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North Dakota Bounty Hunter Guide: Requirements and Steps

Though it is one of the 20 largest states by land area, North Dakota has one of the smallest populations of any state in the US, with just over 750,000 residents as of 2015.1 Bounty hunters in North Dakota are not currently required to obtain a license in order to recover fugitives who have skipped their bail bond, also known as “skips.” However, there are still steps that are recommended in order to be successful as a bounty hunter. Additionally, if you intend to issue bail bonds you must become licensed as a bail bond agent through the North Dakota Insurance Department. Continue reading to learn more about the process to become a bounty hunter in North Dakota.

Requirements for Prospective Bounty Hunters in North Dakota

Although no requirements for bounty hunters are set by law in North Dakota, those interested in this career should generally be at least 18 years of age and have no prior criminal convictions. Experience in law enforcement is also a plus, but you should note that state law prohibits those currently employed in an official law enforcement capacity who have powers of arrest from working as bounty hunters.

Steps to a Career as a Bail Fugitive Recovery Agent in North Dakota

There are a few recommended steps for those who are interested in pursuing a career as a bounty hunter. Below we have outlined these steps based on best practices for the industry as well as typical requirements in states that regulate the bounty hunting profession more strictly.

1. Acquire the appropriate training.

Like any career in criminal justice or law enforcement, relevant training is a must. Earning a two- or four-year degree in criminal justice or a related field is recommended in order to gain a deeper understanding of the law as well as to build investigative skills. You can find more information on available degree programs further down this page.

2. Identify a mentor.

Some bounty hunters earn additional training in the profession by working as assistants or interns for experienced bounty hunters or by building mentoring relationships with more experienced fugitive recovery agents who can provide career advice. An experienced agent can also introduce you to bail bond agencies, which are the main source of income for most bounty hunters.

3. Consider a bail bond agent license.

While bounty hunters may recover fugitives, they are not permitted to issue or insure bail bonds. If this type of work interests you, or you are interested in more independence as a bounty hunter, the process for becoming a bail bond agent in North Dakota is relatively straightforward. To qualify, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be a resident of North Dakota
  • Pass a criminal background check
  • Not be employed in any law enforcement capacity that holds arresting powers
  • Pass the North Dakota Bail Bondsman Exam
  • Apply for a North Dakota license as an individual or business insurance producer, as appropriate

For more information on bail bond agent licensing, visit the North Dakota Insurance Department website.

Related Careers

Particularly in smaller states, bounty hunters tend to work in related career areas in addition to performing fugitive recovery. Two similar jobs include private investigators and process servers. Below you will find a brief summary of the requirements for these careers in North Dakota.

Private Investigator/ Private Detective

Private investigators (PIs) and private detectives (PDs) research personal, financial, or legal information for their clients. The common term for these professionals in North Dakota is private investigators, and in this state, those who wish to act in this capacity must be licensed by the North Dakota Private Investigation and Security Board. To qualify for a license as a registered private investigator working for a licensed agency, candidates must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Hold a high school diploma or GED
  • Have a clean criminal background and be of good moral character
  • Not have any disqualifying mental illness or other conditions

If you wish to work independently, you must hold a licensed private investigator permit. The requirements for this permit are the same as above, with an additional requirement of 2,000 field training hours earned by working in law enforcement or as a registered private investigator. For more information on these requirements, contact the North Dakota Private Investigation and Security Board.

Process Server

Process servers are tasked with delivering legal documents on behalf of the courts. In North Dakota, process servers must be of legal age and are not required to be licensed. For more information on careers in process serving, contact your local court system.

Training and Education Options in North Dakota

In order to succeed as a bounty hunter, you must have an understanding of the legal system as well as procedures for tracking and apprehending fugitives. One of the best ways to gain professional skills and knowledge is to earn a degree in criminal justice or law enforcement. This type of training can also help show potential clients that you are serious about your career. Below we have provided a list of schools offering criminal justice-related programs in North Dakota.

Bismarck State College
1500 Edwards Ave
Bismarck, ND 58506
https://bismarckstate.edu

Lake Region State College
1801 College Dr N
Devils Lake, ND 58301
http://www.lrsc.edu

Minot State University
500 University Ave W
Minot, ND 58707
http://www.minotstateu.edu

North Dakota State University
1616 12th Ave N
Fargo, ND 58102
https://www.ndsu.edu

University of North Dakota
221 Centennial Dr
Grand Forks, ND 58202
http://und.edu

Williston State College
1410 University Ave
Williston, ND 58801
http://www.willistonstate.edu

Finding Work

Having a professional network of contacts is critical to success as a bounty hunter. A mentor can help introduce you to others in this industry. Another way to start building your network is to join a professional association. To help you build relationships and find work, below we have listed some of the most well-known and highly-rated bail bond agents in North Dakota.

Featured Bail Agents in North Dakota

10-Minute Bail Bonds, LLC
3 4th St E, Ste 203
Williston, ND 58801
http://www.10minutebailbonds.com

Bakken Bail Bonds, LLC
301 58th St W, #518
Williston, ND 58801
https://www.bakkenbailbonds.com

To find even more bail agents and bondsmen in your area, use the Find a Bail Agent tool on the Professional Bail Agents of the US (PBUS) website.

Bounty Hunter Salary and Outlook in North Dakota

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics does not provide employment statistics for bounty hunters. However, criminal investigators and detectives perform similar work in the public sector, so we have used this career as a proxy. As of 2015, there were an estimated 290 detectives and criminal investigators working in North Dakota, earning an average annual salary of $77,870.2 However, you should note that public sector wages and benefits may vary from the wages and benefits typical for the private sector.

City or Metropolitan Area Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Bismarck 70 $64,800
Fargo, ND-MN 50 $85,620
Grand Forks, ND-MN 50 $94,140

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2015.2

Additional Resources

  • Midwestern Criminal Justice Association (MCJA) – The MCJA is affiliated with the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences and seeks to encourage networking and collaboration in the criminal justice profession. Its members hail from across the midwestern US as well as from Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Canada.

References:
1. US Census Bureau, North Dakota: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/38
2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, North Dakota: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nd.htm