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Utah Bounty Hunter Guide: Requirements and Steps

Utah has a population of just over 3.3 million people and allows the practice of bounty hunting.1 Bounty hunters, who are known as bail recovery agents in the state, locate and arrest individuals released on bail who fail to appear for their required court appearances; therefore, the job requires the physical ability and the skills to track individuals that may be eluding law enforcement. If you want to work as a bail recovery agent in Utah, you will need a license. This page covers how to obtain a license for bail recovery agents and related professions in the fugitive recovery field, such as private investigators and detectives..

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

Requirements for Prospective Bail Recovery Agents in Utah

There are three types of bail enforcement licenses available in Utah through the Utah Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI): Bail Recovery Apprentice, Bail Recovery Agent, and Bail Enforcement Agent. You can also apply for an agency license when you apply as a bail enforcement agent, which allows you to operate a bail bond agency that issues bail bonds and employs other fugitive recovery staff. Each license type allows you to complete different types of fugitive recovery work with increasing responsibility. To be eligible for any license, you must be a US citizen, at least 21 years old, and be of good moral character with no felony or fraud convictions.

Steps to a Career as a Bail Recovery Agent in Utah

The process to obtain any of the bail recovery licenses in Utah is similar. We have outlined the steps and any relevant differences between the licenses below. Note that for all license categories, all or a portion of the experience requirement may be waived if the applicant has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from an accredited college or university and/or has completed the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) basic training course.

Bail Recovery Apprentice

If you do not have any previous experience working in the fugitive recovery or law enforcement fields, you will need to begin your career as a bail recovery apprentice. With this license, you must work under the supervision of either a bail enforcement agent or a bail recovery agent. Here are the steps to follow for this license.

1. Attend approved bail enforcement agent training and firearms training, if applicable.

All applicants must attend at least 16 hours of bail enforcement training at one of the four authorized training locations in the state. If you plan to carry a firearm while working, you will also need to possess a current Utah concealed firearm permit and complete at least 16 hours of approved firearms training.

2. Secure a $10,000 surety bond.

A surety bond can be acquired from a surety agent and acts as collateral in case the bail recovery apprentice fails to follow legal protocols while on the job. You must include proof of this bond in your application.

3. Send your application package to the BCI.

Once you have located a bail bond agency willing to offer you an apprenticeship position, you can submit your application package. You must also include fingerprints taken by an approved office. If you wish, your fingerprints can be taken at the BCI main office for $15 (as of July 2022). The application package should include the application form, the $178.25 application fee (as of July 2022), a copy of your driver’s license, a passport-style photo, proof of completion of the bail enforcement training course, proof of the surety bond, and your fingerprint card.

4. Attend an approval meeting and receive your license.

It can take up to 90 days for your application to be processed. If your application is approved, you must attend an application approval meeting in person at the BCI office in Taylorsville to receive your license. Licenses must be renewed every year and cost $100 to renew (as of July 2022).

Bail Recovery Agent

Bail recovery agents have previous significant experience working in either fugitive recovery or law enforcement and can work as employees or independent contractors for bail bond agencies. They cannot employ other agents or provide services other than to licensed bail enforcement agencies. Follow these steps to obtain this type of license.

1. Attend approved bail enforcement agent training and firearms training, if applicable.

All applicants must attend at least 16 hours of bail enforcement training at one of the four authorized training providers in the state. If you plan to carry a firearm while on the job, you will need to possess a valid concealed carry permit and complete an approved firearm training course consisting of at least 16 hours.

2. Gain the necessary bail enforcement experience.

You will need 1,000 hours of related fugitive recovery or law enforcement experience to apply for a Utah bail recovery agent license. This experience must be documented and verified by your employer using the Verification of Bail Bond Recovery Work form provided.

3. Obtain a $10,000 surety bond.

Surety bonds must be acquired from surety agents to act as collateral in case the bail recovery agent fails to follow legal protocols while on the job. Proof of the bond must be included with your application.

4. Submit your application package to the BCI.

Once you have completed the necessary experience hours, you can mail your application package for your license. The package should include the application form, the $178.25 application fee (as of July 2022), a copy of your driver’s license, a passport-style photo, proof of completion of the bail enforcement training course, and proof of the surety bond. You must also have your fingerprints taken by an approved office or at the BCI main office and include them with your application package.

5. Attend an approval meeting and receive your license.

It can take up to 90 days for your application to be processed. If your application is approved, you must attend an application approval meeting in person at the BCI in Taylorsville to receive your license. Licenses must be renewed every year and cost $100 to renew (as of July 2022).

Bail Enforcement Agent or Bail Bond Recovery Agency

The bail enforcement agent license allows you to work independently, for a bail bond agency, or as a freelance agent for the public. You may also apply to operate a bail bond recovery agency that employs other bail recovery professionals at the same time. Here are the steps to obtaining either type of license.

1. Attend the required bail enforcement agent training and firearms training, if applicable.

You must attend at least 16 hours of bail enforcement training before applying for this license. There are four authorized training providers in Utah. You will also need to possess a Utah concealed carry permit and complete at least 16 hours of firearms training If you plan to carry a firearm while on the job.

2. Gain the necessary bail enforcement experience.

You need 2,000 hours of related fugitive recovery or law enforcement experience to apply for this license. This experience must be documented using the Verification of Bail Bond Recover Work form and verified by your employer.

3. Obtain a $10,000 surety bond.

A surety bond shows legal proof of worker’s compensation insurance if you plan to hire other bail recovery staff. Proof of the bond must be included with your application.

4. Submit your application package to the BCI.

Submit the application package, including the application form, the $278.25 application fee (as of July 2022), a copy of your driver’s license, a passport-style photo, proof of completion of the bail enforcement training course, and proof of the surety bond. You must also have your fingerprints taken by an approved office, such as the BCI main office, and include them with your application package. If you are applying for the agency license, you must include the business name on the form as well.

5. Receive your license.

It can take up to 90 days for your application to be processed. If your application is approved, you must pick it up in person at the BCI in Taylorsville during an approval meeting. Licenses must be renewed every year, with a fee of $150 (as of July 2022).

Related Careers

Besides working as a bail enforcement agent, there are other career options related to the fugitive recovery field, such as working as a private investigator or a process server. These two options are described below.

Private Investigator/ Private Detective

Private investigators (PIs) find information on court proceedings, witnesses, and other issues related to ongoing legal matters. Similar to the bail enforcement license, private investigator licenses are issued by the BCI. You must be at least 21 years old, a US citizen, and of good moral character to be eligible for this profession. Similar to bail recovery agents, PIs in Utah must begin at the apprentice level to earn experience before qualifying for license categories with more independence and responsibility. For the full PI license, you will need to show proof of at least 10,000 hours of investigative experience as part of your application package. For more information and to apply, visit the BCI website.

Process Server

Process servers deliver documents related to ongoing court proceedings, such as subpoenas and divorce papers. You do not need a license to work as a process server in Utah, but you must be at least 18 years old and cannot be involved in the court proceedings related to the documents. There are many process server agencies in the state with which you may find employment as a beginning process server.

Training and Education Options in Utah

You do not need any specific college education to obtain a bail enforcement agent license in Utah; however, some experience requirements may be waived if you have a bachelor’s degree or POST training, and you will likely find this training useful while you are on the job. You can complete the basic POST training as a self-sponsored candidate at many locations throughout the state. Other options would be to complete either a two-year associate degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree in a related subject, such as criminal justice, depending on your goals. Several schools offering such programs are listed below.

Salt Lake Community College
4600 S Redwood Rd
Salt Lake City, UT 84123
http://www.slcc.edu/satts/programs/criminal-justice.aspx

Utah Tech University
225 S University Ave
St. George, UT 84770
https://post.utahtech.edu/

Utah Valley State University
800 W University Pkwy
Orem, UT 84058
https://www.uvu.edu/criminaljustice/

Finding Work

Bail enforcement agents are hired to retrieve individuals who have borrowed money from a bail bond agency to pay for bail but subsequently fail to show up for court appearances. Depending on your license level, you may find permanent employment with one agency or work as a freelance agent for multiple agencies. It is also possible to apply to start your own agency. To start, you will probably need to work with an experienced bail enforcement agent to gain the necessary experience. The Professional Bail Agents of the United States (PBUS) does not list any member bail agents in Utah but may be useful for finding other information about the field.

Featured Bail Agents in Utah

Here are some well-known and highly reviewed bail agents in Utah that might help you launch your career.

Aladdin Bail Bonds
1414 W 3500 S
West Valley City, UT 84119
https://www.aladdinbailbonds.com

Beehive Bail Bonds
268 E 500 S
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
https://www.beehivebailbonds.com

Breaking Bad Bail Bonds
2591 W 700 S
Unit 1
Springville, UT 84663
https://www.breakingbadbonds.com

Dewey’s Bail Bonds
1545 E 3300 S
Salt Lake City, UT 84106
https://www.deweysbailbonds.com/

Lucky Bail Bonds
3075 N Main St
Spanish Fork, UT 84660
http://luckybailbondsutah.com/

Massey’s Bail Bonds
2159 S 700 E
#204
Salt Lake City, UT 84106
https://masseysbailbonds.com

Bail Recovery Agent Salary and Outlook in Utah

Because the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide information on bounty hunting, we use the data on private investigators and detectives as a proxy because it is a similar profession. In 2021, there were 130 individuals working as private detectives and investigators in Utah, with an average annual salary of $66,830.2 This compares favorably to the national average salary of $60,970 for private investigators during the same timeframe.3 Employment for Utah private investigators is projected to increase by 23.1% through 2030, with 20 average annual openings including replacements.4

City or Metropolitan AreaNumber Employed2Average Annual Salary2
Salt Lake City90$67,430

Additional Resources

References:
1. US Census Bureau Quick Facts, Utah: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/UT/PST045221
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Utah: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ut.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