How to Become a Bailiff – In 6 Steps

Bailiffs are uniformed officers of the court.

They often work together with other officers of the court or law enforcement officers.

Some jurisdictions refer to bailiffs as court officers.


Becoming a bailiff can open new career doors for you since bailiffs are neutral parties and have a variety of responsibilities.

They are highly knowledgeable, well-trained, and skilled officers.

The duties of a bailiff vary, depending upon the specific court where they work, and the laws and regulations of a particular county, or state.

The duties may also vary based on the bailiff’s job description.

Bailiffs work in adult criminal courts, juvenile courts, traffic courts, and family courts.

Exciting career options are available for people who choose to become a bailiff.

Job Description

A bailiff is a court officer who maintains the security of the courtroom.

They make sure that all parties are safe while conducting business with the court.

The bailiff also maintains the integrity of the legal process.

Bailiffs provide administrative support for the court.

One example is that bailiffs often announce the name of the judge or magistrate as they enter the courtroom.

They may stock supplies that are needed for the court.

Bailiffs may first receive evidence from the parties and then pass it to the judge or magistrate.

Some bailiffs work in jails rather than in the courts.

Their duties may vary somewhat from the duties of bailiffs who work directly in the courtroom.

No matter which type of court or other facility that a bailiff works in, they maintain order and safety for all involved parties.


  • Calls the court to order as the proceedings are about to begin
  • Escorts judges, magistrates, jurors, and witnesses into and out of the courtroom
  • Screens people who are entering the court to make sure that they are not carrying weapons or other prohibited items
  • Escorts inmates to and from the courtroom
  • Maintains security during court hearings and trials
  • Removes people from the courtroom if they disrupt court proceedings
  • Escorts sequestered jury members to and from their hotel, or to other places to make sure that  they do not have contact with other people
  • Prepares and executes return warrants for people who do not comply with court rulings
  • Serves asset seizures, eviction orders, and civil lawsuits
  • Carries a firearm to help protect the judge, attorneys, witnesses, and other people in the courtroom


The average salary for a bailiff in the U.S., as of February 2024, is $119,594.

The annual salary usually ranges from about $113,000 to $126,934.

The average hourly pay for a bailiff in the U.S. is $57 per hour.

The hourly rate typically varies between $54 and $61 per hour.

Bailiffs who have higher education, training, certification, or experience are likely to earn a higher salary than bailiffs who do not have a degree, advanced training, certification, or years of experience.

The state where a bailiff works is also likely to be a factor in the bailiff’s salary.

Bailiffs who work in rural areas may earn less than bailiffs who work in larger cities or counties.

Salary Information by State

State Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
New York3,660$71,960$34.60$95,280$51,260
North Carolina160$38,240$18.39$47,100$27,520
North Dakota170$30,940$14.88$39,520$27,560
South Carolina230$26,610$12.79$36,980$17,620
West Virginia110$31,870$15.32$34,970$27,080
Puerto Rico920$35,280$16.96$46,050$23,850

Annual Average Salary: Top 10 States

The top earning state in the field is Connecticut, where the average salary is $99,220.

These are the top 10 earning states in the field:

  • Connecticut - $99,220
  • California - $81,680
  • Alaska - $79,730
  • New York - $71,960
  • Massachusetts - $64,900
  • Nevada - $64,640
  • Maine - $64,210
  • Washington - $63,020
  • Georgia - $61,940
  • Colorado - $61,850
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Bailiffs, OCC Code 33-3011, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

How to Become a Bailiff: Step-by-Step

Step 1: Meet the Minimum Age Requirements

Bailiffs must be at least 18 years of age.

Check with the state where you plan to work or the jurisdiction where you apply for the age requirements.

Some states or jurisdictions require that bailiffs be at least 21 years of age.

So, do you want to be a bailiff but do not meet the minimum age requirements at this time?

Focus on the other steps until you reach the minimum age requirement

Step 2: Earn a High School Diploma

Earning a high school diploma or its equivalent is crucial for a bailiff.

A person who wants to become a bailiff needs to take psychology and other courses that are related to human behavior and the social sciences.

Students should take courses in law enforcement or criminal justice.

Many high schools offer courses and internships for students who plan to work in the court system.

Taking relevant courses and participating in hands-on experience helps to prepare students for working as a bailiff.

Step 3: Pursue a College Certificate or Degree

Enroll at a college that offers programs in corrections, law enforcement, or a similar program.

Bailiffs who complete a college certificate program are likely to have an edge over their competition.

Some states do not require that bailiffs have a college education.

Most certificate programs can be completed in six months to 18 months.

Many future bailiffs choose to earn a college degree.

Step 4: Participate in a Training Program

Bailiffs usually carry a firearm during their work hours.

The state or county where they work is likely to require that bailiffs complete self-defense training.

Completing a first aid and CPR training course may be a requirement for bailiffs.

Some courts or states require that bailiffs complete a specific training program such as a peace officer’s training or other specialized training program.

Learn the training requirements and complete all steps in the training.

Step 5: Apply for a Job as a Bailiff

Applying to become a bailiff is an easy process if you follow the steps that are required in the application process.

Do not leave out any steps or skip any questions because the court or agency may assume that you do not pay attention to detail.

Some jurisdictions require that applicants who apply for bailiff positions take a civil service exam.

Applicants need to receive a passing score on the exam.

Step 6: Complete Drug Screening and a Background Check

People who are in consideration for a job as a bailiff must complete a background check and drug screening.

The court or agencies give the bailiff a deadline to complete these requirements.

Failing to complete the drug screen or the background check by the given deadline is likely to result in the person’s application being rejected for the position of bailiff.


Many states only require that bailiffs have a high school diploma or its equivalent.

Some states or jurisdictions require that bailiffs have a college degree.

Earning an associate degree provides bailiffs with advanced knowledge and skills.

It can also give them an edge over other applicants when applying for a job as a bailiff or when seeking career advancement.

Consider earning an associate degree in areas such as law enforcement, corrections, or a Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) program.

Earning a bachelor’s degree in corrections, law enforcement, police science, or criminology can provide bailiffs with the opportunity to start their jobs at a higher salary than a bailiff who does not have a degree.

It can help bailiffs to meet the educational requirements for higher-level job positions or to become better candidates when they apply for jobs.

Take courses that provide insight into courtroom procedures, evidence procedures, self-defense skills, and observation skills.

Some other courses to consider taking include those that cover threat analysis and neutralization, communication skills, and legal writing skills.

Many college programs offer internships that can allow future bailiffs to gain hands-on experience with the court system.

Complete a firearms training course if it is offered in your degree program.

Some colleges offer firearms training as part of a law enforcement program or a peace officer’s training program.

Licensing and Certification

A license is not usually required for a person to become a bailiff.

Check the requirements for the state where you want to work to learn about any licensing requirements.

Failing to obtain a required license will likely result in your application not being considered during the hiring process.

Certifications are likely needed for candidates who want to work as a bailiff.

Know the certification requirements for the state where you plan to work and for the court system where you want to apply for a job as a bailiff. States or specific jurisdictions require that bailiffs complete a training program.

The state or court may provide the training for the certification, or they may send the bailiff to complete the Peace Officer Standards and Training Program (POST).

They may have to complete their certification at their local police academy.

Trainees for bailiff positions will receive instruction and develop skills in several areas, such as in regulations, institutional policies, security procedures, operations, and self-defense.

They will also likely complete first aid and CPR training.

Trainees who complete the first aid and CPR training will receive a card verifying that they are certified in CPR and first aid.

You do not want to be caught off guard by any certification requirements.

Make sure that you learn about the certification requirements for the court system, the county, and the state where you apply to become a bailiff.

Job Outlook

Some states and courts do not hire as many bailiffs as they did a few years ago.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicated in 2022 that the job outlook for the years 2022 through 2032 was a seven percent decline.

Do not let the indication of a seven percent decline deter you from pursuing a career as a bailiff.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists bailiffs in the category and job description “Correctional Officers and Bailiffs.”

Many states are trying to decrease the number of inmates they send to prison by sending them to rehab programs or other programs.

The decrease in the number of inmates in prisons is likely to result in a decrease in the number of needed corrections officers.

Courts still need bailiffs.

Despite the seven percent projected decline, it is estimated that there will be nearly 31,000 new openings for bailiffs and correctional officers for the next several years.

Should You Become a Bailiff?

Overall Satisfaction: Medium

Do not become discouraged if you see a lower rating for overall job satisfaction for bailiffs.

Different surveys or questionnaires may have different results.

Things like the state or the court where a bailiff works may affect their stress level or other factors that may have a role in job satisfaction.

A bailiff has a variety of work duties that keep them from working in a mundane job.

They work when the court is in session or when they have duties such as serving notices of eviction or asset seizure.

Bailiffs typically do not have to work night shifts or weekends, which is likely to contribute to their job satisfaction.

Average Salary: High

The site provides the 2024 average salary for bailiffs in the U.S. and various states.

Bailiffs usually earn more than $100,000 a year.

Bailiffs who have experience, one or more certifications, or who have advanced education or training are likely to earn an average salary of more than $126,000 per year.

Job Growth Outlook: Low

The number of bailiffs being hired across the U.S. has been declining over the past few years.

Future bailiffs should not let the job growth outlook keep them from pursuing their goal of becoming a bailiff.

The fact that bailiffs are often classified in the same category as other corrections or law enforcement job titles may affect the accurate job growth outlook for bailiffs alone.

The job growth for bailiffs varies across different states or specific courts.

Education Duration: 6 Months – 4 Years

The duration of an education program depends on the type of program, the school where it is offered, and whether it is a certificate program, an associate degree program, or a bachelor’s degree program.

A bailiff who applies for a bailiff position who only has a high school diploma may get a job as a bailiff without additional education if the court only requires completion of their on-the-job training program.

Some certificate programs can usually be completed in as little as six months.

Some certificate programs may require up to 18 months of coursework.

Associate degree programs usually take two years to complete.

Earning a bachelor’s degree usually takes four years for students to complete.

Personal Skills Needed

  • Interpersonal skills to effectively maintain control and order
  • Pays attention to detail
  • Judgment skills
  • Decision-making skills to decide the right action for the situation
  • Communication skills to communicate with a variety of people
  • Observation skills to observe and detect issues that affect safety and security
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Listening skills
  • Negotiation skills in situations may need to be diffused

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do you have to go to school to become a bailiff?

A person can often become a bailiff if they have a high school diploma.

Meeting the minimum requirement of having a high school diploma does not mean that an applicant will get a job as a bailiff.

The time that it takes to complete a college program depends on the school and the type of degree or other program.

Are bailiffs in high demand?

Bailiffs are in high demand in some areas, while they are not in high demand in other areas.

The states or jurisdictions where bailiffs are in high demand are the larger states and jurisdictions.

Larger courts are likely to have more bailiffs, compared to a smaller court located in a rural area.

How much money does a bailiff make a year?

Bailiffs earn an average salary of $119,594.

This amount is accurate as of February 2024.

Bailiffs who have experience or who earn a certificate or degree earn more than bailiffs with no advanced education or experience.

What skills do you need to have to be a bailiff?

Bailiffs need to have self-defense skills, non-lethal defense training, firearms training and skills, security and public safety skills, and the physical ability to perform their duties.

The bailiff’s job also requires supervisory skills, interpersonal skills, quick decision-making, and judgment skills.

What kind of education do you need to become a bailiff?

Bailiffs who have no college degree or who have not completed a certificate program or peace officer training are less likely to be hired if other applicants have education beyond a high school diploma.

Completing a certificate program usually takes at least six months.

Earning an associate degree takes two years to complete.

Completing a bachelor’s degree usually takes four years to complete.

Chelsea Wilson

About Chelsea Wilson

Chelsea Wilson is the Community Relations Manager for Washington University School of Law’s distance learning LLM degree program, which provides foreign trained attorneys with the opportunity to earn a Master of Laws degree from a top-tier American university from anywhere in the world.

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