The state of Florida regulates very carefully the bail bond industry. Becoming a licensed bail bondsman is a lengthy process that includes many hours of training and a full year of supervised internship. To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or legal alien at least 18 years of age residing in the state with a high school diploma or equivalent. You must also have never been convicted of a felony, a crime involving moral turpitude (such as fraud) or any crime punishable by more than one year imprisonment.
Florida law (F.S. 648.355) requires 120 hours of classroom instruction with a passing grade of 80 percent or higher. This is usually a three-week course covering laws and rules of the bail bond industry, as well as self-defense and arrest procedures. The instruction must come from a provider approved by the Florida Department of Insurance. The cost for the course is approximately $600.
In addition to the required classroom hours, a correspondence course on insurance and bonds is also required. The University of Florida class "INS 3 - Bail & Bail Bond Insurance in Florida" meets this requirement. The 120 hours of training and the insurance correspondence course must have been completed within the four years prior to submitting an application for a temporary bail bondsman license.
After completing the training described above, you must obtain employment with a licensed bail bond agent or insurance company, who must submit an affidavit attesting to your integrity and moral character. This must be attached to your application for a temporary bail bond agent license along with similar statements by at least three reputable citizens residing in the counties where you will work. The temporary bail bond license is valid for up to 18 months. During this time, you must work 30 hours per week for a cumulative total of 52 weeks, while submitting a record of your hours worked to the Department of Financial Services on Form DFS-H2-1543.
Only after completing the necessary training and one-year internship period under a licensed bail bondsman can you be eligible to sit for the final exam. Upon request, the Department of Financial Services will provide you with an authorization notice that will allow you to schedule and take the exam. Appointment as a licensed bail bondsman can occur after you pass the exam, a thorough background check and any other reasonable inquiries made by the state.