Every day, thousands of people are arrested across the country for various offenses, from driving under the influence to violent crimes. After an arrest, offenders are typically placed in custody awaiting trial. However, most of them have the option to post bail (a sum of money set by a judge) to secure their release from pre-trial detention.
Bail agents are crucial cogs in this process. They help offenders who are unable to immediately afford bail raise the funds required to secure their temporary release.
Looks like a purposeful career to pursue?
Well, it is, and in this article, we’re telling you how to build your career and become a top-rate bail agent.
Meet the Basic Requirements
States have different minimum requirements for becoming a bail agent, but you generally need to:
- Be at least 18 years–21 in other states
- Possess a high school diploma
- Be an American citizen/legal resident alien
Complete State-Specific Training
Many states will require you to take a state-specific training program. In Virginia, for instance, you’ll complete a 40-hour bail bondsmen entry-level training program, which covers, among other topics, Virginia code of conduct for bail bondsmen, ethical standards, and fugitive recovery.
Get Licensed to Practice In Your State
North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia are good examples of states that required bail agents to hold a license.
To get licensed as a bail agent, you typically need to ace the bail bondsman licensing exam and pay the appropriate licensing fees. Other requirements include submitting your fingerprints and proof of your net worth.
Pursue Higher Education
A decade or so ago, one could start building a bail agent career with just a high school diploma and state training and licensure.
Today, the industry is quite competitive. With over 29,000 agents across the nation, finding a steady flow of clients or even finding employment with an established bail agency can be challenging.
To set yourself apart from the crowd and boost your career progression chances, pursue at least an associate degree in criminal justice administration or law enforcement. Business, finance or economics programs can also suffice.
Nurture the Skills Required to be an Effective Bail Agent
The bail bond agent job description involves tasks such as:
- Assessing potential clients’ financial situation to determine whether they qualify for bond
- Assessing the likelihood that a client will appear in court
- Filling out court paperwork
- Tracking down and apprehending bail fugitives
To execute these tasks with precision, you need a certain skillset. Strong analytical skills, for example, are a must-have.
Being able to analyze a client’s financial situation will help you identify creditworthy clients. You don’t want to post bail for offenders who won’t pay up when they fail to appear in court.
Strong communication and people skills and a keen attention to detail are also fundamental.
Gain Experience Before Starting Your Own Agency
You want to be your own boss, no doubt.
However, it’s not advisable to go all out and start your own agency when you’re a newbie.
Begin by finding employment as a bail bondsman at an established agency. Here, you’ll learn the ropes from experienced pros who know all the ins and outs of the job. After a couple of years, and once you feel you have the commercial acumen to run your own outfit, you can make the move.
Become a Successful Bail Agent
By ensuring offenders don’t needlessly stay in custody, bail agents play a noble role in our society.
If you’re set on pursuing this career, know that you’ll have the opportunity to make a difference in many families. Plus, we have given you the information you need to build your career and earn a good living.
Ready to take that first step? Join us!