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How to Become a Process Server: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Learn how to become a process server. Research the career requirements, training and licensure information and experience required for starting a career in process serving. View article »

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Video Transcript

Should I Become a Process Server?

Process servers deliver legal documents to the named clients or defendants in legal proceedings, including court summons, subpoenas, complaints, private lawsuits and other court dealings. They are responsible for delivering the documents while abiding by state and federal laws. Process servers may deal with distraught or aggressive recipients of documents, so some caution is needed for this job. Payscale.com reported in January 2016 that the median annual salary for process servers was $36,308.

Career Requirements

No degree is required to be a process server, but completion of a training program may be necessary and a state-issued license or certification may be required, depending on the state. You also need to be above 18 years old, possess a driver's license and have no criminal history. You'll want to have patience, stamina, dedication, a courteous personality, and knowledge of state and federal laws.

Steps to Become a Process Server

Let's find out what steps you'll need to take to become a process server.

Step 1: Complete a Training Program

All process servers are required to follow applicable state and federal laws. Therefore, most aspiring servers attend training programs. You can typically find training through state associations, sheriff's offices or at college campuses. The programs offer training in federal and state laws, as well as provide you with the basic principles that guide the serving process. You can learn research and surveillance techniques, serving tactics and methods of proof of serving through a training program. If you are interested in freelancing your work to multiple attorneys or clients, you can also learn entrepreneurial skills through training.

Learn a foreign language. Learning a foreign language is helpful because servers frequently encounter people who do not speak English. You can learn foreign languages through private tutoring sessions, online classes, courses at community centers or through programs at community colleges.

Step 2: Gain Certification or Licensure

Some states require the completion of a certification or licensure exam as part of the application process to become a server. In addition to completing a training program, certification or licensure may require you to submit an application, pass a background check and complete an exam. Other requirements may include the submission of proof of liability insurance. Additionally, you must be over 18 years of age and not a party to the litigation.

Contact the local county clerk or courthouse. The requirements to become a process server vary widely based on jurisdiction. No degree is required, but training programs, certifications or licenses might be needed. For example, Delaware only requires servers to register, while Connecticut states that only state marshals can serve papers. The best way to learn state requirements is to contact a local county clerk or courthouse for specific details.

Step 3: Gain Experience

You can find positions within specific jurisdictions, as well as through private companies including law offices or collection agencies. Additionally, you can start their own businesses and sell their services to law offices. Much of a process server's time is divided between delivering papers and researching recipients of papers. Process servers research and learn as much as they can about the people to whom they will deliver papers, including where the recipient lives and works. Process servers learn to provide exceptional service in a variety of environments.

Step 4: Continue Education

You should continue their educations throughout their careers in order to stay current on laws and trends in the field. You can find continuing education options through workshops, seminars and other events, typically arranged by professional organizations or private training academies.

Join a professional organization. Many state and national associations exist, including the National Association of Professional Process Servers (NAPPS). Members of the NAPPS are offered certification opportunities as well as access to education, events and job listings.

To become a process server, you need to make sure you meet the minimum requirements, acquire any required training, licensing or certification and then gain experience in the field.

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