New York Bounty Hunter Guide: Requirements and Steps

The state of New York has a population of 19.7 million and has the fifth largest number of employed private detectives in the nation.1,2 The state requires bail enforcement agents, or bounty hunters, to become licensed. Bounty hunters usually work independently (on behalf of a bail bondsman) to find and apprehend a person who has skipped bail (a “skip”). If a career as a bounty hunter in New York interests you, you’ll need to understand the requirements and steps for obtaining your license. Continue reading to learn more about that process.

Requirements for Prospective Bail Bond Agents in New York

If you’re looking to learn about being a bail enforcement agent (BEA) in New York, then you need to understand the regulations and requirements of the profession. BEAs or bounty hunters in New York must be licensed by the Division of Licensing Services (the Division). New York bounty hunters must be at least 25 years of age, have 25 hours in training, pass state and federal background checks, and have a surety bond in the amount of $500,000. To apply for a license as a bounty hunter, you must be the principal of your businesses, not an employee.

Steps to a Career as a Bail Fugitive Recovery Agent in New York

In New York, only licensed bail enforcement agents can apprehend fugitives. The Division requires a certain amount of experience and training before you can apply. Continue reading to learn the steps to become a BEA set forth by the New York Division of Licensing Services. Note you do not have to be a resident of New York to be licensed as a BEA. If you meet the basic requirements listed above, following these steps will lead to licensure as a BEA in New York.

1. Gain the required experience.

Bounty hunters in New York must have at least three years of professional law enforcement experience. This may include experience as a police officer, an investigator in a state or federal agency, or an employee of a private investigator, or 20 years of experience as a fire marshal.

In addition to work experience, BEAs must complete an approved 25-hour training course. Once you select the institution and course you wish to take, you must submit the course approval application 60 days before the BEA training course is scheduled to occur and pay the $25 registration fee (as of February 2016). If you served as a police officer for at least three years, the training component for BEA licensure can be waived.

2. Complete the application.

After satisfying the education and experience requirements, you must apply to the Division for licensure. Your application must include:

  • The $400 licensure fee (as of February 2016)
  • Your social security number
  • A signed DMV consent form
  • Proof of electronic fingerprinting
  • A sworn statement from the employers under whom you have experience, including employment dates, a description of activities, and hours worked**
  • A sworn statement from three people who have direct knowledge of your professional work experience

*New York BEAs must schedule an appointment to be electronically fingerprinted by MorphoTrust USA. As of February 2016, the fingerprinting fee was $75.
**If you are claiming experience as a police officer or investigator from a state or federal agency, you must submit a letter from the supervisor of that division. The letter must specify your title, duties performed, and length of service.

After your application has been approved, you must obtain a $500,000 surety bond from a surety company authorized to do business in New York. The agency must also be approved by the New York State Superintendent of Insurance.

3. Receive your license.

After you complete the steps above and receive approval for your application, you will become a licensed bail enforcement agent in New York. BEA licenses must be renewed every two years. To renew, you must submit a certification of bonded status. As of February 2016, the renewal fee was $25.

Related Careers

Because a bail enforcement agent’s salary may fluctuate depending on the amount of work coming in, you should know about similar positions and career fields which can provide additional and valuable experience and help you earn extra income.

Private Investigator/ Private Detective

Many bounty hunters supplement their income by working as a private investigator or private detective. PIs/PDs are usually independent contractors who work on a case-by-case basis to find information for their client. They use many of the same skills as a bounty hunter: researching information, finding leads, and occasionally conducting stakeouts. In New York, private investigators (PI) or private detectives (PD) are regulated by the same agency as bail enforcement agents, the Division of Licensing Services. You must be licensed to be a PI in New York; in addition, you must be at least 25 years old, pass the PI exam, have three years of work experience, and be fingerprinted. Licensed PIs/PDs must also be a principal of their business. The application to become a licensed PI is the same application used for BEA licensure.

Process Server

Another job that a BEA may want to consider is working as a process server. Process servers “serve” all parties involved in a lawsuit with notice of legal action regarding their case. In New York, process servers must be licensed by the Division of Corporations, State Records, and UCC.

Training and Education Options in New York

Like many other states, BEAs in New York are not required to have a formal, two- or four-year degrees. But having professional training in criminal justice under your belt may lead to increased job possibilities and improved general skills in the apprehension of fugitives. If you’re serious about your bounty hunting career, you should consider completing a two-year criminal justice degree program or a certificate course. A few schools in New York that offer law enforcement and criminal justice training are listed below.

Meridian Law Enforcement & Security Training Center
300 Northern Blvd, Rm 7/103
Great Neck, NY 11021

Superior Bureau of Investigation Inc
142 West 36th St
Ste 404
New York, NY 10018

Finding Work

Starting out as a bounty hunter may prove difficult because you will be self-employed. To increase your chances of finding work as a bounty hunter, consider working as an apprentice under a more skilled bounty hunter. Also consider networking with more experienced bounty hunters to learn the tricks of the trade. You should also aim to join professional associations like the New York State Professional Bondsmen & Agents (NYPBA) to build your network. Check out the Professional Bail Agents of the US directory for bail agents in New York State to find job and mentorship opportunities.

Featured Bail Agents in New York

In addition to joining professional associations, forming relationships with current bail bond agents can increase your job possibilities. Below are a few well-known and/or highly-rated bail bond agencies across the state of New York.

A1 Peterson Bail Bond Agency of Rochester
16 E Main St
Ste 1
Rochester, NY 14614

ABC Bail Bonds
81 Baxter St
New York, NY 10013

American Liberty Bail Bonds
124-34 Queens Blvd
Kew Gardens, NY 11415

Bonds Express
1937 Teall Ave
Syracuse, NY 13206

Citi-Bail Agency
288 George Urban Blvd
Cheektowaga, NY 14225

Cusetown Bail Bonds
204 E Jefferson St
Syracuse, NY 13202

David Jakab Bail Bonds
83 Baxter St
New York, NY 10013

Empire Bail Bonds
86 Livingston St
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Rochelle Bail Agency
284 New Main St
Yonkers, NY 10701

Schaffer Bail Bonds
10 Delaware Ave
Buffalo, NY 14202

Upstate Bail Bonds Agency
Albany, NY 12206

For a listing of more bail agents and bondsmen in your area, use the Find a Bail Agent tool on the PBUS website.

Bounty Hunter Salary and Outlook in New York

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not provide salary data for bounty hunters, but since the work of private investigators is similar to that of a bounty hunter, we use employment data for private investigators as a proxy. Private investigators in New York have the fifth-highest level of employment for private investigators in the country (1,360).2 The state also has the second-highest paid PDs in nonmetropolitan areas in the country ($46,240).2 Private detectives in the state earn an average annual salary of $59,410.3 Projections Central predicts that jobs for private investigators in New York will increase by 14.4% between now and 2022.4 The table below shows the average salaries for the largest cities in New York.

City or Metropolitan AreaNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara FallsN/A*$53,440
New York-Jersey City-White Plains, NY-NJ920$64,220

*Estimates were not released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2015.2

Additional Resources

1. US Census Bureau, New York State: https://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/36000.html
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2015, Private Detectives and Investigators: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes339021.htm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, New York: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ny.htm
4. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm