Oklahoma Bounty Hunter Guide: Requirements and Steps
Approximately 3.9 million people live in Oklahoma.1 In 2015, bounty hunting, known as bail enforcement in Oklahoma, became a licensed profession in the state. Bounty hunters, known as bail enforcers, find and retrieve individuals who fail to show up in court on behalf of bail bond agents, earning a commission based on the amount of bail posted for the individual. This page highlights the steps to take to become a bail enforcer in Oklahoma and provides information on other related professions in the area of fugitive recovery, such as private investigators and detectives.
Table of Contents
- Bail Enforcer Requirements
- Steps to a Career
- Related Careers
- Training and Education Options
- Finding Work
- Salary and Job Outlook
- Bail Enforcer Resources
Requirements for Prospective Bail Enforcers in Oklahoma
Bail enforcers are regulated by the Oklahoma Bail Enforcement and Licensing Act and must be certified by the Oklahoma Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET). To be eligible for bail enforcer licensing in Oklahoma, you must:
- Show you have been a legal resident of the state for at least six months
- Be at least 21 years old
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Have no violent felony convictions
Steps to a Career as a Bail Enforcer in Oklahoma
In addition to the qualifications above, you will also need to pass the CLEET certification process to obtain either an Unarmed Bail Enforcer license or an Armed Bail Enforcer license. Here are the steps to take to successfully obtain either license.
1. Complete your high school diploma or GED.
A high school diploma or GED is the minimum education requirement to proceed with CLEET certification. Although not required, earning a certificate or associate’s degree can make you a more competitive applicant once you achieve CLEET certification. You can read more about available programs below.
2. Complete training from a CLEET-approved school.
CLEET training includes a minimum of four phases, or courses, that educate prospective bail enforcers about the tasks related to bail enforcement, private investigation, and security guards. Those pursuing the Armed Bail Enforcer license complete a fifth phase on weapons use.
3. Obtain liability insurance.
To obtain a license, you must show proof of at least $10,000 of liability insurance that protects you from injury, loss, or any other damage while working as a bail enforcer.
4. If applying for an Armed Bail Enforcer license, obtain a psychological evaluation.
A psychological evaluation is a necessary step for any applicant wishing to carry firearms while working as a bail enforcer in Oklahoma and must be done at your own cost. The evaluation must be performed by a psychologist licensed by the state of Oklahoma.
5. Have your fingerprints taken by IdentoGO.
Your fingerprints must be sent to CLEET for the required background check. CLEET no longer accepts physical cards. Applicants must therefore use the department’s chosen vendor, IdentoGO. Appointment times and costs vary and are the responsibility of the applicant.
6. Send your application to CLEET.
Your CLEET application packet will consist of the application form provided by CLEET, two passport-sized photographs, city and county record checks, a certificate of insurance, proof of CLEET-approved training, and the application fee. The initial fee for an Unarmed Bail Enforcer license is $300 and $400 for an Armed Bail Enforcer license (as of July 2022). All documents must be sent together in a single envelope to the CLEET office address provided on the application form.
7. Receive your license card and carry it with you while working.
You must carry your license card with you at all times while working as a bail enforcer. The license will be valid for three years and then must be renewed.
In addition to bail enforcement, there are related licensed professions that you might be interested in pursuing, such as a private investigator (PI) or process server. Information on these options is provided below.
Private Investigator/Private Detective
CLEET also issues Private Investigator licenses, which are issued subject to similar application and education requirements as bail enforcement licenses. Private investigators uncover information for legal cases on behalf of clients, who may be individuals or private investigation firms. To qualify for a PI license in Oklahoma, you must be at least 18 years old with no felony convictions. You will be required to complete CLEET training or have comparable experience from previous work as a military officer, out-of-state officer, or security guard.
Process servers deliver legal documents for civil courts. In Oklahoma, they can be licensed at either the county or state level. Application procedures and requirements vary for county licenses, but the state-wide application can be completed by any individual who has resided in Oklahoma for at least the previous six months, is at least 18 years old, and has no felony convictions.
Training and Education Options in Oklahoma
Bail enforcers in Oklahoma do not need a college degree; however, additional education and training in criminal justice or law enforcement, such as that offered by two- or four-year degree in criminal justice, may help you build confidence and learn skills and knowledge that will benefit you over time. Listed below are two such programs in Oklahoma.
Redlands Community College
1300 S Country Club Rd
El Reno, OK 73036
Southeastern Oklahoma State University
425 W University Blvd
Durant, OK 74701
Many bail enforcers work for bail bond companies, although you can also work for yourself. According to the Professional Bail Agents of the United States (PBUS), there are seven member bail bonds agents in Oklahoma. If you have limited relevant experience, you may consider approaching an experienced bail enforcement professional to mentor you, which will help you gain hands-on experience and develop your reputation. Networking with local associations may also help you find contacts and work opportunities.
Featured Bail Agents in Oklahoma
Bail bond agents post surety or bail on behalf of individuals accused of crimes. Below is a list of some top-rated agents that may help you build your professional contact list.
Abraham’s Bail Bonds
1221 N Classen Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK 73106
Alameda Bail Bonds in Tulsa
308 N Xenophon Ave
Tulsa, OK 74127
Break Free Bail Bonds
217 N Harvey Ave
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
Clint Pletcher Bail Bonds
320 N Broadway Ave
Shawnee, OK 74801
811 Robert S Kerr Ave
Oklahoma City, OK 73106
Signature Bail Bonds
201 W 5th Ave
Tulsa, OK 72103
To find even more bail agents and bondsmen in your area, use the Member Search tool on the PBUS website.
Bail Enforcer Salary and Outlook in Oklahoma
Because the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not collect data on bail enforcers, we use data on private investigators as a proxy. As of 2021, there were an estimated 190 private investigators working in Oklahoma, with an average annual salary of $45,670.2 Tulsa has the highest concentration of private investigators in the state.3 Employment projections for private investigators are not available, but job growth for the similar career of detectives and criminal investigators is projected at 5.9% through 2030.4
|City or Metropolitan Area||Number Employed2||Average Annual Salary2|
Contacting state and local organizations can help you find work as a bail enforcer or private investigator once you are certified.
- Oklahoma Bondsman Association (OBA): Provides information on bail bonds companies in Oklahoma and a newsletter on bail bonds issues.
- Oklahoma Private Investigators Association (OPIA): Has information on state and local private investigation issues and standards.
1. US Census Bureau Quick Facts, Oklahoma: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/OK/PST045221
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021 Occupational Employment and Wages, Oklahoma: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ok.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