How To Become A Bailiff

For people who are seeking a career in law enforcement, becoming a bailiff is an exciting choice. Bailiffs are necessary members of the court system within the United States. Bailiffs are trained court officers, who have authority to do what is necessary to uphold the law. You have probably seen bailiffs in action if you have been inside a court house, or if you have watched television shows.

Whether it is issuing a subpoena, escorting somebody to the courtroom, or arresting a criminal, bailiffs hold significant power in court. As a bailiff, you will work with other members of the court system, such as the judge, jury, clerk of courts, and sheriff.

It is your responsibility to maintain order and ensure the law is upheld. A bailiff must be able to command respect as an authority figure. They will be working alongside defendants who have been accused of various types of crimes, and because of this, there is a degree of risk associated with the job. Bailiffs must have working knowledge of the court system.

In order to become a bailiff, you will need at least a high school diploma, although some education in criminal justice can also be useful. You will need to pass the Civil Service Exam, as well as undergo a background investigation. Almost all training for this position is done on the job, once you are hired.

Why Become A Bailiff

Many people dream of starting a career in criminal justice or law enforcement. The great news is that there are many possible career opportunities within this sector. A bailiff is one such position, which will get you up close and personal, seeing how our legal and court systems work in the United States. You will get to work with judges, juries, sheriffs, and many other members of the legal system. As a bailiff, it is your duty to protect and serve those around you.

Bailiffs are employed by the state and local governments. A bailiff provides security inside of a court room. They escort people into the court room, from the jail or prison where they are being held. They handle evidence and show it to the judge and jury. They swear in witnesses. Bailiffs also will search the court room for guns or other threats. If there is disorder inside of the court, they help to maintain the peace. A bailiff has the power to remove somebody from the court room or even arrest them.

There are other responsibilities that bailiffs have outside of the court room as well. A bailiff may have to track down people and collect money that is owed – for example, people who refuse to pay child support. A bailiff may have to issue subpoenas, as well as warrants for an arrest. These are just a few of the tasks that bailiffs are expected to do.

Bailiffs should possess the following qualities and skills:

Bailiff Work Environment

Bailiffs are employed by the state and local governments. A bailiff provides security inside of a court room. Occasionally a bailiff has job responsibilities that bring them outside of the court room, such as collecting a debt, issuing a subpoena or a warrant for an arrest, or another task.

Bailiffs will encounter many different types of cases inside of the court room, and witness people being accused of various crimes. There is risk involved with this career field. This can be a stressful field.

A bailiff may have to break up a fight within the court room, arrest somebody, and deal with criminals on a daily basis. The hours for bailiffs are determined for when court is in session.

Bailiff Salary

The median annual salary for bailiffs was $42,670 in May 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Bailiffs work for either state or local governments, where they are employed inside of the court systems.

Governments generally have a specific budget allocated for certain positions, and have a pre-determined salary set aside for government roles. Bailiffs who work for state governments can generally expect to earn more than those who work for local court houses.

Average Bailiff Annual Salary


The average annual salary for bailiffs is $46,190 a year. Salaries start at $23,950 a year and go up to $74,060 a year.

Average Bailiff Hourly Wage


The average hourly wage for a bailiff is $22.21. Hourly wages are between $11.51 and $35.61 an hour.

Stats were based out of 18,480 employed bailiffs in the United States.

Highest Paying States For Bailiffs

Top Paying Cities For Bailiffs

Data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Bailiff Career Outlook

Employment of bailiffs is expected to decline by 2 percent from 2016 to 2026 in the United States. This is a career field with not a lot of job demand. People who are passionate about this path should not be discouraged from pursuing this field. There are many changes happening within the criminal justice system. Changes in criminal laws at both the state and local level have an effect on how many people are arrested and placed in prison each year.

Because there are high government costs involved with keeping criminals in prison, some governments have opted towards moving away from court house trials and incarceration, and towards alternatives to prison, such as rehabilitation programs. This means that bailiffs may not have as large of a role in court rooms in the future.

Bailiff Degree

There are no formal educational requirements in order to become a bailiff. All that is needed is a high school diploma or the equivalent. For this reason, choosing to become a bailiff can be a great career choice for people who want to join the workforce right out of high school, without going to college.

Many people choose to go to college and earn additional education in criminal justice or a similar field. This can help you gain insight into how the court system works in the United States, you will gain knowledge of laws in your area, and other skills needed to work in criminal justice.

All bailiffs must attend a training academy. During your training, you will learn the basics of how to be a bailiff. You will learn about your responsibilities, what you can expect inside of a court room, and how to prepare for a variety of different situations.

Self-defense, security, operational policy, and more will be studied during your training as a bailiff. You will be expected to take and pass a Civil Service Exam. There will also be a background check.

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