How to become

How to become a bail bondsman in North Carolina

How to become a bail bondsman in North Carolina


Estimates say the bail bond industry pulls in over $2 billion a year in revenue. Sounds like a lucrative business to be involved in, right? It very much is.

A person cannot become a bail bondsman on their own. Many states, North Carolina being one of them, require a specific bail bondsman license.

There is a process involved in becoming a bail bondsman you need to know about before you begin your career.

If you’re interested in the bail bonds industry, read on to learn more about it and the North Carolina licensing process.

What Are Bail Bonds?

You’ve seen the storefronts. They’re often very close to county jails and other detention centers. They’re open 24 hours a day and offer bail bonds to those who need them.

If you’ve never been arrested or are not intimate with the American judicial system and legal process, you might not know what a bail bond is. Here are the specifics.

When a person is arrested, most are not detained indefinitely. For many arrests, a bail amount is set for release. These numbers are in the thousands of dollars, and many citizens cannot afford the bail price out of pocket.

A bail bond secures release from detention if a judge deems a defendant eligible for bail release. It is a contract that states the bail bonds service agrees to pay the full bail amount if the defendant does not show up for their court date.

In order to receive this agreement from a bail bondsman, you’ll pay an upfront fee. Some bond services charge 15% of the total bail amount, plus collateral. Common forms of collateral include expensive electronics and real estate.

How Much Does a Bail Bond Cost?

A bail bondsman will pay your bail for you, but that doesn’t mean they will do it for free. You will have to pay the bail bonds company fee for posting bail on your behalf. This amount is usually 15% in North Carolina. 

However, you might be able to get a lower percentage rate than that. It depends on the specifics of your case, including: 

  • Your criminal history 
  • The nature of your crime 
  • Your character 
  • The total bail amount 


You will also likely need a cosigner to sign the agreement with you. This cosigner will be responsible for paying the fee if you don’t. If you have a good-quality cosigner, your chances of getting a reduced percentage rate are higher than normal. 

But how much money are we talking about, exactly?

Let’s say your total bail amount is $10,000. You’ll have to pay 15% of that amount to the bail bondsman, so you’ll end up paying $1,500 to get out of jail. 

Minor crimes have much smaller bail amounts than this, so the fee will be much lower. 

How Do Bond Services Profit?

It’s a simple route to profit from bail bonds. If you secure a bond, pay the 15% plus collateral, and show up for all your court dates, the court dissolves the bond. After a bond’s resolution, the bond service returns the collateral but keeps the 15%.

The average bond amount for felonies in the United States is $10,000. That means for every resolved felony bond, a bondsman keeps $1,500 in profit.

That’s for a felony. Misdemeanors and civil arrests carry bond amounts as well.

If there is a bond issue where the defendant does not show up for court, the bondsman must pay the court the full amount of the bond. The bondsman will use the 15% plus the collateral to pay the court.

Bail Bondsman Requirements : 7 Steps To Get Your License In North Carolina

Have you ever wondered what it takes to become a bail bondsman? Among other requirements, a bail bondsman in North Carolina needs a license. Get Started on Your Bail Bondsman Requirements! 

There’s always a need for bail bondsmen. Get started on your bail bondsman requirements so you can begin your career in the industry.

Bail bondsmen have a unique role in the criminal justice system. They help post bond money to release people from jail. They also help track people down if they fail to appear in court or honor the terms of their release on bail. 

If that sounds like the perfect career for you, it’s time to get your license. Here are seven steps to meet the bail bondsman requirements for your license. 

1. You Must Meet the License Requirements

Make sure you understand the requirements of becoming a bail bondsman before you move forward in the process of qualifying as a bondsman. 

If you fail to meet these requirements, it’s not worth your time and money to pursue this career. A bail bondsman must:

  • Be a resident in North Carolina for at least six consecutive months before applying for a bail bondsman or bail bond runner license
  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have a high school diploma (or the equivalent)
  • Have knowledge, training, or experience and competency necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of a licensed bondsman
  • Have no outstanding bail bond obligations
  • Have no current or prior violations of Article 71 of Chapter 58 or Article 26 of Chapter 15A of the North Carolina General Statutes
  • Not be disqualified in North Carolina or any other state to participate in bail bonds in any capacity
  • Hold a valid and current North Carolina driver’s license or identification card issued by the Division of Motor Vehicles

If you meet these requirements, you could be a good candidate for your bail bondsman license!

2. You Can’t Be in Law Enforcement

To avoid conflicts of interest, you can’t be a bail bondsman if you already participate in the legal system. 

This conflict excludes:

  • Police officers
  • Sheriffs or Deputies
  • Lawyers
  • Jailers
  • Parole Officers
  • Other roles with influence on criminal justice

Being a bail bondsman is an excellent way to get involved in the criminal justice system. However, you can’t be in law enforcement at the time of your application or while you serve as a bondsman. 

3. You Must Take a Pre-Licensing Course

Once you have your documentation to verify you meet the requirements listed above, you’ll need that information to register for the required pre-licensing course. 

The course takes place over two days and costs between $400 and $500. You can usually register online for the course location that’s most convenient to you in North Carolina. 

4. You Must Apply

After you finish the pre-license course, you’re ready to apply for your license as a bail bondsman! Don’t delay this process after you’ve completed your course—your eligibility expires after six months. 

Once you have successfully completed the bail bondsman class, you will be eligible to apply for a North Carolina bail bonds license. Additionally, you will need to set up an account through the North Carolina Department of Insurance’s website (NC License Management System) in order for you to apply for your initial license online.

While logged in to the management system, you will be able to send your supervisor bail agent an invite link in order for him/her to approve it. This process can be further explained by your supervisor.

Be sure you apply for the type of license you want. Each license serves a different role in the bail bond process. 


A bail bond runner assists a professional bail bondsman. You’ll help get a defendant to court or apprehend a defendant as-needed. You might also keep a defendant under surveillance and execute bonds on behalf of your bondsman as allowed. 

The license fee for a bail bond runner is typically lower than the fee to be a professional bondsman. You won’t be able to act as a fully licensed bondsman, but you’ll get good exposure to the world of bonds and bail. 


A professionally licensed bondsman can operate in the full capacity of the role. You’ll offer cash or security to defendants by following court requirements. 

You’re also responsible for the defendant (or recovering a defendant) while they are out on bond. 


A Surety Bail Bondsman works on behalf of an insurer. You’ll receive power of attorney to execute or countersign bail bonds. 

Along with the fee for the license, you’ll pay an exam fee to take your bail bondsman exam. 

5. You Must Pass a Fingerprint Check

Along with proving your residency in North Carolina and your eligibility to be a bail bondsman, you’ll have to clear a background check. 

After you’ve completed your license application and paid your fees, you’ll have access to the online system where you can find an approved location for your fingerprinting. Send your fingerprints, the appropriate forms, and your fingerprint fee to the Bail Bond Regulatory at the NCDOI (North Carolina Department of Insurance).

Every applicant of a bail bondsman license is required to complete a fingerprint background check. You can find the following by visiting the North Carolina Licensing Management System: Surety Bail Bondsman new license application, and the fingerprint release submission form that need to be filled out in order for you to complete the process correctly.  Fingerprinting is what takes the longest to process. Therefore, it is always best to get this done way in advance, even before class, in order to expedite your license application.

When you go to a local law enforcement that has Live Scan electronic fingerprint services, you need to make sure to bring all the completed forms with you.

6. You Must Pass an Exam

You’ve learned what you need to learn from the pre-license course. After you’ve paid your application fee, cleared the fingerprint background check, and the state accepts your application, it’s time to take (and pass) the bail bondsman licensing exam. 

You’ll take your exam at a testing facility. Once you pass the exam, they’ll take your photograph for identification with your license. 

After your license application is processed (processing about 30-45 days), you will receive an approval letter via email that will be valid for 30 days.  With this letter you will be able to schedule your final exam.  In order for you to take the bail bond exam, you will need to pay an exam fee of $40.

If you fail the test the first time, you can retake it. However, you must wait for one year from your prior test date before you can retake the exam. Keep in mind that you might need to retake the pre-licensing course to stay eligible for the exam. 

7. You’ll Work Under a Supervising Bail Bondsman

After you receive your license, it’s time to get a job! All first-year licensees must work for one year under a supervising bail bondsman. 

Joining a professional team like Amistad Bail Bonds is the best way to gain experience and establish yourself as a quality bail bondsman. 

Bail Bondsman Salary in North Carolina

The average Bail Bondsman salary in North Carolina is $40,427 as of June 28, 2022, but the range typically falls between $36,785 and $45,161. 

In addition to any salary they may earn, bail bondsmen also make a significant portion of revenue from percentage fees associated with their clients’ original bail amount- usually at least 10 percent. These earnings are not included with the following annual entry-level salary figures:

  • Statewide $23,000
  • Charlotte $24,000
  • Raleigh $22,000
  • Greensboro $20,000
  • Durham $22,000
  • Winston-Salem $19,000
  • Fayetteville $23,000
  • Cary $22,000
  • High Point $20,000
  • Wilmington $23,000

Salary Supplementation

These salary numbers provided do not paint a complete picture of the earning power of a bounty hunter and bail bondsman in North Carolina. To have an idea of total earnings it is necessary to factor in:

Bail bondsman:

  • Bail percentage commission
  • Tax credits and deductions
  • Any additional fees associated with flight risk or extra services


1. What Is a Bail Bond?

A bail bond is the price you pay to be released from jail before your trial and after your arrest.

But it is more than that. It’s financial collateral to prove that you will cooperate with authorities and appear at your court dates in the future.

2. What Other Terms of a Bail Bond Are There Besides Showing Up for Court?

The main condition of your bond is that you appear in court.

However, depending on the crime, there may be other conditions associated with your bail. This may mean you cannot leave the state or the country. It also may mean you cannot use illicit substances or drink until your trial is over.

You may also be subject to drug testing or may be required to wear an ankle monitor, depending on the nature of your arrest. You may also be legally required to stay away from your alleged victim, especially in the case of domestic violence.

3. What Happens If I Violate My Bail Conditions?

Typically, there is a zero tolerance policy for violating bail conditions.

In a scenario where you attend all the court dates and comply with everything the court has asked of you, you will receive the money you paid for your bail back.

If you do not comply with the rules, the money will be forfeited and you will not receive any of it.

4. Can a Third Party Create Bail Conditions for Me?


If you had someone co-sign a bail bond because you could not pay it or you could not obtain a loan, they can require extra stipulations. This may be that you get a job, work at your family’s business, or stay away from a certain individual.

If you do not comply with these rules, you will be responsible for the sum of the bail.

5. Will a Co-Signer Be Responsible for the Bail Bond If I Do Not Comply with Court Orders?

Yes. This is why one should exercise caution when deciding to co-sign a bail bond loan. Co-signing a bail bond loan basically states that you vouch for the individual and can guarantee he or she will comply with the courts.

A co-signer is also responsible for turning in the accused if he or she flees after paying the bond.

However, if you do not comply with the extra conditions the co-signer set out, you will become responsible for the loan.

6. What Happens If I Can’t Afford Bail?

Bail bondsmen exist to solve that exact issue. You can visit a bail bondsman to take out a loan for the sum of your bail.

Typically, you’ll be responsible for at least 10% of your bail above $1,000, in what is known as a surety. You will then use collateral to apply to the rest of the bail bond, such as your home or car.

You will pay back the loan with interest from your own pocket if you fail to comply with court orders. Or, they can collect on your collateral.

If you do comply with court orders, the money will be released back to you, minus the 10% surety. In that case, you will be responsible for the interest the loan accrued while you were awaiting trial.

A bail bondsman must be licensed in the state of North Carolina.

7. What Happens If I Can’t Afford Bail and Can’t Get a Loan?

In this case, you’ll be in jail until your trial. You may only be released if you’re able to make bail, either by paying yourself, getting a loan, or having another person co-sign for you.

You’ll only be released once the court is satisfied that you have either not committed the crime or that you have served your sentence.

8. Who Sets the Bail Amount?

The court will set the amount for your bail. Typically, the amount will coincide with your crime. More serious crimes will have much higher bails.

In some cases, there are crimes that are so serious that the court will not set a bail. In that case, you may be held without bail until your trial date.

9. What Do I Do If I Need to Change the Conditions of My Bail?

Sometimes, this happens. For example, your bail conditions may say that you cannot leave your state. But, you may find out that your father is dying two states away and you would like to see him before he passes.

In cases like these, you should always consult the court or the bail bondsman. Do not just saunter off thinking they won’t catch you. You could very well find yourself in a world of trouble if you do get caught while on your way, in another state, or on your way back.

Sometimes, the court or bondsman will grant you the ability to change the condition of your bail for special circumstances. This is typical if they feel satisfied that you won’t use the opportunity to flee from your trial.

Getting Arrested in North Carolina

Getting arrested can be a scary and traumatic experience. However, if you know your rights, things can go much more smoothly. It’s also easier if you know the answer to the question, “What is a bail bond?” and how to obtain it.

If you would like more information on bail bonds, contact us here. We may be able to help you, or a loved one, get the bail needed to gain freedom until trial. We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

How much do bail bondsmen make in NC?

The ranges between $37,114 and $45,565.

How do you get a bail bond license in NC?

Meet licensing requirements, Enroll in a PLE course, Application Electronic, official test, Get your license for bail bonding.

How does a bail bondsman work in NC?

An amount of cash given to the court.

Can a felon be a bondsman in NC?

Shall not have any prior felonies.

Bail bondsman application

Bail bondsman with surety, Licensed Bail Bondsman, Forms for Additional Bail Bondsmen, Forms & Applications for CE Providers.

How much money do you need to be a bail bondsman?

The bare minimum that you often need is $15k.

Bail bondsman certification classes

Register, then take the pre-licensing education course, submit the application, finish the affidavit, pass the licensure exam, and get your fingerprints taken.

How long does it take to become a bail bondsman?

Complete the required 40 hours of entry-level training and pass the board-required bail bondsman exam.