Ask someone about a high-paying profession. They’ll probably talk to you about being a lawyer, doctor, or Wall Street banker. They should be talking to you about becoming a bail bond agent.
The median income for an agent is 36,044 dollars a year. Some agents earn nearly 100,000 dollars a year. If you want a lucrative and engaging job, you should learn how to become a bail bond agent.
But the process isn’t as simple as filling out a job application form online. An agent takes on serious responsibilities, so you need to gather a lot of knowledge.
Follow a few basic steps to get that knowledge. Here are five of them.
1. Get an Education
At a minimum, you need a high school diploma or GED to become a bail bond agent. But the more education you receive, the more effective an agent you will be.
You should go to college. Many two-year community colleges offer bail agent training programs. You will learn about the law around bail and how to operate a safe business.
If possible, go to a four-year college and get a Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. You will take classes on criminology that sharpen your understanding of human behavior. Having a Bachelor’s degree also makes you seem more legitimate to potential clients.
If you enjoy going to school, you can then get a Master’s degree in criminal justice. This gives you an opportunity to study public policy, gaining a better appreciation for how crime affects society.
Try to study a range of classes in addition to your core program. Taking a legal class will help you understand how the bail process works in court. Business classes will give you skills so you can build and market your business.
Once you become a bail agent, you will need to take continuing education. Every year, you must take three hours of courses related to bail work.
2. Gather Experience
As you are studying, you should be working. Try to spend a summer working in a bail bond office. Get experience working with clients and the managers of the office.
If you can’t find a bail bond office, work in a police station or court. Even simple tasks like handling paperwork can enrich your knowledge of the criminal justice system.
After you’ve left your job, keep in touch with your supervisor. You can use them as a job reference for future opportunities. When you get your own office, you can build a rapport with them, exchanging clients and personnel.
3. Get Licensed
Every state requires bail bond agents to get a license. In North Carolina, you must meet several requirements to receive one.
You must submit an application with the Department of Insurance. You cannot have a criminal record, including misdemeanor convictions. You must submit a fingerprint background check to corroborate this.
You must take a two-day course on bail education. You do not meet this requirement by having an advanced college degree.
Once the Department of Insurance has approved your application, you must take the state exam. It comprises 100 multiple-choice questions relating to a range of topics in the criminal justice system. This includes important terms that you need to know the definitions of.
Give yourself plenty of time to study for the exam. You should start as you begin preparing your application, if not before.
It will take time for the Department to process your application. Be patient. Study for the exam in the meantime and continue working in the criminal justice system.
4. Establish an Office
Once you’ve gotten your license, you can establish your office. You need to find a space you can run your business out of. But you don’t want to pick the first space you see.
Find a location where you are the only bail bond enforcement agent in the area. You need to hire staffers, so you don’t want to be too remote. Look at commercial centers in small cities outside of major metropolitan areas.
You should find an administrative assistant who will help you manage paperwork and client outreach. You should also find an accountant who will track bond payments and promote your business’s financial portfolio.
As you start out, you are going to be doing a lot of things yourself. Be prepared to work long hours. You may not be able to hire additional help for months.
If you have the only bail bond office in your area, you may have a lot of people coming to you. You should still advertise.
Maintain a website that describes your services. Include a profile of yourself, discussing your experience and educational background. Consider running a blog where you talk about your industry and provide tips to potential clients.
Start social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter. Post about your line of work, providing interesting information on what you do.
If you have competition, you need to make yourself distinct in your advertising. Consider catering to a particular audience. You can advertise toward people accused of specific offenses.
Make yourself seem as human as possible. If you have a sense of humor, be a little funny in your advertising. The more appealing you are, the more that people will want to hire you.
How to Become a Bail Bond Agent
You can learn how to become a bail bond agent. You need to educate yourself, preferably with a college degree.
You need to gather experience in the criminal justice system. You can work in a police station or courtroom. Then you must apply with the state and pass an exam.
Find an office in a location where you don’t have competition. Start a website and social media pages to advertise your service.
Find an expert if you have questions. Amistad & Associates helps bail bond agents run their office. Read our guide on how to increase your revenues.