In most states, getting a bounty hunter license requires successfully passing a background check, completing a training course and applying for a license with the state. Most states also require new bounty hunters to receive on-the-job training with an experienced bond enforcement officer. Some states also require licensed bounty hunters to maintain a surety bond with the state government.
The background check is the most important step in getting licensed as a bounty hunter. While individual requirements vary across state lines, most background checks ensure that an applicant has no felony convictions, is not a current law enforcement officer, and has no history of mental illness or instability. Most states also require applicants to have at least a high school diploma before considering their applications.
Getting licensed as a bounty hunter typically also means obtaining a license to carry firearms. While carrying and knowing how to properly use firearms is not explicitly required to become a bounty hunter, it is usually a necessary safety precaution given the dangerous nature of the work.
In some states, becoming a bounty hunter is illegal. Not only is it impossible to become a licensed bounty hunter in these states, but some of them consider the act of bounty hunting, also known as bond enforcement or fugitive recovery, a crime itself. Bounty hunting is only legal in the United States and the Philippines, so pursuing and recovering a fugitive who crosses into another country could be grounds for arrest for kidnapping or other criminal charges.