How to become a Bailiff

The word “bailiff” originated with the Normans in 1066, and referred to an officer who had the responsibility of carrying out a court’s decisions. Today, in the United States, bailiffs are trained law enforcement officers who provide a variety of services to the court, including but not limited to process serving, providing security when prisoners are transported, providing security and maintaining order in a courtroom, screening persons entering a courthouse, and debt collection. They facilitate procedure in the courtroom, announcing when the judge is entering. They may also assist with evacuation of a courtroom during emergencies.

The bailiff has a highly responsible job, both within the courthouse and outside of it. If you would like to learn more about becoming a bailiff, keep reading. 

Job Duties of a Bailiff

Depending upon the level of government and courthouse in which a bailiff works, their duties may vary. Generally, however, most bailiffs have the following responsibilities: 

  • Escorting prisoners to and from the courthouse
  • Maintaining custody of prisoners during court proceedings
  • Providing security in a courthouse by patrolling its exterior and interior
  • Escorting judges and other court employees in the courthouse
  • Enforcing rules of behavior in a courtroom  
  • Maintaining order in a courtroom during trial
  • Guarding the jury from outside contact
  • Guarding the lodging of a sequestered jury
  • Screen persons entering a courthouse through magnetometers, x-ray machines, and other devices
  • Collect and retain unauthorized firearms and contraband from those entering courthouse
  • Announce the entrance of a judge to the courtroom
  • Stop people from entering the courtroom while the judge is giving the jury charges
  • Screen, control and handle evidence and exhibits during court proceedings

Education and Training for Bailiffs

Most bailiff position require a high school diploma and graduation from a certified or accredited police training academy. Some will also require one year of law enforcement experience working as a police officer or correctional officer. 

Knowledge and Skills a Bailiff Should Have

Bailiffs should possess the following knowledge and skills:

  • Be familiar with courthouse and courtroom security protocols
  • Be familiar with the state/federal criminal statutes and laws of arrest (whichever applies to the courthouse in which you are working)
  • Be familiar with arrest procedures and techniques
  • Have good customer and public service skills
  • Communicate information clearly and effectively
  • Be able to maintain order and enforce rules
  • Be able to use defensive and offensive tactics to subdue disruptive or disorderly individuals
  • Know how to use firearms, pepper spray and handcuffs
  • Recognize emergency situations and be able to administer first aid and CPR when necessary

Qualifying for a Bailiff Job

In order to work as a Bailiff, you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be at least 18 years old (21 in some jurisdictions)
  • Have a high school diploma
  • Have graduated from a certified/accredited police training academy
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Be able to legally possess a firearm (no felony record)

Salaries for Bailiffs Nationwide and Statewide

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that bailiffs earn a mean annual wage of $52,340 as o May 2021. They note the following average salaries for bailiffs by state:

State Salaries for Bailiffs

STATEEMPLOYMENTLEVELANNUAL MEDIAN WAGEANNUAL 75THPERCENTILEANNUAL 90THPERCENTILE
AL90347503916050280
AK70783308141099630
AZ200391604659047020
CADATA NOT AVAILABLE60450129980129980
CO110598607608076080
CT4099820100870105840
DE100326503479036070
DCDATA NOT AVAILABLEDATA NOT AVAILABLEDATA NOT AVAILABLEDATA NOT AVAILABLE
FL830497905928063290
GA690245503916039490
HI50483204832061600
ID90391604783058910
IL3405004070440100050
IN480398004743050280
IA60501605928063250
KS370548705905061130
KY460240003066037100
LA290397105536059280
MEDATA NOT AVAILABLE766108135081380
MD510483204886051230
MA980783307871099820
MI770477005028050280
MN90470206316075210
MS160287903947058740
MO230368804659048440
MTDATA NOT AVAILABLEDATA NOT AVAILABLEDATA NOT AVAILABLEDATA NOT AVAILABLE
NE70593906123076080
NV210592807521076750
NHDATA NOT AVAILABLE309203916049620
NJDATA NOT AVAILABLEDATA NOT AVAILABLEDATA NOT AVAILABLEDATA NOT AVAILABLE
NMDATA NOT AVAILABLEDATA NOT AVAILABLEDATA NOT AVAILABLEDATA NOT AVAILABLE
NY3960783307833078330
NC180368804702050160
ND210275602756049600
OH1710469705986075210
OKDATA NOT AVAILABLEDATA NOT AVAILABLEDATA NOT AVAILABLEDATA NOT AVAILABLE
OR70635306380063800
PA610469704697051230
PR940295703744037440
RIDATA NOT AVAILABLEDATA NOT AVAILABLEDATA NOT AVAILABLEDATA NOT AVAILABLE
SC210292603186039490
SDDATA NOT AVAILABLEDATA NOT AVAILABLEDATA NOT AVAILABLEDATA NOT AVAILABLE
TN390388904659050320
TX340598606052076560
UT30470205939064110
VTDATA NOT AVAILABLEDATA NOT AVAILABLEDATA NOT AVAILABLEDATA NOT AVAILABLE
VA450474805928075210
WA190639708013082840
WVDATA NOT AVAILABLEDATA NOT AVAILABLEDATA NOT AVAILABLEDATA NOT AVAILABLE
WI300292603709047480
WYDATA NOT AVAILABLEDATA NOT AVAILABLEDATA NOT AVAILABLEDATA NOT AVAILABLE

*Salary data circa May 2021, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Jobs for Bailiffs

A recent perusal of the online classifieds found the following job openings for bailiffs as of May 2022:

  • Bailiff for Judge Richard A. Frye, Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Columbus, OH
    • Salary: $69,806/year
  • Bailiff, Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida, Miami, FL
    • Salary: $33,899/year
  • Deputy Bailiff, Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, Leesburg, VA
    • Salary: $53,500 to $70,430/year
  • District Court Bailiff, Scotts Bluff County, Gering, NE
    • Salary: $34,700 to $43,900/year
  • Court Bailiff, City of Chamblee, Chamblee, GA
    • Salary: $32,100 to $40,700/year
  • Bailiff, Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Ocala, FL
    • Salary: $44,566/year
  • Entry-Level Bailiff, City of Eugene, OR
    • Salary: $53,310 to $67,954/year
  • Municipal Court Bailiff, City of Midland, TX
    • Salary: $53,681/year