You may want to consider becoming a bail bondsman if you like the idea of an exciting career in the field of criminal justice. In states like Ohio, a bail bondsman acts as a _surety bail bond agen_t. An agent provides an insurance policy to the court that covers the cost of bail if the accused defendant fails to appear for court hearings. You can launch your career by completing a short training program, passing the Ohio bail bond agent licensing exam, and applying for your state license.
What Does a Surety Bond Agent Do?
Surety bail bond agents work through a surety insurance or bail bond company to arrange bail for those who are strapped for cash. Friends and family may have to co-sign, put up collateral, and remind the accused of court appearances to protect their collateral. Failure to appear results in added court costs and an arrest warrant being issued. The agent charges 10 percent of the bail amount for services.
Ohio Bail Bondsman Requirements
For starters, you must be a resident of Ohio to work as a surety bail bond agent in this state. You must take approved pre-licensing education bail bondsman classes that include exams on your understanding of the material. A bail bondsman should be respectful, nonjudgmental and committed to outstanding customer service. You must be willing to drop everything and drive to the jail at all hours of the day and night to handle a client’s bail and expedite his or her release from jail.
Complete Bail Bondsman Classes
The State of Ohio maintains an approved list of schools and organizations that offer bail bond pre-licensing education that leads to a course completion certificate. The state requires 20 hours of training to ensure that individuals in this profession are competent and possess the knowledge necessary for the job. The Ohio surety bail bond examination must be taken within 180 calendar days of earning a certificate.
The Advantage Education Group offers a 20-hour pre-licensing surety bond course that can be completed in just one weekend of classroom instruction. Online self-study options are available, too. The curriculum covers licensing requirements, Ohio statutes, bond posting, collateral, agent liability, ethical practices and bail recovery. You will receive a course completion certificate, which is needed as part of the Ohio surety bond application process.
Take the Bail Bond Agent Licensing Exam
The surety bail bond exam is administered through PSI Services LLC. Instructions for scheduling an exam and locating nationwide testing centers can be found on the PSI Services website. Ohio bail bonds practice test questions are also available from the company. You will need two signed forms of identification on the day of testing and your reservation confirmation number.
Submit Licensing Application
After completing bail bond pre-licensing training and passing the surety bail bond exam, you can electronically submit the Individual Title Agent License Application with the Ohio Department of Insurance. A state and federal background check through WebCheck and fingerprints are also required. Once your license is approved, contact PSI Services to obtain a photo ID wallet card showing that you are a surety bail bond agent. You must carry your wallet card whenever you are working in the capacity of a bail bondsman in Ohio.
Retain Current License
Ohio bail bondsmen requirements include completion of annual continuing education (CE) requirements. You cannot legally continue working as a surety bail bond agent if your license lapses or you fail to fulfill professional development obligations by the February renewal date. Ohio statutes require a minimum of seven hours of approved instruction, including one hour of mandatory ethics training.
The Ohio State Bail Bond Association offers state-approved online continuing education credits for currently licensed surety bond agents. For instance, OSBBA offers six CE hours of “Rules & Laws: What Bail Agents Must Know” and one CE hour for “Bail Agents and Ethics at the Courthouse."