Becoming a bail agent isn’t the hardest thing in the world. In fact, there are over 14,000 bail bondsmen in the US, and that number is only growing!
So how do I get into the industry? Is it a competitive field? Let’s talk about how to become a bail enforcement agent in South Carolina!
How To Become A Bail Enforcement Agent: Meet The Requirements
In South Carolina, there are several requirements you need to meet before you can take any further steps toward becoming a bail agent. The first requirement is to be at least 18 years of age, a citizen of the US (or legal resident), and a current resident of South Carolina.
There are no education requirements to become a bail bondsman. However, if you are looking for a job in the field, having a high school diploma or an associate’s degree will certainly help you.
A bachelor’s degree will put you ahead of most of the competition, especially in criminal justice, sociology, or a related field. Many independent bail bondsmen are former police officers or private detectives, so having some relevant experience never hurts when it comes time to apply for jobs. If you want to work independently, consider minoring in business.
You need to have a good moral character without a felony conviction within the last 10 years in order to be considered for the job. If you’re a few years off from the 10-year mark, you will have to wait before pursuing this career. During this time, you should take steps to increase your education and relevant experience to help you land a job and be successful at it.
With a felony charge, you may be able to find a security position or public administrative position that can give you translatable experience in the bounty hunting field.
Understand The Job
Another requirement is to find employment with a professional bondsman and not work independently. If you wish to become an independent bounty hunter in South Carolina, you must first become licensed as a professional bondsman.
Getting a job in the field first will ultimately give you the skills you need to be successful as an independent bail agent. The entry-level job is known as a “bail runner”, but the requirements are the same for independent work.
Complete The Course
In order to receive your license, you will have to take a 30-hour training course and receive a completion certificate from the instructor before proceeding.
The education you receive will have to be approved by the South Carolina Department of Insurance in order to qualify as the proper education requirement. Be sure to check if the course you register for is on the approved courses list.
Take The Exam
Once you have your certificate of completion for your course, you will have to take the professional bondsman exam, run through PSI. The exam will cost $45 and you can request a practice exam and study material from either your course or exam provider to help you.
PSI will notify both you and the Department of Insurance of your results when it is completed, and you will be able to apply for your license from there!
Apply For A License
If you’ve passed the exam, congratulations! If not, don’t panic. You can take it again!
Now it’s time to apply for your bail bondsman license. You can print off the application form from the Department of Insurance’s website, fill it out, and submit it. There will be a fee of $200.
You will need to submit a lot of documents along with your application, including a copy of your fingerprints certified by a law enforcement officer. You will also need to submit your certificate of completion from the pre-licensing course, your PSI exam results, and a photograph of yourself. This needs to be done within 12 months of passing the exam or you will need to meet the requirements all over again.
Submit Your Application
If you have received your license, congratulations! You made it this far, so now it’s time to move on to the job search!
Find the bail bondsman you would like to work for and submit your job application to them. Mention in your resume or application that you have acquired your license, and emphasize any relevant experience, education, or training you may have.
Along with any previous work references, be sure to add references from the course you took (if you have one), as they may be able to give a better testimony of your abilities in the field. You will likely be required to submit another background check for this application. If you want to work independently, look for business opportunities!
Maintain Your License
Like most licenses, they come with expiration dates that will need to be maintained over time. South Carolina does this so agents can understand updates on changing laws that affect their work, and for a refresher for safety protocols.
Once you have your license and a job, remember that all bail agent licenses expire on June 30th of every year. In order to maintain your license, you will need to complete a minimum of 8 hours of training every year that you practice.
Now that you know how to become a bail enforcement agent in South Carolina, the time to get started is now! Just make sure you meet the requirements, take the course, pass the exam, and get certified! Stay up to date with our latest bail bondsman news and find out some of the most common mistakes in the industry and how to avoid them!