New Jersey State Police website.
Process servers serve legal documents and court actions to parties involved in a lawsuit or judgment. In New Jersey, process servers must be at least 18 years of age and a US citizen. Process servers in the state are appointed by the New Jersey Court system.
Training and Education Options in New Jersey
To increase the chances for success in your career as a bounty hunter, you should consider completing a two- or four-year degree program in criminal justice or a related field. Some schools also have certificate programs that you can complete. Obtaining a formal degree or certificate will enhance your knowledge about the criminal justice field and the legal system, giving you an edge in your bounty hunter career. Having a formal education will also show bail bondsmen, your potential employers, that you are serious about your career, possibly increasing the fees you are able to charge. Below are a few schools in New Jersey that offer two-year degrees in criminal justice. For more about training options for bounty hunters, see our Training page.
Atlantic Cape Community College
5100 Black Horse Place
Landing, NJ 08330
Fairleigh Dickinson University
1000 River Rd
Teaneck, NJ 07666
Gloucester County College
1400 Tanyard Rd
Sewell, NJ 08080
Raritan Valley Community College
118 Lamington Rd
Somerville, NJ 08876
If you want to find work as a bounty hunter, bail bondsmen must know that you are available for hire. You should build relationships with bail bondsmen and experienced bail enforcement agents. You may wish to find a mentor to “show you the ropes” of bounty hunting and you should look for any apprenticeship programs in New Jersey. Try joining bail bondsmen associations in your area or at least attending open meetings and network events. Lastly, be prepared to sell yourself to potential employers by showing them that your skills and experience make you the best bounty hunter for the job. Hear what the experts have to say by visiting our Expert Interviews page.
Featured Bail Agents in New Jersey
Listed below are some bail bondsmen in New Jersey to get you started. We have chosen these to feature because they are either located in large cities, are well-known, or are highly rated.
AA Bail Bonds
210 S Broad St
Trenton, NJ 08608
Aaron Bail Bonds
Paterson, NJ 07505
ABC Bail Bonds
16 Green St, 2nd Fl
Newark, NJ 07102
Apple Bail Bonds
559 Newark Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07306
Blaze Bail Bonds
105 Court House Pl
Jersey City, NJ 07306
Fast Break Bail Bonds
296 Orange St
Newark, NJ 07103
John’s Bail Bonds
559 Newark Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07306
Jump Out Bail Bonds
Pleasantville, NJ 08232
Mr. Freedom Bail Bonds
417 Central Ave
Newark, NJ 07107
Rapid Bail Bonds
2705 Atlantic Ave
Atlantic City, NJ 08401
Right Away Bail Bonds
1215 Liberty Ave
Hillside, NJ 07205
Bounty Hunter Salary and Outlook in New Jersey
Because the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide salary data for bounty hunters, we use data for private investigators as a proxy. Private investigators in New Jersey earned the second-highest average salary in the nation in 2015.2 There were around 730 private investigators employed in New Jersey in 2015, earning an average annual salary of $63,480.2,3 Projections Central reports that the number of jobs for PIs will increase by 11.2% between 2012 and 2022.2 The following table lists employment and salary data for some of the largest cities and metro areas in New Jersey.
|City or Metropolitan Area||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary||Newark-Union, NJ-PA||N/A*||$68,650||New York-Jersey City-White Plains, NY-NJ||920||$64,220||Trenton, NJ||N/A*||$64,260|
Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2015.2
*Estimates not released by the BLS.
The following associations in New Jersey can help you expand your professional network and search for job opportunities.
- New Jersey Bail Association – An association that advocates for bail agents and provides continuing education, networking opportunities, and resources.
- The New Jersey Licensed Private Investigators Association, Inc – An association for PIs in New Jersey that promotes education and training of licensed investigators in the state.
1. US Census Bureau Quick Facts, New Jersey: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/NJ,US/PST045216
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2015 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, New Jersey: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nj.htm