If you’re looking for a job in the bail bonds industry – specifically as a bail bondsman or bail agent – the place to start in Maryland is the Maryland Insurance Commission. This is the agency within the state that regulates the insurance industry in the state of Maryland, including (obviously) surety bonds. Bail bonds are a type of surety bond, and thus fall under the purview of this agency. Note that the “glamorization” of the bail bonds industry has made the term “bounty hunter” popular – it’s perfectly accurate to describe a bail bondsman as a bounty hunter, but it’s very much worth noting that acting as a bounty hunter is not the only job of the bail agent. It is, instead, a sub-set of the duties that a bail bondsman will have.
Maryland law specifically states that in order to be a bail agent the following obligations must be met:
In Maryland, each bail bondsmen must obtain a certificate of qualification to act as a property and casualty insurance agent, and obtain an appointment from an insurer licensed to conduct the business of surety in Maryland. The bail bondsman as a licensed insurance agent is subject to the entire Insurance article in the ACM. Bail bondsmen who pledge property instead of surety are under the jurisdiction of the District Court of Maryland, and are defined by COMAR as “property bondsmen.”
Additionally, the following points are important to becoming a bail bondsman:
- Be of good character and trustworthy,
- Have some knowledge of bail insurance,
- For three years preceding application, have at least one year as an employee of a bail agent/insurer,
- Pass the examination given by the Commissioner.
- Under certain conditions the above can be waived by the Commissioner.
How to Become a Bail Bondsman in Maryland
Broken down into simpler language, here is what one must do to become a bail agent in Maryland:
- Work for a bail agent, bail bondsman, or bail insurer for at least one year
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Apply for a license*
- Have good moral character and no criminal record
- Exhibit knowledge of bail insurance/bonds
- Pass the mandatory Maryland qualifying examination
- Post a surety bond in Maryland – $10,000
- Take continuing education (CE) classes to maintain license
*Applications are available from the Maryland Insurance Administration:
200 St. Paul Place, Suite 2700, Baltimore, MD 21202
Tel: 410-468-2000 or 1-800-492-6116
How Much Do Bail Bondsmen Make?
This is variable. If you’re going to work in the office of another bail agent – for example, as a bail agent dedicated to being a bounty hunter – you could make as little as $30,000 per year. For those operating a business on their own, there is a wide range of possibilities, from the starting salary range of around $30,000 to six figures.