Process Server Training: What You Need to Know

3 Min. Read / Updated on February 25th, 2021

Okay, so you’ve decided to become a process server. That means finding a good process server training program, right?

Well, the answer isn’t so simple.

For an industry that handles such critical work, you might be surprised to learn there’s no unified, nationwide training requirement for process servers.

Unlike plumbers, electricians, and even barbers, we don’t usually require a formal course of study.

Most of us, myself included, entered the business informally.

We learn on the job, either with the help of a mentor, or in many cases just by figuring things out as we go.

From a legal point of view, serving civil process is relatively simple.

Of course, we run into a lot of challenges out in the field and often resort to some pretty creative measures, but as long as you’re following the rules of civil procedure in your state you have a lot of flexibility with how you work.

That said, there are a few situations when process server training is regularly offered:

State-Mandated Process Server Training

A small number of states, including Texas and Florida, require formal process server training prior to becoming licensed or certified.

Classes are usually conducted by the court or county sheriff’s office.

In a handful of states, classes are required by the government but provided by a private organization, such as the local process server association, and may even be offered online.

A quick Google search will turn up training options in your area.

Just be sure whichever program you choose meets your state’s requirements.

Private Process Server Training

In states that don’t require formal process server training, a private course can be a great way to learn the basics and network with other process servers.

For example, my home state of Colorado has zero licensing or registration requirements.

However, introductory training and certification is offered several times a year by the Process Servers Association of Colorado.

In California, where registration is required but classes are not, you can sign up for an optional training class with the Process Server Institute.

Job Provided Process Server Training

Most process server agencies provide an orientation class before they send new hires out to the field.

It’s basic stuff, like how to complete a return of service, court filing, and professional ethics.

But be warned, some of them actually charge new hires a fee for the orientation class (the pay at these agencies typically runs well below average and staff turnover is high).

The Best Training Is Experience

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous when I made my first serve.

Fortunately, it was a simple divorce case and I already knew when and where the spouse would be working.

Everything went off without a hitch, and I learned more in that first case than most people learn in a classroom.

While it’s tempting to wait around for a training opportunity, don’t use it as an excuse to avoid real-world experience.

Believe me, after you’ve served 5-10 cases it’ll all seem much easier.

Study the rules of civil procedure (specifically the section related to service of process), start with a few simple cases, and grow your confidence as you progress to more difficult serves.

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