Bailiffs are law enforcement officers whose main role is to maintain order during courtroom proceedings. Judges depend on bailiffs to ensure that the public, jury, legal teams, witnesses and defendants proceed through trials and other court proceedings with the required decorum. A future career as a bailiff can begin by enrolling in a bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice.
Bailiff Job Duties
Bailiffs may also be known as court officers or marshals depending on the jurisdiction in which they serve. They fulfill numerous important functions but primarily serve to enforce courtroom rules and maintain security during trials and other proceedings. Job responsibilities may include:
- Assisting and protecting the judge and jury throughout court proceedings
- Declaring the entry of the judge and calling witnesses into the courtroom
- Accompanying jurors outside the courtroom to prevent contact with the public
- Providing security if a jury is sequestered
- Assisting jurors with their duties
- Relaying messages from jurors to the court and their families
- Completing required paperwork and reports
- Screening visitors prior to courtroom entry
- Escorting defendants between the courtroom and detention facility
- Collecting evidence from legal teams and the jury
Potential Salary for Bailiffs
According to a 2013 national survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor, the average annual salary for bailiffs nationwide was $40,620. Those in the highest 10% bracket earned more than $67,700 annually. Because salary potential may vary depending on location, and an individual’s education and experience, prospective students are encouraged to conduct independent research to determine earning potential.
Education and Training for Bailiffs
Depending on the location, bailiff positions may require candidates to have some college and/or on-the-job training. Some employers will prefer to hire candidates with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related discipline. Training programs typically include custody and security procedures, as well as firearms and self-defense training. Some employers may show preference to candidates with supervisory experience or familiarity with legal settings.
An undergraduate degree program in criminal justice typically includes coursework in community policing, criminal justice ethics, law enforcement systems and criminology.
Individuals who have earned a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice should be able to:
- Understand fundamentals of the legal system
- Apply concepts such as due process, use of force and criminal liability
- Exercise best practices in community policing
- Analyze crime trends, crime prevention and other components of criminal justice
Employer-based continuing education programs may provide employees with tuition assistance in order to pursue advanced qualifications.
Do You Aspire to a Career as a Bailiff?
If you are a quick thinker, good decision maker and have an interest in the legal system, you could be a candidate for a law enforcement career as a bailiff. This position also requires a high degree of responsibility, integrity and good judgment. Augmenting your skill set by enrolling in a bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice can be the first step toward this career.