In Florida, it is a felony to present yourself as a “bounty hunter,” but you may work as a bail bond agent if properly licensed. In the state, the work of bail bond agents is regulated by the Florida Department of Financial Services (FLCFO), as bail bonding is a type of insurance. Continue reading to learn more about the qualifications and requirements for licensure for bail bond agents in Florida.
The Florida Division of Insurance offers three licenses for bail bond agents:
You must first hold a license as a temporary bail bond agent before applying for licensure as a professional or limited bail bond agent. All bail bond agents except for temporary bond agents may execute and sign bonds, manage collateral receipts, deliver bonds and defendants to jail, and operate bail bond agencies. Professional bail bond agents are licensed to use their own money as security for bail bonds set forth by the court, whereas limited surety agents are appointed by insurers.
Continue reading to learn the process for obtaining licensure as a bail bond agent in Florida.
A temporary bail bond agent license allows a person to work as a bail bond agent under supervision and gain the required experience to become a fully licensed professional. Individuals who wish to obtain a temporary license must:
If you meet these basic qualifications, you can follow the steps below to become licensed.
To meet Florida’s education requirements for bail bond agents, you must first complete the 30-hour Bail Bond Agent Pre-Licensure course, which is offered online through the University of Florida. You must then take the 120-hour, state-required bail bond course from an approved provider, passing with a grade of 80% or higher. All education must be completed within four years of applying to become a licensed temporary bail bond agent.
Once you have completed the educational requirements, you and your supervising bail bond agent must file an affidavit under oath verifying that you are currently employed full-time as a bail bond agent. Your temporary license will be contingent on remaining employed by your supervising agent, who must file monthly affidavits testifying to your hours.
Temporary bail bond agents must apply to the Division of Insurance Agent and Agency Service. Along with the application, you must submit three notarized personal recommendation statements, a photograph that shows your full face, the bail bond appointment form, the $90 license fee, and a $50 application fee (as of April 2022).
Temporary bail bond agents must be fingerprinted by the fingerprint vendor IdentoGO, which assesses a fee of $48.05 plus tax (fees may vary by county).*
Within 20 days after you finish your pre-licensing courses, the education provider will send the agency proof that you passed.
Once you complete the steps above, you will receive your temporary bail bond agent license. The temporary license is valid for 18 months. Once you complete one year (12 months) of full-time work experience (at least 1,540 hours), you may apply for a bail bond agent license.
Once you have held a temporary bail bond agent license for a year and have acquired 1,540 hours of work experience, you may apply to become a licensed resident limited surety (bail bond) agent or a professional bail bond agent. Unlike limited surety agents, professional bail bond agents pledge their own funds as security for a bail bond. Once you meet the age and background qualifications stated above, you must complete the following steps to become a licensed agent.
All bail bond agent applicants must apply for licensure and pay the $50 application fee and the $80 bail bond agent fee (as of April 2022). In addition to the completed application and license fees, you must submit:
Individuals applying to become licensed professional bail bond agents must also submit:
All bail bonds agents must be fingerprinted and pay the $48.55 fingerprinting fee (as of April 2022).
Limited and professional bail bond agents must pass the Florida Insurance Licensing Exam. You must have approval from the Agency prior to sitting for the exam. For bail bond agents, the exam is a 60-question, one-hour exam. Candidates may take the exam five times within a 12-month period. Candidates must answer 70% of questions correctly to pass. If you fail the exam three times, you must retake the 120-hour approved basic criminal justice certification course. As of April 2022, the state exam cost $44.
After completing the above steps, you will become a licensed bail bond agent in the state of Florida. In order for your license to be valid, you must be appointed by the Agency. Unappointed licenses will expire after four years.
Bail bond agents must complete 14 hours of continuing education (CE) every two years by the end of the licensee’s birth month. CE credits must include four hours of law and ethics and 10 hours of elective credits.