What Is a Bailiff? - Duties, Requirements, & Salary

If you're considering a career in the criminal justice field, check out this article to explore the job duties of a bailiff. You'll also find information about the requirements, expected salary and job outlook for this position. Schools offering Law Enforcement degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information at a Glance

Bailiffs are responsible for maintaining order and peace within a courtroom. They are sometimes known as court officers, which relates to their role within the court, or marshals, which shows that they are responsible for maintaining public safety as part of their role. A bailiff's overarching duty is to ensure that the legal process is protected and that all members of a courtroom are able to do their job in a safe and secure environment. Take a look at the table below for more information about this role.

Education Required High school diploma or equivalent
Training Completed through an academy
Key Responsibilities Provide security, enforce courtroom rules, handle evidence, escort members of the courtroom
Job Growth (2016-2026) 2% decline*
Median Salary (2017) $42,960*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Are the Duties of a Bailiff?

The main duties and responsibilities of a bailiff are to ensure security in a courtroom. To maximize security and safety, they may escort prisoners, as well as witnesses, judges or members of the jury, in and out of the courtroom. A bailiff is also responsible for ensuring that all rules and procedures are properly followed within the courtroom. Handling evidence and court documents is also an important part of the role, as a bailiff is seen as a neutral party.

What Are the Requirements for this Job?

For this role, you must hold at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Although it is not required, having a degree or experience in criminal justice or a related field could make a candidate much more competitive for a bailiff role. Age requirements vary by state. Some states require that a bailiff be at least 21 years old. In other areas the age is lower at 18. Trainee bailiffs are expected to undertake training at a specialized academy in order to fully prepare for the role.

What Salary Can I Expect to Earn?

According to the BLS, in 2017 the median salary for bailiffs was $42,960. Bailiffs working in state government roles in 2017 earned a median of $66,630, whereas those working within the local government earned a lower wage of $39,170. Courtroom bailiffs usually work during the daytime, and their shifts vary depending on when the court is in session; therefore, a candidate should be expected to show flexibility in their role.

What Personal Skills Do I Need?

Being a bailiff requires the ability to think quickly and make decisions independently. Working in this environment also requires bailiffs to apply their training so that their decisions provide the best outcomes in a range of challenging situations. Along with decision-making skills, an attention to detail is another important personal skill for bailiffs. They should follow strict law enforcement rules and procedures to make sure that everyone is kept safe in the courtroom. Interpersonal skills allow bailiffs to effectively enforce courtroom rules and communicate with a range of people, which is an important part of their role.

What Job Growth Is Expected?

From 2016-2026, courtroom bailiff positions are expected to decline by 2%. Courtrooms will still need bailiffs to help maintain order, but job growth is not expected. Openings for these positions may be rare, but they can result from the retirement or career changes of others. It is possible to use the same skills and qualifications to apply for other roles within the criminal justice system if bailiff roles within your state are scarce.

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