Bail bondsmen’s annual salaries range from $10,076 to $237,811, with the average new bail bond agent making 43K a year. If you’re ambitious, you can get started after just a few weeks of school.
However, before you venture down the path of service and a great salary, it’s important that you understand if such a career would be possible in the first place. Read on to discover whether you’re qualified to be a bail bond agent.
What Does a Bail Bond Agent Do?
The work of a bail agent is not easy. It involves more than just helping get people out of jail — a large part, but not all.
Bondsmen make money by charging you a fee for posting bail. But everyone doesn’t always pay back. A bond agent’s only recourse in this instance is to sue the debtor.
Though this is not an ideal situation, it’s another way that bail bond agents make money.
How to Become a Bail Bond Agent
Requirements for becoming a bail bondsman vary by state. Still, there are some basic requirements that are generally the same.
Be 18 Years of Age
To work as a bail bond agent, you must be at least 18 years old. Some states, such as North Carolina, have an age requirement of 21. However, if you’re a young professional in Virginia, you’re in luck.
Be an American Citizen
One of the many perks of being American is access to a flexible career as a bail bond agent. You also have to be a resident of the state you’re applying to. The length requirements for your residency vary by state.
Take the Pre-licensing Course
The pre-licensing course provides you with the foundational knowledge needed to be an effective bail bond agent. It also teaches you how to operate within your state’s legal framework and provides insight into how insurance companies work (which may come in handy when someone is late on their bill).
How Long Is the Course?
Of course, this will vary by your training provider. Some courses are as short as two days, and others can be much longer. You can expect to spend at least 15 hours studying and taking tests before you’re ready for the exam.
Pass the State Licensing Exam
Once you’ve completed the course and you’re ready to apply, the first thing you need to do is take a state licensing exam. The exam will be given at different locations in your state, but you can also take it online.
Make sure you review the guidelines before your test. If you cannot prove that you took a prerequisite class or pay for fingerprinting, then the testing agency will cancel your exam.
How Much Is the Exam?
The testing vendor, Pearson VUE, charges an exam fee of $56.50 for the state exam.
You’ll need to register in advance for this test. Once you register, they’ll send you a confirmation email with instructions on how to schedule your test date and time. If you miss your appointment or don’t show up, then there is no refund for this fee.
Receive Your Bail Bonding License
Once you’ve passed the exam, you’ll get your state license. Expect it to arrive in about 2 weeks. However, you can always check on its status by contacting your local board.
Skills You’ll Need as a Bail Bond Agent
A new bail bond agent must have strong communication skills. This is because you’ll be dealing with people who are experiencing high stress or anxiety over their situations. You should have patience and a willingness to listen carefully and help others through their problems.
You’ll also need to work well under pressure, as you’ll have many people coming into your office and asking for help.
If none of this sounds like you, don’t forget your dream. If you have a passion for helping people, give it a try! You might just like it.
Benefits of the Job
While the work is challenging and can be stressful, the pay and benefits are generally good.
You’ll have a lot of freedom in your job, as you’re not working on a set schedule or within the confines of an office. You’ll be able to decide where and when to work and what kind of clients you want to work with.
Best of all, you need very little training to get started. Just about anyone can do it with a little spare time and all the necessary fees.
Cost of Becoming a Bail Bond Agent
You’ll need to complete an application and submit a fee of about $231. Another factor is the cost of getting your fingerprints scanned for the application. In addition, you’ll have to pay a processing fee of around $50.
This is just the basic price; your total may be higher if you have to take additional classes or training courses.
Start Your Journey Today With Amistad
If you want to become a bail bond agent, it’s important that you understand what goes into the process. While there are some requirements, such as age and citizenship status, there are many aspects of this career that make it an appealing choice for people with diverse backgrounds. You don’t need any previous experience with law enforcement or working in criminal justice—just some passion for helping others!
And if being a bail bond agent interests you, apply now to get started. At Amistad, we’re here to help you every step of the way.