Sheriffs are elected officials who oversee various law enforcement and public administration matters within a county. Some of their duties include managing county prison(s), coordinating activities with other law enforcement units, serving warrants and notices, etc.

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Should I Become a Sheriff in Alabama?

  • Education
  • Area of Study/Major Requirement
  • Licenses/Certifications
  • Experience/Training
  • Key Skills
  • Annual Mean Salary (2019)-National
  • Job Outlook(2018-2028)
  • Annual Mean Salary (2019)-Alabama
  • High School Diploma / GED (General Educational Development)Certificate.
    *Higher educational credentials are not mandatory in most counties but the more educated you are, the better your career prospects will be.
  • Criminal Justice, Human Relations, Criminology, Forensic Science, Judicial Function,etc.
  • N/A
  • Required
  • Resource Management, Judgment and Decision Making, Critical Thinking, Problem Sensitivity, Physical Fitness
  • $94,950 (First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives)
  • 5% (Police and Detectives)
  • $71,850(First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives)

Sources:O*Net Online and US Bureau of Labor Statistics

As an Alabama county sheriff, you will have the following responsibilities.

    • Ensure residents’ compliance with county laws.
    • Manage court security.
    • Take care of all matters related to county prison(s).
    • Serve warrants, notices and other legal papers.
    • Oversee the affairs of bail bondsmen.

*For counties that do not have an independent bail bond board.

Career Outlook

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted a 5% increase in jobs for Police and Detectives between 2018 and 2028. This will be driven by the ever-growing public safety demands.

Steps to Become a Sheriff in Alabama

The procedure explained below will help you become a sheriff in Alabama.
*Please note that sheriffs are not state employees. They are publicly elected officials who serve at county level. The Yellowhammer State has 67 counties that vote their sheriff into office for a specified term.

Get the Needed Education

Most sheriff offices in Alabama accept candidates having a High School Diploma or a GED (General Educational Development) Certificate. However, having better educational credentials is likely to give you an edge both in the initial recruitment process and later on when you contest the sheriff’s ballot. So, if possible, you should consider getting an Associate or a Bachelor’s degree in a subject related to law enforcement.

Apply for Employment with an Alabama Law Enforcement Unit

To become a county sheriff, you need to gain sufficient law enforcement experience. And the best way to attain that is by serving in the police or another law enforcement agency. To join a police unit in Alabama, you need to pass the initial selection phase (written examination, medical and physical evaluations, background checks, polygraph and drugs test, etc.) and then complete police academy training.Or you can train to become a licensed peace officer with an Alabama county sheriff’s office.

Work Experience

Once your training is done and dusted, you can start work as a law enforcement officer.

County Sheriff Election

When you have the needed experience under your belt, you can enter the ballot for county sheriff. Win the election to become an Alabama county sheriff.
*You can run for office again upon the completion of your term.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Sheriff in Alabama?

The process of becoming a sheriff is a long one. It starts off with the initial selection and law enforcement training phase. This can take around 1.5 to 2 years. After that, you need to work in a law enforcement capacity for some time to be eligible to contest sheriff elections.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Sheriff in Alabama?

The requirements to become a sheriff in Alabama are listed below.

  • Minimum age of 21. Some counties may have different demands.
  • Have legal American citizenship.
  • Hold a valid Alabama driving license.
  • Complete at least a High School Diploma or s GED Certificate. Some counties may require higher education.
  • Must not be a convicted criminal of any kind.
  • Successfully complete law enforcement training.
  • Get law enforcement experience.

How Much Can I Make After Becoming a Sheriff in Alabama?

The latest records of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives in Alabama pocketed $71,850 in annual mean salary in 2019.
*Sheriff is a position at the county level rather than state level. No state-wise compensation data is available for this post. Hence, the salary figures for First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives are being used herefor comparison.