How to Become a Bounty Hunter in Pennsylvania

If you plan to become a bounty hunter in Pennsylvania, you are in luck as there are few laws and regulations directly affecting fugitive trackers in the state. However, you will need to provide some information and receive lethal weapons training to start your career in bail enforcement.

Bounty hunting in Pennsylvania works the same way that it does it most states. A person accused of a crime can receive bail until their court date and pay a percentage of the total to a bail bond company to stay out of jail. If they fail to appear for their court date, the bail bond company may hire a bounty hunter to apprehend the fugitive so that they may recover their bond fee and take the fugitive to jail.

That does not mean you don’t have to meet particular requirements to be a bounty hunter in Pennsylvania. Anyone with a career that requires them to carry a firearm or any lethal weapon must complete a background check and some training. If you are employed by a bail bond company in Pennsylvania, it is their responsibility to ensure that you become a certified agent in the state’s lethal weapons training program.

Pennsylvania has 2 types of agent certification: firearms and other lethal weapons. A lethal weapon is considered anything that could inflict serious bodily harm, which would include a billy club or a taser. You are free to change between the qualifications provided you have received training for both.

To qualify for certification, you must be at least 18 years old and be willing to undergo a complete physical and psychological evaluation. The state will conduct a background check, which will require you to complete an application and undergo a background check. You cannot have a conviction of any violent crime. You will be fingerprinted to conduct the background check.

When your application process is complete, you will need to attend a certified lethal weapons training program. There are dozens of schools certified by the state to teach the classes. You can have your training waived if you have been a law enforcement officer, taken previous classes or received similar training. Pennsylvania requires that you be recertified every 5 years to carry a lethal weapon or firearm. Continuing education is required. Be sure to keep your certification up to date.

Be ready to spend several hundred dollars for application fees and training. Application fees and certification training will cost you at least $400. If you are already employed by a bail bond company, they may help you with the expense.

Graduating with a degree in criminal justice, sociology or public administration is helpful if you are interested in being a bounty hunter in Pennsylvania.  A degree in one of these subjects gives you greater knowledge of the U.S. criminal justice system, and provides more opportunities to expand your career options to other areas of law enforcement.

Like most states, laws related to bail enforcement are subject to change. Be sure to keep up with the state government to monitor any changes. Most of the bounty hunting industry websites have forums for each state to make people aware of possible changes. Be sure to check the state’s website to verify anything you read in a forum.