New Jersey Bounty Hunter Guide: Requirements and Steps

    New Jersey has a population of 9.2 million people.1 In New Jersey, the term “bounty hunter” is used to describe a bail runner, bail recovery agent, bail enforcement agent, or fugitive recovery agent working to return fugitives who have skipped bail. Bounty hunters in the state are licensed by the New Jersey State Police (NJSP). If you are interested in a career as a bounty hunter, continue reading below to learn more about the requirements and the licensure process in New Jersey.

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    Requirements for Prospective Bounty Hunters in New Jersey

    The NJSP requires bounty hunters to meet minimum qualifications to apply for a bounty hunter license. To become a bounty hunter in New Jersey, you must:

    • Be at least 25 years of age
    • Be a US citizen or naturalized citizen
    • Have a minimum of five years of investigation or law enforcement experience

    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 schedules 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. Note that those applying for a bounty hunter license must no longer be employed as, or attached in any capacity to, a law enforcement agency at the time of application. Those who are qualifying with experience as private detectives may count experience earned in that capacity in any state.

    2. Submit an application.

    Once you have satisfied the experience requirement, you must apply to the NJSP for licensure. As of May 2022, the bounty hunter application fee was $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 for a criminal background check. The fee for fingerprinting is $66.05 (as of May 2022). After completing your fingerprint cards, they must be mailed directly to the New Jersey State Police.

    If your application is successful, you will receive a temporary bounty hunter license and an identification card that allows you to work as a bounty hunter while completing 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 within 90 days of receiving their temporary bounty hunter license. Approved instructors and schools will be provided 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. 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 be issued a bounty hunter license. Bounty hunter licenses must be renewed every two years. To renew, you must pay the renewal fee ($218.75 as of May 2022) and be fingerprinted again ($26.05 fingerprinting renewal fee).

    Related Careers

    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 NJSP. Private investigators must be at least 25 years of age, be a US citizen, have at least five years of investigative experience, and pass a criminal background and credit history check. For more information on requirements for PIs in New Jersey, or to apply for licensure, visit the NJSP website.

    Process Server

    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 US citizens. Those interested in becoming process servers in the state should contact the New Jersey Court system or one of the many private process-serving companies in the state to find opportunities.

    Training and Education Options in New Jersey

    To increase the chances for success in your career as a bounty hunter, consider completing a two- or four-year degree program in criminal justice or a related field. Some schools also have certificate programs. Obtaining a formal degree or certificate will enhance your knowledge of 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. Below are a few schools in New Jersey that offer programs and degrees in criminal justice. For more about training options for bounty hunters, see our Training page.

    Atlantic Cape Community College
    5100 Black Horse Pl
    Landing, NJ 08330

    Fairleigh Dickinson University
    1000 River Rd
    Teaneck, NJ 07666

    Raritan Valley Community College
    118 Lamington Rd
    Somerville, NJ 08876

    Rowan College of South Jersey
    1400 Tanyard Rd
    Sewell, NJ 08080

    Finding Work

    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. Try joining bail bondsmen associations in your area or attending open meetings and networking 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.

    Can Do Bail Bonds
    1632 NJ-38
    Lumberton, NJ 08060

    County Bail Bonds
    200 Broadway
    1st Fl
    Westville, NJ 08093

    Fast Break Bail Bonds
    296 Orange St
    Newark, NJ 07103

    In and Out Bail Bonds
    242 Court Pl
    Plainfield, NJ 07060

    Mr. Bail
    208 West State St
    Trenton, NJ 08608

    Speedy Bail Bonds
    333 State St
    Perthamboy, NJ 08861

    To find even more bail agents and bondsmen in your area, use the Member Search tool on the PBUS website.

    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 an average of $57,820 in 2021.2 There were around 680 private investigators employed in New Jersey during this time frame, though the New York-Newark-Jersey City metro corridor had one of the highest employment levels of all metropolitan areas for this profession, at 1,210.2,3 Projections Central reports that the number of jobs for PIs in New Jersey is expected to increase by 13.7% through 2030, with an expected 50 average annual openings.4

    City or Metropolitan AreaNumber Employed2Average Annual Salary2
    Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, NJ-PA130$51,020
    New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ1,210$67,760
    Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD630$50,800

    Additional Resources

    The following associations in New Jersey can help you expand your professional network and search for job opportunities.

    1. US Census Bureau Quick Facts, New Jersey: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/NJ/PST045221
    2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2021 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, New Jersey: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nj.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