Education and Training Requirements
Do you find the idea of managing a courtroom intriguing? If you think a career as a bailiff might be right for you, start preparing for it while you're still in school. Take political science, communications, computer science, psychology, and law-related high school courses. If you have the opportunity to earn certificates in emergency skills, such as CPR or triage, take advantage of it as you prepare for a career that is centered on security and safety. It wouldn't hurt to take a foreign language—especially Spanish—since you will interact with many people during the course of your workday who are not fluent in English.
Many states require bailiffs to have training from police academies or from other programs approved by the local government's law enforcement training board. Smaller cities may substitute on-the-job training for police academy training. Since many courtroom bailiffs are assigned by sheriff 's offices, the education requirements for bailiffs are generally the same as for other law enforcement officers. In fact, a good course of action is to contact your local sheriff's department and find out what deputy sheriff training programs are available. When you have completed the program and secured a position in the sheriff's department, you will have an inside edge for moving into a bailiff job. Training usually involves class work, meeting physical requirements, and getting supervised hands-on experience. Although college education is usually not required, many junior or community colleges offer classes related to public safety or protective services careers. Courses such as criminal law, report writing and communications, police functions, and ethics in the justice system can help you learn the courts and this type of work.
Other Education or Training
The National Sheriffs' Association offers training, workshops, and seminars covering topics such as courthouse and courtroom security, transportation, and legal issues. Contact the association for more information. Military experience is considered superior preparation for becoming a bailiff.
Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements
Certification or Licensing
Although most states do not require specific bailiff certification, certification as a peace officer or officer of the court is often required. States vary in their requirements; for example, requirements for bailiff certification in Missouri include completing a Peace Officer Standards and Training Program, being at least 21 years of age, being a U.S. citizen, and having no criminal history. Candidates who fulfill such requirements and pass the Missouri Peace Officer licensing exam are then certified peace officers and can work as bailiffs. Other states may require bailiffs to be licensed law enforcement officers, such as police officers or sheriff's deputies. Some employers, such as sheriff's departments, may require bailiffs to have firearms certification. Other employers may require bailiffs to have valid driver's licenses for the state in which they work. Check with the law enforcement agency or your local courthouse to find out the specific requirements for your state.
Bailiffs must pass physically demanding tests to be trained as law enforcement officers as well as drug tests.
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
Any prior experience in law enforcement explorer programs in high school and college or in law enforcement jobs will be useful for aspiring bailiffs.
Bailiffs interact with many different kinds of people. From the judge, to the inmate, to the jury member, the bailiff must communicate effectively to ensure the organized flow of information in the courtroom. Bailiffs must be good listeners as well, because they must respond to requests for information and react to disturbances and problems. To be a successful bailiff, you must be able to speak clearly, respond quickly, concentrate on the task at hand, and be aware of potential trouble. In addition, an effective bailiff must have good judgment, excellent negotiating skills, high self-discipline, and superior physical strength.