If you are interested in a career in law enforcement and are seeking a career working in a courtroom, you may consider becoming a bailiff. This career is ideal for those who are courteous, accommodating, and have strong attention to detail, good interpersonal skills, and sound knowledge of courtroom procedures.
What Does a Bailiff Do?
A bailiff is an officer of the courtroom, and the role is an important one. He or she provides security for all parties, including judges, plaintiffs, defendants, and juries. It is the job of a bailiff to impose all courtroom policies, keep disturbances to a minimum, and to execute the judge’s orders. For example, if a judge decides someone needs to be removed from the courtroom, the bailiff must escort that person out and even restrain them if needed.
Bailiffs prevent the jury from having contact with the public, going as far as to escort them from site to site. Other job responsibilities include:
- Opening and closing court by announcing the judge’s arrival and departure.
- Securely handling evidence.
- Swearing in witnesses.
- Organizing files and paperwork for the judge.
- Inspecting the courtroom for hazards and weapons.
- Guarding jurors sequestered overnight in hotels.
- Providing security or medical emergency services.
What Is a Bailiff’s Salary?
While the salary of a bailiff will vary based on location, years of experience, and other factors, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that the median annual salary for this career is $44,400. However, the number of job prospects for bailiffs isn’t exactly ideal. Although there is a need to replenish bailiffs who move on to different occupations or retire, employment is expected to decline 7% from 2018 to 2028.
Depending on work performance, there are promising advancement opportunities. For example, successful bailiffs who work for a bailiff firm may find it possible to be promoted to the position of senior bailiff, assistant manager, and manager.
What Is a Bailiff’s Workplace Environment?
Many bailiffs spend the majority of their working hours inside the courtroom. However, some of their time will be spent escorting and guarding jurors or transferring documents. Some bailiffs may choose to work in prisons or jails, but these environments are much more challenging. Most bailiffs would agree that working in a judicial setting with the general public is highly preferable over working within a jail.
How Do I Become a Bailiff?
While many bailiff positions only require a high school education, candidates who possess a bachelor’s or master’s degree will find their employment opportunities vastly improved. Coursework in criminal justice, law enforcement, and civil rights will provide a strong foundation, as well as experience in the courtroom and/or law enforcement.
Additional qualifications may include CPR certification or first aid training. Some courts even require bailiffs to undergo firearm training and learn to use chemicals like pepper spray.
In addition, some places of employment have age requirements for new bailiffs (21 years of age or older is a common requirement), and all require a valid driver’s license. It’s also typical for a candidate to be required to undergo (and pass) a background check, meaning he or she must have a clean criminal record.
Earn a Degree in Criminal Justice to Become a Bailiff
With the right online degree program, you can gain the expertise you need to succeed as a bailiff. Concordia University, St. Paul offers two criminal justice programs that focus on the history and modern issues within the field: a B.A. in Criminal Justice and an M.A. in Criminal Justice Leadership. Both programs are designed for adult students, as they provide the flexibility to fit your studies into your busy schedule.