Florida is one of the most fascinating states in the entire country. In 2014, it become the third most populous state in the nation, edging past New York. Saint Augustine, one of Florida’s most recognizable towns, is also the oldest European settlement in the entire continent of North America.
Florida has the longest coastline of any state in the U.S., stretching a whopping 1,350 miles. Because Florida is so large, it’s very easy for criminals to slip through the cracks, which is why many people in Florida consider a career as a bounty hunter.
However, in Florida, you are not legally allowed to market yourself as a “bounty hunter”. Instead, you must become a bail bond agent that is licensed by the state. Bail bond agents have the exact same responsibilities as bounty hunters, including apprehending criminals who have run out on their bail.
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Becoming a Bounty Hunter in Florida
To work as a bail bond agent in Florida, you will need to acquire a license, which is regulated by the Division of Insurance Agent and Agency Services. Once you acquire your license, you will be entitled to perform the basic duties of a bond agent, including arresting criminals. Florida offers three different bail bond licenses: Temporary Bail Bond Agent License, Limited Surety Bail Bond Agent License and Professional Bail Bond Agent License.
- Education: For a temporary license, you will need 120 hours of study in a state approved criminal justice certification program. Also, you must complete a correspondence course from the University of Florida. Your educational training must be completed in less than four years.
- Age: Anyone applying for a bail bond license in Florida must be at least 18 years of age.
- Degree: No degree is required.
- Experience: No experience is required for a Temporary license. Before applying for a Limited or Professional license, however, you must have completed 1,540 hours of work as a bond agent.
- Citizenship: You must be a citizen of the U.S. or an alien legally allowed to work in the country. You must also be a resident of Florida.
- Oaths and Employment: Temporary Bond Agents are required to file an affidavit under oath that demonstrates they are working as a bond agent. Temporary agents must also be employed under the supervision of a fully licensed agent.
- Criminal Record: Bond agents in Florida cannot have any felonies on their record. They also cannot have committed a crime that resulted in more than a year of incarceration. Every bond agent will be fingerprinted for a $48.55 fee.
- Exam: Those applying for a Limited or Professional license must sit for a pass the Florida Insurance Licensing Exam. A passing grade is 70%. You may take the exam five times in one year, but if you fail three times, you will need to re-complete the 120 hours of criminal justice certification. The exam costs $42.
Florida Application Process
To apply for any license level of bond agent in Florida, you will need to submit an application with the Division of Insurance Agent and Agency Service. Application fees for all license levels are $50. For a Temporary license, you will need to pay a $90 license fee; for Limited and Professional licenses, an $80 bond agent fee is required.
Each license level also requires that you submit three notarized letters attesting to your character and a photograph ID. Anyone pursuing a Professional license also needs to submit a financial statement form and a bail bond rate plan.
Your Temporary license will last 18 months. To maintain Limited and Professional licenses, you will need to complete 14 hours of continuing education every two years.
Careers Related to Being a Bond Agent
There are many career opportunities in Florida that are similar to those of a bond agent. The most common is a private investigator or a private detective. Another similar career is a process server. Basically, any area related to law enforcement is valuable to a career as a bond agent.
Degrees for Florida Bond Agents
There is no specific degree related to being a Florida bond agent. However, continuing education is marketable for any career. To become a more effective bond agent, you might study criminal justice, human psychology and law enforcement techniques.
Duties of a Bond Agent
The primary duty of a bond agent in Florida is to find and apprehend criminals who have skipped out on bail. Florida bond agents are entitled to arrest bail skippers and are then able to return them to the proper authorities.
Major Cities in Florida
Florida is home to some of the most popular cities in the country. Orlando, for example, features several theme parks that receive thousands of visitors every year. The Miami area is distinguished as the only city that features two National Parks making it a great vacation destination.
Florida Bond Agent Employment
Unfortunately, the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not release information on how many people are employed as bounty hunters or bond agents. However, despite this fact, employment opportunities for bond agents in Florida are on the rise. It is estimated that the career will grow by 12% from now to the year 2022. This will translate to 90 jobs per annum.
Bond Agent Salaries
Although not as competitive as other states, bond agents in Florida can earn a fairly impressive salary. The average salary for a Florida bond agent in 2014 was $43,170.