How to Become a Bounty Hunter in Ohio

Since 2001, bounty hunting in the state of Ohio has been explicitly regulated by state law. As such, only a law enforcement officer or a qualified, licensed and appointed surety bail bond agent are authorized to arrest fugitives in the state. All others performing the function of bail enforcement agents are subject to arrest.

Bounty Hunter Education

To perform bail enforcement duties in Ohio, you must become a surety bail agent. This requires completion of a training course consisting of at least 20 hours of classwork dedicated to material pertinent to the surety bail bond business, including the insurance laws and a surety agent’s lines of authority.

Surety bail agent training is available through 6 approved programs, 2 of which are self study courses and 4 of which are available at institutions within the state. Once you have completed your training, you are required to pass an examination. Following a passing score, you may act as a bail enforcement agent if you wish, although for many surety bail agents fugitive recovery is optional and contracted out.

Bounty Hunter Certification

The state of Ohio currently does not regulate the licensing of bounty hunters. However, legislation regarding “surety bail bond agents” is pending under the Ohio Department of Insurance (ODI). Section 3905.83 of the Ohio House Bill No. 730 is the closest statute regarding surety bail bond agents or bail enforcement agents stating that, ”
No person shall act in the capacity of a surety bail bond agent or perform any functions of a surety bail bond agent unless the agent is qualified, licensed, and appointed.”

To become a licensed surety bail agent in Ohio, you must be at least 18 years old, complete a surety bail bond pre-licensing certificate program and pass an examination. The examination must be taken within 180 calendar days after successfully completing the program. You will not be admitted into the exam without the original unaltered certificate of completion. Following the passing of the examination, you may submit an application to the Ohio Department of Insurance along with a set of your fingerprints, which will be used for a background check for verification of a clean record.

Once you receive your license, you must complete continuing education classes every 2 years. If you hold a Surety Bail Bond and a Property & Casualty (PC) license, you must complete 20 credit hours of continuing classes with at least 14 credits of Surety Bail Bond related classes. If you only hold a title license in Surety Bail Bonds you are instead only required to complete 14 hours of classes in surety Bail Bond related credits.

It is highly recommended that you complete a degree in criminal justice if you wish to pursue a career as a bounty hunter in Ohio.  A degree in criminal justice or a related field such as sociology or psychology will help you understand the motivations and actions of the criminals you are tasked with tracking down.