How to Become a Bailiff
Bailiffs are responsible for maintaining peace within courtrooms. Their duties include ensuring the safety of trial participants, providing assistance to judges, handling court documents, and enforcing the law when necessary. In some locations, bailiffs provide administrative support in courtrooms. In others, they take the place of sheriffs when the sheriffs cannot fulfill their duties. Hiring processes vary across states, however basic qualifications are similar across different locales.
Though exact qualifications for bailiffs vary based on state and county, all bailiffs should be in good physical condition and should have some knowledge of law enforcement. Most bailiff positions require candidates to be of a certain age – usually 21 – and to have strong conflict management skills. Organization and communication skills are important as well.
Education & Training
The educational prerequisites for bailiff positions vary from location to location. Typically, bailiffs must have at least a high school diploma or GED. Some government employers prefer bailiffs to have a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, criminology, public safety, or another related field. Select community or career colleges may offer specific bailiff training courses, although these are rare. For prospective bailiffs, the best way to determine the educational requirements for positions in your area is to call the local courts and ask.
Like educational requirements, training prerequisites vary as well. Some bailiffs will receive on-the-job court bailiff training once they are hired. For higher-level bailiff positions, law enforcement experience may be necessary. Many police officers, correctional officers, and other law enforcement agents can use their knowledge of the law and conflict resolution to qualify for bailiff positions.
The hiring process for bailiffs varies, though all counties should require interviews and background checks as part of pre-employment screenings. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that career opportunities for bailiffs are only projected to grow by 8% by 2020. Bailiffs earn an average salary of $38,570, the BLS reports, although the top 10% earn closer to $66,400. Meanwhile, the bottom 10% earn around $34,490. Of course, salaries vary depending upon location and experience. Those with more experience are likely to earn more money, while those who are just entering the field will earn less.