How to Become a
Process Server

Man in uniform delivering a file to a woman

If you’d like to pursue a career as a Process Server, then you’ve come to the right place. This guide contains important information such as educational requirements, average salaries, useful resources and more.

What Does a Process Server Do?

The primary duty of a Process Server is to personally and properly deliver legal documents to specific people. Process Servers typically work either as contractors for legal service companies or as employees of a sheriff’s office, and can also start their own private Process Server companies.

Process Servers must have technical knowledge of legal protocol as well as good communication skills in order to coordinate with their employer, notaries and courts. Common Process Server duties and responsibilities include:

  • Serving legal documents to the correct people

  • Providing proof of service for each assignment

  • Retrieving and filing legal paperwork

  • Monitoring and locating evasive people

Process Server Skills

Since successfully serving someone can be more complicated than simply knocking on their front door, Process Servers must also be able to use the resources at their disposal in order to track down people who are intentionally avoiding service, which is a skill known as skip tracing. This can involve accessing phone, utility and city records, monitoring social media and even hiding out in front of a person’s home or office until an opportunity for service comes up. And, since serving legal documents involves a lot of additional paperwork, Process Servers must also be highly organized.

Other key Process Server skills include:

  • Attention to detail

  • Excellent understanding of their state’s process serving laws

  • Ability to write clear and precise notes, records and reports

  • Patience and persistence

How Do You Become a Process Server?

Education and Training

After analyzing a number of online job listings, we found that employers are looking for Process Servers with an educational background of a high school diploma, GED or equivalent. And, since serving people all across a town or city covers a lot of ground, employers also seem to require that potential Process Servers have a driver’s license as well as an insured vehicle.

Whether or not you’ll need to be licensed in order to become a Process Server depends on the state that you live in. Click here for a list of states with Process Server licensing laws. The steps you’ll need to take in order to become licensed vary greatly by state, and can include a written exam, a surety bond of up to $15,000 per individual, application fees and liability insurance. Some states require none of those steps, while others require most or all.

Finding a Job

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for legal assistants, which includes Process Servers, is increasing at a rate of 8 percent. That means that between 2014 and 2024, 21,200 positions in the field will become available. However, since the accessibility of the job is sure to generate plenty of competition, you’ll need to give yourself an edge over other candidates.

One of the best ways to give yourself a competitive edge is creating a great resume. Before starting your job search, make sure that you have a finely-tuned resume which clearly outlines your education and experience. Look through JobHero’s library of Process Server resume samples for help and ideas.

As soon as your resume is complete, search online for open positions. Keep in mind that before you start applying, you’ll want to have a great cover letter ready. A cover letter can convey your personality, reasons for applying and notable skills and experience to prospective employers. Check out our Process Server cover letter sample for inspiration.

Insights from a Process Server

In this next section, you'll find some questions and answer from Process Workers with years of experience that can help you better understand the job title.

What should someone consider before becoming a Process Server?

Process Servers have to manage their own time. Think about your availability and consider that this job will require you to deal with people during a difficult process. You need a strong character and patience. If you don't have people skills, this job is not right for you.

What is the common career path for a Process Server?

Becoming a Process Server is pretty straight forward with regards to education. There is no requirement for a bachelor's degree or an associate's degree. Process Servers usually go through a training program and a state-issued license of other certification programs depending on what state you are in.

What type of person excels in this job?

Independent people who can sucesfuly manage their time. Resilience and a strong character individuals who have good people skills.

What are some of the most important skills for Process Servers to have?

Organization and communication skills are very important. Previous experience in the justice system will help a lot as well.

What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of being a Process Server?

The most rewarding aspect of being a Process Server is the freedom of managing your own schedule.

How Much Do Process Servers Get Paid?

Process servers are usually paid a flat-rate fee for each assignment, and are often paid in advance. Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for a Process Server is $23.47, with the lowest-paid earning $14.74 per hour and the highest-paid earning $37.99 per hour.

Top Ten States for Process Server Salary

Process Servers in the following ten states earn the highest median hourly wage in the U.S.

    District of Columbia

    $36.12

    Alaska

    $29.14

    California

    $27.22

    Washington

    $26.96

    New Jersey

    $26.59

    Rhode Island

    $25.38

    Oregon

    $25.33

    Minnesota

    $25.31

    New York

    $25.05

    S. Virgin Islands

    $24.90

    Process Server Resources

    We put together this list of resources to help you keep exploring a career as a Process Server.

    Professional Groups

    National Association of Professional Process Servers
    With over 2,000 members across the country, NAPPS is the biggest community of professional Process Servers. It provides news, publications and blogs, and also hosts national and state events.

    ServeNow
    ServeNow offers educational webinars, a variety of articles on relevant topics and a great platform to get more business as a Process Server. Free membership consultations are available.

    Process Servers on LinkedIn

    Process Server Network
    This group has more than 2,500 members, and is geared towards professional Process Servers as well as those interested in becoming a Process Server.

    Process Servers
    This group has more than 3,500 members, and is focused on the business and marketing side of being an independent Process Server.

    Process Server Books

    The Process Server’s Handbook
    This general guidebook is full of information on the civil process system, explanations of legal terms and principles, tips on getting started in the industry and practical advice.

    The Business End of Process Service
    This book is ideal for those who are looking to start their own Process Server company. A wide variety of topics are covered, from marketing strategies to acquiring customers.

    The information in this article comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job postings and other online sources.