Arkansas is a state that’s built on pioneer spirit. In fact, Mountain View is known as the Folk Capital of America, and takes great pride in its preservation of the way people lived hundreds of years ago when they first came West. It’s a beautiful country with hundreds of thousands of acres of streams, rivers and lakes. Since becoming a member of the United States in 1836, this state has straddled the line between its proud history and traditions, and modern progress. It’s both the home of Wal-Mart, and the leading producer of archery bows in the country. When fugitives from the law are on the loose in Arkansas, licensed bondsmen track them down and return them to justice. Here’s what it takes to become a licensed bondsman in Arkansas.
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Becoming a Bounty Hunter in Arkansas
There are no bounty hunters, per se, in Arkansas. In fact, it is a state law that no person may carry a title of bail enforcement agent or bounty hunter. Rather, licensed bondsmen hunt down fugitives who have jumped bail in the state. Such bondsmen are licensed to hunt down fugitives by the Arkansas Professional Bondsman Licensing Board, or APBLB.
Basic State Requirements
- Education: Many licensed bondsmen in Arkansas pursue a background in economics, finance, or a similar degree. All prospective bondsmen must complete 8-hours of training through pre-licensing courses available through local colleges and educational institutions across the state. These are designed to train the applicant specifically for this line of work.
- Age: Licensed bondsmen must be 21 years of age at minimum.
- Degree: While no formal education is required, a bachelor’s or associate’s degree is held by many bondsmen and can help to prepare you for the rigors of the licensing exam.
- Experience: As you build experience as a licensed bondsman, your responsibilities and recoveries will increase. Likewise, those who hold more experience in related fields are more likely to find work as a licensed bondsman in Arkansas.
- Citizenship: In Arkansas, you must be either a U.S. citizen or a legal resident alien to work in this field.
- Background Screening: Licensed bondsmen are not allowed to have felonies on their record, or any crimes related to moral grounds. As such, a criminal record check and fingerprinting by Arkansas State Police is required as part of your application. An FBI Release form is also part of this process.
- Personal References: Applying for your licensure requires three personal references.
- Power of attorney: Your bail bond company must issue a power of attorney form on your behalf.
- State exam: You will need to successfully complete a state examination which is administered either online or at the Board Office in Little Rock. The test is offered the second and fourth week of each month, online on Tuesday and Thursday or in person on Wednesday. The exam carries a $25 registration fee. To pass this exam you need to score at least 70%.
Application Process in Arkansas
- License Application: When you have gathered all of your information, you’ll submit your application, which carries a $125 fee. It’s important to note that this fee includes your exam fee, and the application is submitted before you take the exam.
- Licensure: Once you have submitted your application and passed the exam, you will be awarded licensure as a bail bond agent. This license is good for one year, with renewal required by December 31 annually. This renewal costs $100, and every year at least 6 hours of continuing education is required.
Degrees related to Bounty Hunters
Those wishing to become licensed bondsmen in Arkansas often pursue bachelor’s or associate’s degrees in other fields to supplement their training. These degrees include (among others) economics, finance, sociology, criminology, psychology and criminal justice.
Major Cities in Arkansas
There are several large cities in Arkansas where licensed bondsmen are familiar sights. These include the state capital of Little Rock and the cities of Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Jonesboro and North Little Rock. These and other large cities and towns across the state are your best bet to find work as a licensed bondsman in Arkansas
Specific Duties of Bounty Hunters in Arkansas
Licensed bondsmen track down bail jumpers and return them to justice. In order to perform these duties, a bondsman must be trained in search and seizure, must always inform local law enforcement agents of their activities and information about the fugitive you’re chasing. Finally, you must have a certified copy of the bond, and the fugitive must be delivered to officials in the county of the original offense.
Private Investigators are very closely related to licensed bondsmen and the two professions share similar skills. In addition, in Arkansas, Peace Officers also perform similar duties, hunting fugitives down and bringing them to justice. Finally, process servers who file legal paperwork and serve documents for courts are related professions.
Employment Numbers in Arkansas
Employment numbers in Arkansas for licensed bondsmen are not tracked by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Judging numbers off of Private Investigators, a similar profession, it is estimated that jobs in this field will grow by about 5% over the next seven years.
Salary Ranges in Arkansas
Again, basing the estimates off of the average salaries for private investigators we find an average salary across the state of just over $50,000 per year, while in the Fayetteville metro area, the salary on average hovers at nearly $57,000 annually.