Education and Training Requirements
To prepare for a career as a bail bondsman, focus on computer science, accounting, mathematics, government, social studies, and geography. Accounting, computer science, and mathematics will prepare you to handle bookkeeping, record keeping, and negotiations concerning bail money. Because you'll be using a computer for tracing bail jumpers, try to spend as much time as you can honing your computer skills.
Some college-level course work in criminal justice and psychology and training in law enforcement techniques are helpful. Many of today's bail bondsmen have college degrees in criminal justice, although that is not a requirement. Depending on your state's regulations, you may need to complete a certain amount of specific pre-work and pre-licensing education. For example, one of Oklahoma's requirements for those wishing to work as bail bondsmen is to complete 16 hours of education sponsored by the Oklahoma Bondsman Association before they can sit for their licensing exam and begin working.
Other Education or Training
Professional Bail Agents of the United States (PBUS) offers continuing education opportunities at its annual meeting. Recent classes included "Using Guerrilla Marketing, Social Media & Other Low-Cost Tactics to Get & Keep Clients," "Electronic Skip Tracing Techniques," and "Awareness and Risks for Apprehending a Fugitive." Contact PBUS for more information.
Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements
Certification or Licensing
Some states require would-be bail bondsmen to attain a property and casualty insurance license requiring several hours of class work under the jurisdiction of the state director of insurance or state department of professional regulation. Wisconsin, Illinois, Oregon, and Kentucky ban for-profit bail bonding altogether. Other states require you to pass a bail-bond certification exam. Most states that require exams or licensing also require several hours of continuing education classes each year to keep the license current. You will need a firearm license if you plan to use a firearm.
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
There is no way to obtain direct experience as a bail bondsman before you become certified or licensed, but you will gain experience by completing the bondsmen association-sponsored course work that is required for licensure. You can also try to participate in internships or part-time jobs at law enforcement agencies or in the court system.
Bail bondsmen need to have people skills that allow them to effectively communicate with the clients and law enforcement officers they contact daily. Business acumen will also come in handy if you own your own company. They must also be able to deal with high levels of stress and tense situations. Bail bondsmen who do not hire bounty hunters must be physically fit in order to be prepared for any violent or challenging situation.