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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 770,000 residents as of 2021.1 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.

Table of Contents
Bounty Hunter Requirements
Steps to a Career
Related Careers
Training and Education Options
Finding Work
Salary and Job Outlook
Bounty Hunter Resources

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 bail bond agents, which is generally also held to apply to bounty hunters.

Steps to a Career as a Bounty Hunter 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 (PISB). 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
  • Complete 12 hours of in-service or classroom training and instruction

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 PISB.

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/academics/programs/criminal-justice-technical/

Lake Region State College
1801 College Dr N
Devils Lake, ND 58301
https://www.lrsc.edu/academics/programs/cte-programs/law-enforcement-peace-officer-training-program

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

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

University of North Dakota
221 Centennial Dr
Grand Forks, ND 58202
https://arts-sciences.und.edu/academics/criminal-justice/

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
https://10minutebailbonds.com

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

While there are no member agents listed in North Dakota, you can find even more bail agents and bondsmen in neighboring states with the Member Search tool on the Professional Bail Agents of the US (PBUS) website.

Bounty Hunter Salary and Outlook in North Dakota

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 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 2021, there were an estimated 420 detectives and criminal investigators working in North Dakota, earning an average annual salary of $77,550.2 This was considerably below the national average of $90,370 for the same time period.3 However, you should note that public sector wages and benefits may vary from the wages and benefits typical for the private sector. Through 2030, projections are that jobs for detectives and criminal investigators in North Dakota will increase by 4.2%, equating to 20 annual openings on average (including replacements).4

City or Metropolitan AreaNumber Employed2Average Annual Salary2
Bismarck140$65,620
Fargo, ND-MN60$86,270
Grand Forks, ND-MN70$97,550

Additional Resources

  • Midwestern Criminal Justice Association (MCJA): Affiliated with the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, this association seeks to encourage networking and collaboration in the criminal justice profession across the Midwestern US and Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Canada.

References:
1. US Census Bureau, Quick Facts, North Dakota: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/ND/PST045221
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, North Dakota: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nd.htm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021, Detectives and Criminal Investigators: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes333021.htm
4. Projections Central Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm