Arkansas Bounty Hunter Guide: Requirements and Steps
The state of Arkansas, with a population of 3 million people, has a commercial bail system in place that allows for the profession of fugitive recovery.1 However, the use of the titles “bounty hunter” and “bail enforcement agent” are prohibited in the state. Other than law enforcement, only licensed bail bond agents may apprehend a fugitive who has skipped bail. In this situation, bail bond agents, or bondsmen, use their skills and resources to locate and return fugitives or “skips” who have failed to show up in court. Bail bond agents in Arkansas must be licensed by the Arkansas Professional Bail Bondsman Licensing Board (APBBLB). Those who have an interest in becoming a bail agent in Arkansas must understand the requirements imposed by the APBBLB and the steps to licensure.
Table of Contents
- Bail Bond Agent Requirements
- Steps to a Career
- Related Careers
- Training and Education Options
- Finding Work
- Salary and Job Outlook
- Bail Bond Agent Resources
Requirements for Prospective Bail Bond Agents in Arkansas
If you hope to become a bail bond agent in Arkansas, you must meet the following criteria:
- Be a citizen of the US or resident alien
- Be at least 21 years of age
- Have no felony convictions and no convictions for crimes of moral turpitude
Once you meet these qualifications, you can begin completing the steps to licensure for a bail bond agent in Arkansas.
Steps to a Career as a Bail Bond Agent in Arkansas
In Arkansas, the APBBLB administers bail agent licenses to ensure that bondsmen understand the law and complete an acceptable training program. To become a bail bond agent in Arkansas, you must follow these steps:
1. Secure an employment offer from a licensed bail bond company.
In order to operate as a bail bond agent in Arkansas, you must have an employment agreement with a state-licensed bail bond company. This is because bail bond agents may not act independently in the state. Instead, the employing bail bond company will issue the bail bond agent a Power of Attorney to act on its behalf for bail bond recovery. This documentation must be included with your application, and as a result, you must have an employment offer to begin the required training, which is the next step.
2. Complete the required training.
Prospective bail agents must complete eight hours of pre-licensing training through a state-approved provider. Prices for training courses may vary, but the course will include Arkansas law relating to arrest and bail, interviewing techniques, the legality of search and seizure, and skip tracing. You may want to supplement this training with a formal education in criminal justice or legal studies.
2. Complete the application.
Once you complete the training you must submit the application for bail bond agent licensure. You will need to undergo a criminal background check and submit your fingerprints at the Arkansas Police Headquarters. With your application, you must submit:
- A company statement from a licensed bail bond company certifying that you will work for the company
- A personal reference form signed by three individuals who you can vouch for your character
- A power of attorney form issued by your bail bond company
- An Arkansas individual records check form
- An FBI release form
- The $125 fee which includes the application and examination fees (as of July 2022)
3. Take and pass the examination.
All bail bond agents in Arkansas must take and pass a written state examination. The exam is offered electronically on the second and fourth Tuesday and Thursday of the month and at the APBBLB (101 E Capitol, Ste 117, Little Rock, AR) on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month. You must make an appointment to take the exam in person, and through either testing route, you must score 70% or higher to pass. You may retake the exam as many times as needed to pass, but you must pass within one year.
4. Receive your license.
After completing the three steps above, once your application is approved you will become a licensed bail bond agent in the state of Arkansas. Bail agents must renew their license every year on or before December 1. As of October 2022, professional bail bond companies must pay $1,000 to renew their license and for individual bail agents it costs $100. Those who miss the deadline face escalating penalties, up to and including a requirement to restart the licensure process from step one. You must complete six hours of continuing education from an approved provided in order to renew your license.
Bail bond agents may supplement their income by working in fields related to fugitive recovery. Two of those include working as a private investigator (PI) or a process server. Each state has different requirements for PIs and process servers; to learn more about both professions and to learn specific Arkansas requirements continue reading below.
Private Investigator/ Private Detective
Private investigators (PIs) work for clients to find information on personal, financial, or criminal matters. Private investigators in Arkansas are licensed by the Arkansas State Police. In Arkansas, private investigators must:
- Be at least 21 years of age
- Have no felony convictions, convictions of class A misdemeanors, or convictions for crimes involving moral turpitude
- Be a US citizen or resident alien
- Have a bachelor’s degree and at least five years of law enforcement experience
- Take and pass the exam
- Pay the required fees of $486.25 (as of July 2022)
For consideration to become a private investigator, submit an application to Arkansas State Police.
Another way bail agents may supplement their income is by working as process servers. As a process server, individuals work for the court system to file legal papers, serve documents to parties involved in a lawsuit, and retrieve documents when needed. Process servers in Arkansas must be appointed by the Arkansas Judicial Court. To be appointed, you must:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Possess a valid driver’s license
- Be a US citizen or resident alien
For an application or more information, visit the Arkansas Judiciary website.
Training and Education Options in Arkansas
To supplement your bail bond agent training and support your career, look into obtaining an associate degree or certificate in criminal justice. A degree in criminal justice will enhance your understanding of the criminal justice system, improve your interviewing skills, and help you understand and help to resolve problems that you may encounter out in the field. Having a formal education will also show potential employers that you take your career seriously. Below we have identified some schools in Arkansas that offer associate degrees in criminal justice and related fields.
Arkansas State University-Beebe
1000 W Iowa St
Beebe, AR 72012
National Park College
101 College Dr
Hot Springs, AR 71913
University of Arkansas-Fort Smith
5210 Grand Ave
Fort Smith, AR 72904
Bail bond agents should have a plan to secure work. Finding an apprenticeship program as a bail bond agent can help you learn more about the job and find a bail bond company that may hire you. If you don’t already have one, consider finding a mentor who can provide you with advice on searching for work as a bail bond agent. By joining a bail bond association, you can grow your network and find new leads on jobs. There are six bail bond agents in Arkansas that are members of the Professional Bail Agents of the US (PBUS).
Featured Bail Agents in Arkansas
Below is a listing of well-known, large, and/or highly-rated bail bond agencies in Arkansas to help you find job opportunities.
1st Arkansas Bail Bonds
2650 S School Ave
Fayetteville, AR 72701
Bryce’s Bail Bonding
101 S Church St
Jonesboro, AR 72401
First Step Bail Bonds
3600 W Roosevelt Rd
Little Rock, AR 72204
Triple R Bail Bonds
984 Ash Flat Dr N
Ash Flat, AR 72513
For even more bail bond agents in Arkansas, use the Member Search tool on the PBUS website.
Bail Bond Agent Salary and Outlook in Arkansas
Salary data is not provided for bail bond agents by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Because the careers of bail bond agents and private investigators are similar, we use the private investigator data as a proxy. There were an estimated 170 private investigators employed in Arkansas in 2021, with an average annual salary of $81,280.2 This was substantially above the national average salary for private investigators in 2021, at $60,970.3 The BLS projects that jobs for private investigators will decrease by 5.6% in Arkansas through 2030, though nationally, jobs for private investigators are expected to increase by 13.1% through 2030.3
|City or Metropolitan Area||Number Employed2||Average Annual Salary2||Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO||100||$87,760|
Joining professional associations may be beneficial to your bail agent career.
- Arkansas Professional Bail Association (APBA): Provides legal resources and networking opportunities.
1. US Census Bureau Quick Facts, Arkansas: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/AR/PST045221
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021, Arkansas: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ar.htm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021, Private Investigators: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes339021.htm
4. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm