North Carolina Bounty Hunter Guide: Requirements and Steps

    North Carolina has more than 10.5 million residents and allows the practice of bail fugitive recovery, known in some other states as “bounty hunting.”1 In North Carolina, using the title “bounty hunter” is prohibited, but the North Carolina Department of Insurance (NCDOI) issues licenses for bail bond runners. Bail bond runners use investigation, research, and planning to locate and apprehend fugitives who have skipped town for a fee, generally a portion of their bail, similar to what a bounty hunter does in other states. If chasing fugitives across the state sounds like an exciting and rewarding career, continue reading to learn more about the licensure process in the state of North Carolina.

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    Requirements for Prospective Bail Bond Runners in North Carolina

    Before you can apply to become a licensed bail bond runner in North Carolina, you must meet the minimum standards imposed by the NCDOI. You must:

    • Be at least 21 years of age
    • Possess a high school diploma or GED
    • Have been a resident of North Carolina for at least six consecutive months prior to applying for a license
    • Have a valid North Carolina driver’s license or state-issued ID
    • Have no felony convictions nor outstanding bail bond obligations
    • Have sufficient skills, training, and knowledge to carry out the duties of a bail bond runner in North Carolina

    Steps to a Career as a Bail Bond Runner in North Carolina

    After satisfying the requirements stated above, follow the steps below to become licensed in North Carolina. You will need supervised training, a passing score on the exam, and a successful background check to become licensed. You may also refer to the state’s Licensing Examination Bail Bond Candidate Guide for more information about the process.

    1. Complete the required education.

    Bail bond runners in North Carolina are required by the Department to complete 12 hours of education from an approved pre-licensing education (PLE) provider. The North Carolina Bail Agents Association (NCBAA) and the NC Bail Academy are approved to provide these bail agent training programs. Costs for the required training are set by the training provider, but can range from $400 to $600.

    2. Identify a supervisor.

    The NCDOI requires first-year bail bond runners to be supervised by a licensed bail bondsman. You must be supervised for 12 months, and the supervision must include a Power of Attorney Appointment of Bail Bond Runner that gives you the legal authority to act on behalf of your employing agent. Your supervisor should be identified before applying for licensure, and the completed power of attorney must be submitted with your online application. If you are unable to find a supervisor, you must submit an affidavit to the NCDOI detailing why you were unable to find a willing supervisor. The NCDOI will review the circumstances to determine whether to permit you to work as an unsupervised bail bond runner.

    3. Submit an application.

    Once you have identified a supervisor and completed the PLE, you may submit an application for licensure as a bail bond runner online. As of May 2022, the fee for a runner’s license in North Carolina was $231. Runner license applicants must complete fingerprinting and a criminal background check. During the online application process, a list of fingerprinting vendors will be provided. No additional fees are required for fingerprinting. Your application must include:

    • A certificate of completion for your PLE course
    • A copy of your driver’s license
    • Electronic fingerprints (via an approved vendor)
    • Two documents with proof of your address
    • Power of attorney from a licensed professional bail bondsman
    • High school diploma (or GED) or a certified copy of your high school transcript

    Proof of address can be provided by showing your listed North Carolina address on any two of the following documents:

    • A pay stub
    • A utility bill
    • A lease agreement or contract for purchase (for real property)
    • A personal or real property tax receipt paid to a North Carolina municipality
    • A monthly or quarterly statement for any financial account held by the applicant

    Your bail runner’s application will remain valid for six months. If all of your supporting documentation has not been received within six months of applying, the application will be voided and you will have to reapply.

    4. Pass the examination.

    Your application must be on file before taking the examination for a bail bond runner’s license. Once your application has been received, you will be mailed an examination authorization letter. You may call or schedule your examination date online. As of May 2022, the bail bond runner’s examination fee is $51.50 (for each attempt). You are given two hours to complete the 100-question exam and must score 70 or higher to pass. You may retake the exam after one year if you failed it on the first attempt. Because the application and PLE are only valid for six months, if you fail the exam, you will have to take another PLE class and re-apply to the NCDOI.

    5. Receive your license.

    Once you pass the exam, you will become licensed as a bail bond runner in the state of North Carolina. You must work under supervision during your first 12 months. Runners’ licenses expire every even-numbered year on June 30. You must complete three hours of continuing education (CE) each year (six hours each renewal period) to renew your license. You must also pay the $120 renewal fee (as of May 2022). After being licensed for two years, you may supervise other first-year bail bond runners.

    Related Careers

    Bail bond runners often decide to become cross-trained in related fields in order to supplement their income while waiting to be hired by a bail bondsman. Careers similar to that of a bail bond runner include private investigator and process server. Read below for a summary of the two careers and the requirements in North Carolina.

    Private Investigator/Private Detective

    A private detective (PD) or private investigator (PI) investigate legal, personal, or financial matters for their clients and are usually compensated at an hourly rate. The North Carolina Private Protective Services Board issues licenses to PIs in the state. To become licensed, you must be 18 years of age (or older), a US citizen or resident alien, have no criminal record, and have three years of investigative experience. For more information or to apply, check out the Protective Services Board website.

    Process Server

    Process servers are an important part of the legal system. Other than sheriffs and coroners, they are the only other group that serves legal documents to parties involved in legal actions. To be a process server in North Carolina, you must be at least 21 years of age; there is no licensing or registration required for process servers. Visit the National Association of Professional Process Servers (NAPPS) website for more information on process server careers.

    Training and Education Options in North Carolina

    The NCDOI only requires licensed bail bond runners to have completed 48 hours of education that is related directly to the profession. However, potential bail bond runners should consider additional ways to expand their knowledge of the criminal justice system. Several schools offer two-year associate degrees in criminal justice as well as certificate courses. Possessing more education than the bare minimum will make you stand out among your peers and can lead to increased job opportunities and possibly higher pay. Listed below are select education providers in North Carolina that offer criminal justice programs.

    Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College
    340 Victoria Rd
    Asheville, NC 28801

    Carteret Community College
    3505 Arendell St
    Morehead City, NC 28557

    Central Piedmont Community College
    1201 Elizabeth Ave
    Charlotte, NC 28204

    Forsyth Technical Community College
    2100 Silas Creek Pkwy
    Winston Salem, NC 27103

    Finding Work

    Bail bond runners who are just getting started in the field will have to rely on their experience and their connections to find work. You should try to meet other skilled bail bond runners and agents as you complete your year of required supervised experience. You can also consider joining bail bond or private investigator associations in North Carolina and around your city to find opportunities and build your skills

    Featured Bail Agents in North Carolina

    To assist your search for mentorship opportunities with experienced bail recovery agents, we have listed some of the highest-rated and/or well-known bail bondsmen companies in North Carolina.

    828 Bail Bonds
    530 Merrimon Ave C
    Asheville, NC 28804

    A&A Bonding Agency
    320 1st Ave E
    Hendersonville, NC 28792

    Ace Bail Bonding
    3305 Durham Dr
    Ste 101A
    Raleigh, NC 27603

    Apex Bail Bonds
    1091 NC 65
    Reidsville, NC 27320

    Holmes Bail Bonding
    144 Annaron Ct
    Ste C
    Raleigh, NC 27603

    In and Out Bail Bonds
    811 E Trade St
    Charlotte, NC 28202

    Off the Hook Bail Bonds
    106 Water St
    Wilmington, NC 28401

    To find even more bail agents and bondsmen in your area, use the Member Search tool on the Professional Bail Agents of the US (PBUS) website.

    Bail Bond Runner Salary and Outlook in North Carolina

    When embarking on a new career, you should research salary data and job growth potential. Since the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide salary data for bounty hunters or bail bond runners, we use the information provided for private investigators as a proxy due to the similarity in job function and pay of the two careers. In North Carolina, over 400 PIs were employed as of 2021, earning an average annual salary of $64,920, which is above the national average of $60,970.2,3 Estimates are that jobs for PIs in North Carolina will grow by 11.1% through 2030, with about 70 job openings per year including replacements.4

    City or Metropolitan AreaNumber Employed3Average Annual Salary3
    Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC480$77,920

    Additional Resources

    Check out the following associations in North Carolina to grow your professional network and search for job opportunities.

    1. US Census Bureau Quick Facts, North Carolina: hhttps://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/NC/PST045221
    2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021, Private Investigators: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nc.htm
    3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, North Carolina: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nc.htm
    4. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm