A bail bondsman, or bail agent, is someone who arranges the bail for a criminal defendant in court. They can either work independently or with an organization. There are multiple steps on how to become a bail bondsman.
Note that it is mandatory for a bail agent to obtain a licensing certificate in the state they decide to work in.
For more information on how a person can work in the bail bondsman profession, read on.
The first step in how to become a bail bondsman is schooling. Programs can take around 16-40 hours to complete depending in the state you live in. In addition to a bail bond license, states such as South Carolina and Virginia also require licensing of Property and Casualty and or a Producer Surety limited line license to legally conduct business as a bail agent. These courses can only be taken with state approved institutions that can be found with the Department of Insurance in your state.
Programs typically revolve around administrative and the practical aspects of being a bail bondsman. The main focus of these courses will be in areas such as:
- Record keeping and confidentiality
- Standards, ethics, and limitations
- Making arrests and when to use force
- State court practices and terminology
Once the courses are done, the next step is to complete the state’s provided bail bondsmen exam. Most of these exams consist of multiple choice and written sections, to test your knowledge of the bondsmen criteria.
An exam fee will have to be paid off. First, be sure to learn the exact requirements of the exam before attempting to take it (and paying for it). Doing so will prevent you from forgetting to fill out a form or providing a copy of a certificate. Candidates in most states are also allowed to retake the exam multiple times.
The requirements to earn a bail bondsman license in North Carolina includes:
- Be a resident of the state for six months
- Have the required age of eighteen or older (21 or older in NC)
- Possess a valid ID card or driver’s license
- Have earned a GED or high school diploma
These are required just to apply for a license, even after completing courses.
Each state has different laws on licensing through their Department of Insurance. Some states require the licensing to be done through the state’s police force.
Bondsmen may be required to declare their financial assets and insurance to become licensed. This is to show that they are capable of posting the bail.
The agency will require you to pay a fee and submit your exam scores. They may also ask you to submit your fingerprints and adhere to a background check.
After earning their state license, bail bondsmen can apply to be contracted by bail agencies. New bondsmen often make around $25,000 annually, which is dependent on how aggressive they market their business. Of course, that rate grows with the more experience an agent has.
Joining an established agency provides them with opportunities to build meaningful experience and gain new contacts.
Now You Know How To Become a Bail Bondsman
By now, you’ve learned the steps on how to become a bail bondsman. Note that every state has their own guidelines to follow.
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