Bailiff Career Guide
Bailiffs are law enforcement officers who are responsible for maintaining order in a courtroom during trials. While their duties may vary from a police officer, bailiffs play an important role in the justice system.
Bailiff Career Description, Duties, and Common Tasks
The bailiff works with the jury, the judge, the public, and the defendants. The bailiff:
- Announces the judge’s entrance into court.
- Assists, in some instances, with transporting the defendants to and from court.
- Delivers documents in the court
- Enforces courtroom decorum and the judge’s directions.
- Ensures the judge has all the supplies he or she needs.
- Escorts the jury out of the courtroom to ensure they do not have contact with anyone outside of the court.
- Guards the jury, in the courtroom and during sequestration.
- Helps the judge as necessary.
- Interacts with defendants.
A bailiff must command respect as an authority figure, must communicate effectively with others, and must have a working knowledge of the court system and how it works. Bailiffs must be physically fit as the hours are often long.
How to Become a Bailiff: Requirements and Qualifications
A high school diploma is usually adequate for pursuing a career as a bailiff. Although some courts may require a bailiff to have special training in a certain area, such as paralegal skills, most gain the training they need on the job.
Bailiff Job Training
Bailiffs will typically go through training upon being hired. While training may vary from location to location, the new hire will likely work alongside a mentor to learn the way the court system works and to gain hands-on experience.
Other Helpful Skills and Experience
Prospective bailiffs should feel comfortable communicating with a diverse group of people and should be prepared to use physical force when necessary. Law enforcement or military experience or experience within the criminal justice and court systems may be advantageous when applying for a position as a bailiff.
Examples of Possible Job Titles for this Career
- Court officers
- Court security officer
- Sheriff’s deputy
Career Opportunities and Employers
Those bailiffs with experience and relevant education – such as a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice – may find advancement opportunities in a supervisory or a management position. Bailiffs are generally employed by local, state, and federal courts.
Bailiff Salary and Outlook
A bailiff’s salary, as in most positions, increases with years of experience. The average annual salary for bailiffs in the United States is $44,900 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).1 In addition, bailiffs receive a typical benefits package, including life and health insurance, paid leave, and vacation, etc. The BLS does not provide a specific projection for bailiffs, but estimates 4% job growth from 2014-2024 for the related field of correctional officers.2
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What states have the highest salaries for bailiffs?
Answer: The states that have the highest average salaries for bailiffs according to the BLS include Colorado, New York, Nebraska, California, and Nevada. Annual salaries for bailiffs in these states range from $47,750 to $62,250.1
Question: What states hire the most bailiffs?
Answer: The BLS reports that governments in New York, Florida, Ohio, Georgia, and Texas hire the most bailiffs compared to other states.1
Question: What type of schedule do bailiffs generally work?
Answer: Bailiffs typically work the traditional 40 hour work week, although overtime and nights and/or weekends may be required.
- National Sheriffs’ Association – A national organization that provides information and educational opportunities to sheriffs, sheriffs deputies, law enforcement, bailiffs, and the general public.
- United States Court Security Officers – A national union for professionals working in court security, including bailiffs.
1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, Bailiffs: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes333011.htm
2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Correctional Officers and Bailiffs: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/Protective-Service/Correctional-officers.htm