Career Guide: Bailiff

Bailiffs maintain security and order in a courtroom. Also known as marshals or sheriff's deputies, depending on the jurisdiction, bailiffs interact with all players of a court of law, including the judge, defendants, legal teams, witnesses, and members of the public.

Some employers may prefer an applicant who holds an undergraduate degree in criminal justice or a related field.

Bailiffs ensure that defendants, witnesses, and the public maintain proper decorum through court proceedings. The U.S. employs approximately 19,000 bailiffs, with 72% working for municipalities. To learn more about becoming a bailiff, check out the following career guide exploring the work of these law enforcement officers, their salaries, and overall job outlook.

What Does a Bailiff Do?

Bailiffs work for the local, state, and federal courts. At each level, a bailiff's primary duty remains unchanged: maintain security and order for a courtroom. To do so, bailiffs enforce courtroom rules, follow all court procedures, and escort judges, jurors, witnesses, and prisoners. They also handle evidence, relay messages from jurors to the court and their families, screen visitors, and provide security if a jury gets sequestered.

The requirements to become a bailiff begin with education. A bailiff candidate must hold at least a high school diploma and pass the civil service exam. Note that some employers may prefer an applicant who holds an undergraduate degree in criminal justice or a related field, such as law enforcement, homeland security, or criminology. Each candidate must undergo a background check and interview. Newly hired bailiffs then undergo academy training, which typically lasts several months, but this varies by state.

When searching for employment in this sector, job-seekers should check openings for bailiffs, court officers, court security officers, marshals, and sheriff's deputies. A sheriff deputy can get assigned to a courthouse and take on the duties of a bailiff.

Learn More About Bailiff Careers

For more information on bailiff careers and their typical duties, visit the resource below. Learn about the day-to-day work of bailiffs, the hard and soft skills needed to succeed, and the application requirements.

Bailiff Job Description: What You’ll Do

Bailiff Salary and Job Growth

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, bailiffs earn a median annual salary of $45,760, which translates to about 18% more than the median wage for all occupations. The top 10% earn $78,290, and most work either for the state or local government.

Given this, job growth for bailiffs and correctional officers correlates with state and local budgets. Between the two occupations, bailiffs are typically less affected than correctional officers since courtrooms always need them to keep order.

A bailiff candidate with experience who holds a relevant college degree, such as in criminal justice, could stand out for advancement to more senior or supervisory positions.

Learn More About Bailiff Salaries

Visit the salary page for details on annual bailiff earnings and how much those in the 90th percentile take home. Enjoy bailiff career outlook information and tips on how to stand out as a candidate in the field.

Bailiff Job Salary: What You’ll Earn

Take the Next Steps

Corrections and criminal justice both offer various career paths and areas of study for individuals interested in protective services. Read on to learn more about these occupations and degrees, along with how to pursue work in the nation's correctional and criminal justice systems.

Explore Degrees in Corrections

This resource explores undergraduate degrees in corrections and careers for students in the field after graduation. Learners can tailor their corrections degrees through concentrations like leadership, homeland security, victim advocacy, and forensics.

Explore Other Careers in Criminal Justice

In this resource, students can explore online criminal justice degree options and diverse careers in the field, including bailiff, border patrol agent, customs agent, parole officer, and military police.

Professional Organizations and Resources for Bailiffs

Joining a professional organization or association provides members with benefits that help them grow both personally and professionally. Membership translates to networking opportunities, access to exclusive job boards and college scholarships, and continuing education in the form of training seminars, workshops, and discounted online courses.

A professional organization for bailiffs and others who work in corrections or criminal justice can also serve as an advocate on behalf of its members, providing them with a trusted resource for the latest updates on their industry, field, and profession.

  • American Correctional Association Founded in 1870, ACA operates as the nation's oldest association created solely for practitioners in the correctional profession. Members work in the public and private sectors. Benefits of membership include networking, voting, and discounts on correspondence courses, online training, videos, and publications.
  • American Probation and Parole Association APPA serves over 90,000 professionals who work in community corrections in the United States. Members also include students, educators, volunteers, and citizens. Learners can receive discounts on APPA training courses, plus full membership entitlements.
  • National Criminal Justice Association Formed in 1971, NCJA helps state, tribal, and local governments develop strategies on crime prevention, plus programs to address crime control. Benefits include updates about federal activity and funding opportunities, online training through webinars and virtual events, and discounts for its annual conference.