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North Carolina Bounty Hunter Guide: Requirements and Steps

North Carolina has more than 9.9 residents and allows the practice of bounty hunting.1 In the state, using the title “bounty hunter” is prohibited, but the North Carolina Department of Insurance 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.

Requirements for Prospective Bounty Hunters 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 North Carolina Department of Insurance. You must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Possess a high school diploma or GED
  • Be a resident of North Carolina for at least six consecutive months
  • Have a valid North Carolina driver’s license or state issued ID
  • Have no felony convictions nor outstanding bail bond obligations

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 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 Information (NCBAA) and the NC Bail Academy can be used as resources to find 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 North Carolina Department of Insurance requires first-year bail bond runners to be supervised by a licensed bail bondsman. You must be supervised for 12 months and provide a power of attorney to the Department giving you the authority to work for your supervisor. Your supervisor should be identified prior to applying for licensure and the power of attorney must be submitted with your online application. If you are unable to find a supervisor, you must submit a sworn affidavit to the Department detailing why you were unable to find a willing supervisor.

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 March 2016, the fee for a runner’s license in North Carolina was $233. Runner license applicants must submit to 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 submitting the application, the application will be voided and you will have to reapply.

4. Pass the examination.

Your application must be on file prior to taking the examination for bail bond runner’s licensure. 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 March 2016, the bail bond runner’s examination fee is $51.50. You are given two hours to complete the 100-question exam and must score a 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 Department.

5. Receive your license.

Once you pass the exam, you will become licensed as a bail bond runner in the state of North Carolina. Your must work under supervision during your first 12 months. Runners’ licenses expire every year on June 30 each year. You must complete three hours of continuing education (CE) to renew your license and pay the $60 renewal fee (as of March 2016). After being licensed for two years, you may supervise other first-year bail bonds runners.

Related Careers

Bounty hunters often decide to become cross-trained in other related fields to try to pick up extra jobs to supplement their income while waiting to be hired by a bail bondsman. Careers similar to that of a bail bond runner include a private investigator and a process server. Read below for a brief 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 a legal action. 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. View the
North Carolina Association of Professional Process Servers website for more information on process servers in the state.

Training and Education Options in North Carolina

The North Carolina Department of Insurance requires licensed bail bond runners to have completed 48 hours of education related directly to the profession. Potential bail bond runners should look for additional ways to expand their knowledge of the criminal justice system. Several schools offer two-year associate degrees in criminal justice or even certificate courses. Possessing more education than the bare minimum will make you stand out among your peers and should lead to increased job opportunities and possibly higher pay. Listed below are some educational providers in North Carolina that offer two-year degrees in criminal justice.

Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College
340 Victoria Road
Asheville, North Carolina 28801
https://www.abtech.edu

Carteret Community College
3505 Arendell Street
Morehead City, NC 28557
http://www.carteret.edu/NewWeb

Central Piedmont Community College
1201 Elizabeth Ave
Charlotte, NC 28204
https://www.cpcc.edu

Forsyth Technical Community College
2100 Silas Creek Pkwy
Winston Salem, NC 27103
http://www.forsythtech.edu

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 some skilled bail bond runners as you complete your year of required supervised experience. During this time, you should search for a mentor and an apprenticeship program to provide you with some support and guidance as you start your career. You should consider joining bail bond or private investigator associations in North Carolina and around your city. Read below for a listing on featured bail bondsmen in North Carolina.

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.

Ace Bail Bonding
3305 Durham Dr
Ste 101A
Raleigh, NC 27603
http://www.acebailbonding.com

Behind-Bars Bail Bonds
Asheville, NC 28802
http://behindbarsbailbonds.com

Blackwell’s Bail Bonding
902 Old Fayetteville St
Durham, NC 27701
http://www.blackwellbailbonds.com

Champion Bail Bonding
110 Matheson Ave, #790581
Charlotte, NC 28206
http://championbailbonding.com

Free Bird Bail Bonds
18 Wall St
Asheville, NC 28801
https://www.freebirdbailbonds.com

Holmes Bail Bonding
5 W Hargett St
Raleigh, NC 27601
https://www.holmesbailbonding.com

In and Out Bail Bonds
811 E Trade St
Charlotte, NC 28202
http://inandoutbailbondscharlotte.com

Off the Hook Bail Bonds
212 Princess St
Wilmington, NC 28401
http://offthehookbail.com

You Walk Bail Bond Agency
101 N McDowell St, Ste 202
Charlotte, NC 28204

Bounty Hunter 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 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 are employed and they earn an average annual salary of $39,400.2 Projections Central states that jobs for PIs in North Carolina will grow by 15% between now and 2022, equating to about 30 job openings per year. 3

City or Metropolitan Area Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC N/A* $52,090
Winston-Salem N/A* $36,310

*Estimates not provided by the BLS.
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2015.2

Additional Resources

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

  • North Carolina Bail Agents Association – An association in North Carolina that provides networking and continuing education opportunities for bail recovery agents in the state.
  • North Carolina Association of Private Investigators – The oldest association of private investigators in North Carolina that advocates for equa enforcement of rules and regulations and to encourage a spirit of networking amongst private investigators in the state.

References:
1. US Census Bureau Quick Facts, North Carolina: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/37,13
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2015, Private Investigators: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nc.htm
3. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm