South Carolina Bounty Hunter Guide: Requirements and Steps
South Carolina is home to over 5.1 million people.1 Although using the term “bounty hunter” to describe yourself or your work is not permitted in the state, you can become licensed as a bail bond runner, also known as a runner bondsman. Bail bond runners perform similar work to that of bounty hunters, locating, investigating, and apprehending fugitives who have skipped bail. If you are interested in a career tracking fugitives, follow the steps outlined below to become a bail bond runner in South Carolina.
Table of Contents
- Bail Bond Runner Requirements
- Steps to a Career
- Related Careers
- Training and Education Options
- Finding Work
- Salary and Job Outlook
- Bail Bond Runner Resources
Requirements for Prospective Bail Bond Runners in South Carolina
Runner bondsmen in South Carolina must be licensed by the South Carolina Department of Insurance (SCDOI), which sets specific requirements for eligibility. Candidates must:
- Be a resident of South Carolina
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have good moral character with no felony convictions in the past 10 years
In the state, bail bond runners must be employed by a professional bondsman and may not operate independently. If you wish to work as an independent bounty hunter in South Carolina, you must become licensed as a professional bondsman. The examination requirements for this license are the same as for bail bond runners.
Steps to a Career as a Bail Bond Runner in South Carolina
Only licensed bondsmen and bail bond runners are permitted to apprehend fugitives in South Carolina. In addition to meeting the qualifications above, you will also need to complete a 30-clock hour pre-licensing course. Continue reading to learn the steps to earning your bail bond runner’s license in South Carolina.
1. Complete the required pre-licensing course.
All candidates for a South Carolina runner bondsman license must complete a 30-clock hour pre-licensing course. The course completed must be approved by the SCDOI, which provides a list of approved courses on its website. Upon completing the course, you will need the instructor or another school official to complete the Certification of Completion to verify that you successfully passed the course.
2. Register for and pass the Professional Bail Bondsman/Runner Exam.
The next step is to take the Professional Bondsman exam, which is administered by PSI. To help candidates prepare for the exam, PSI provides a content outline of the test, which contains 60 questions and must be completed within one hour. As of July 2022, the fee for the exam was $49. You can register for the exam online through the PSI website.
3. Submit an application and background check.
Once you have passed the exam, you must apply for a runner bondsman’s license. Candidates are asked to apply online through the SCDOI’s chosen vendor, the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR). As of July 2022, the fee for a bail bond runner’s license was $200. Along with the application, you must submit two completed fingerprint cards certified by a law enforcement officer. Be prepared to upload the required supporting documents with your application, including the Certificate of Completion from the pre-licensing course, the PSI exam report, and a passport-sized photograph.
4. Receive and maintain your license.
Once you have completed the above steps, you will receive your bail bond runner license. South Carolina imposes continuing requirements for bail bond runners to keep their licenses active and in good standing. All bail bond runner licenses expire on June 30 of each year. In order to renew the license, you must have completed at least eight hours of continuing education during the previous year. The license renewal fee is $150 (as of July 2022).
While bounty hunting can be a rewarding career, most professional bounty hunters and runner bondsmen choose to cross-train and work in related occupations. This can help ensure that you earn a steady income and help you keep your investigative and other skills up to date.
Private Investigator/ Private Detective
Private detectives (PDs) and private investigators (PIs) investigate personal matters (which are commonly legal or financial in nature) for their clients, typically for an hourly rate. In South Carolina, private investigators are licensed and regulated by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED). Candidates for a PI license must:
- Have a clean criminal history
- Be a US citizen
- Pass a character and fitness investigation
- Have three years of full-time experience as an employee of a licensed private investigation agency, as a sworn law enforcement officer, or in an equivalent position
Once these requirements are met, private investigators may post a $10,000 bond through a licensed surety company and apply for a new private investigation employee license. Note that if you are not working for licensed private investigation agencies as a contractor, you must incorporate and apply for a private investigator business license.
Process servers are tasked with delivering certain types of legal documents that must be served in person. Process servers in South Carolina are not required to be licensed but must be at least 18 years of age and be designated by the court or approved agent to deliver service of process. These professionals are typically employed by state and local courts and law firms, though private investigators may hire process servers as well.
Training and Education Options in South Carolina
While bondsmen are not required to have a college degree in South Carolina, earning a two- or four-year degree in criminal justice or a related field can increase your career opportunities as well as help you improve your skills and earnings potential. Earning a degree also helps show potential clients and employers that you are serious about your profession and have the qualifications to succeed. Below are a few options for criminal justice degree programs and certificates in South Carolina.
Denmark Technical College
1126 Solomon Blatt Blvd
Denmark, SC 29042
Greenville Technical College
PO Box 5616
Greenville, SC 29606
Horry Georgetown Technical College
2050 Hwy 501
East Conway, SC 29528
Technical College of the Lowcountry
921 Ribaut Rd
Beaufort, SC 29901
TriCounty Technical College
PO Box 587
Pendleton, SC 29670
Trident Technical College
PO Box 118067
Charleston, SC 29423
Beginning bail bond runners in South Carolina must work for licensed bail bonding agencies. This allows early career professionals to benefit from the expertise of more seasoned agents while developing their own careers. There are also numerous professional criminal justice and bail bond associations in South Carolina and surrounding states that can provide guidance and support. Continue reading to find a listing of featured professional bondsmen in South Carolina.
Featured Bail Agents in South Carolina
To assist you in finding career and mentorship opportunities, below we have listed some of the highest-rated and most well-known bail bond companies in South Carolina. According to the Professional Bail Agents of the United States (PBUS), there are five member agents in the state.
A-1 Adams Bail Agency
1718 York Hwy
York, SC 29745
“A” Bail Now! Bail Bonds, Inc.
69 Robert Smalls Pkwy
Beaufort, SC 29906
Carolina Bail Bonding
9 McGee St
Greenville, SC 29601
Donell & Ladawn Bail Bonding
3239 Hwy 701 N
Conway, SC 29528
Giggie’s Bonding Company LLC
1905 Laurens Rd
Greenville, SC 29607
3870 Leeds Ave
North Charleston, SC 29405
To find even more bail agents and bondsmen in your area, use the Member Search tool on the PBUS website.
Bail Bond Runner Salary and Outlook in South Carolina
Before making a career choice, it’s a good idea to set realistic salary expectations and determine the potential for job growth. Because the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not collect job data for bounty hunters, we use private detectives and investigators as a proxy since these professionals perform similar work. Nationwide, the average annual salary for private investigators in 2021 was $60,970.2 During the same time period, private investigators in South Carolina–of which there were an estimated 210–earned an average annual salary of $51,8200.3 According to Projections Central, jobs for private investigators in South Carolina are expected to increase by 25% through 2030.4
|City or Metropolitan Area||Number Employed3||Average Annual Salary3|
|Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC||50||$52,310|
Especially as a new bail bond runner, joining professional associations can help you make important contacts and expand your network. Below are some bail bond-related associations in South Carolina to consider.
- South Carolina Bail Agents Association (SCBAA): A professional network for bail agents that provides continuing education opportunities.
- Southern Criminal Justice Association (SCJA): A regional network of criminal justice professionals at all career stages that sponsors an annual networking and education conference.
1. United States Census Bureau Quick Facts, South Carolina: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/SC/PST045221
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021, Private Detectives and Investigators: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes339021.htm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, South Carolina: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_sc.htm
4. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm