What Is a Court Officer?

Even if you've never met one in person, you've probably seen a court officer, also called a bailiff, on television in a courtroom drama show. Find out more about the job duties of bailiffs, and review the education requirements for entering a career in this law enforcement field. Schools offering Legal Administrative Assistant degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Court Officers

Court officers, or bailiffs, are law enforcement officers who maintain order in the courtroom. As a court officer, you'll follow the direction of the judge. These directions can include swearing in a witness, collecting court documents, presenting court documents, reviewing reports and filing complaints on behalf of the judge.

When you aren't performing duties for the judge, you'll keep an eye over the proceedings to make sure everything goes smoothly. This includes protecting judges, witnesses, jury members, lawyers and others present in the courtroom. When a prisoner needs to be transported, you'll work with other court officers to transport him or her into and out of the courtroom.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Key Skills Effective communications, knowledge of laws and procedures, good judgment, physical strength
Work Environment May work nights and/or weekends, may deal with angry people in stressful situations
On-the-Job Training May include classes in firearms, law, prisoner escort, defensive strategy, use of force
Similar Occupations Police and detectives, probation officers, correctional officers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education and Training

The minimum education you'll need for this career is a high school diploma or a GED. However, an associate's degree or bachelor's degree in an area of law enforcement or police science may be helpful, and in some courts, it may be required.

You must go through training to become a court officer. The American Correctional Association sets the training guidelines for state, federal and local correctional officers. Your training could be in a state or local agency training program. If you have military experience, this may substitute for some of your education and training requirements.

Salary and Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in May 2014 that bailiffs had an average annual income of $42,360. According to the BLS in 2014, the top paying industries for individuals in this field include state and local governments; bailiffs employed by state governments had a yearly average salary of $61,670, and those working for local governments earned an average of $36,440. The BLS stated in 2014 that the top paying state for this occupation was New York, which reported the average annual wages for bailiffs as $60,330.

The BLS projects that jobs for bailiffs will grow slower than the average job growth in the nation, at a rate of five percent from 2012-2022. Most job opportunities in this field are expected to come from workers leaving the field due to occupation transfer or retirement.

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