Michigan’s sheriffs deal with many different matters relating to public administration and law enforcement in the Wolverine State’s 83 counties.They handle the affairs of county prisons, serve warrants,communicate and collaborate with other law enforcement agencies, etc. If you want to know how to become a sheriff in Michigan, then this piece is for you.

Should I Become a Sheriff in Michigan?

  • Education
  • Area of Study/Major Requirement
  • Licenses/Certifications
  • Experience/Training
  • Key Skills
  • Annual Mean Salary (2020)-National
  • Job Outlook(2019-2029)
  • Annual Mean Salary (2020)-Michigan
  • High School Diploma/General Educational Development (GED) Certificate.
    *Education beyond high school is not usually needed unless otherwise specified by a county sheriff office. However, having better educational credentials can give you the edge over your peers.
  • Human Relations, Criminology, Criminal Justice, Judicial Function, Forensic Science, etc.
  • N/A
  • Required
  • Public Safety and Security, Active Listening, Problem Sensitivity, Social Perceptiveness, Communication, Judgment and Decision Making.
  • $97,180 (First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives)
  • 5% (Police and Detectives)
  • $85,810 (First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives)

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

As a sheriff in Michigan, you will be working closely with various public offices anddepartments. In particular, you will have to supervise and collaborate with different law enforcement personnel such as judges, police officers, correctional workers, etc.

Career Outlook

As indicated by data reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for Police and Detectives are set to increase by 5% from 2019 to 2029. This rise will be chiefly driven by the growing public safety needs.

Steps to Become a Sheriff in Michigan

You need to take the following steps to become a sheriff in Michigan.
*It is important to note that sheriffs are elected county-level officials. That is, they are employed by a county rather than a state.


Apart from a few exceptions, most sheriff offices in Michigan accept employment applications from candidates holding a High School Diploma or a GED (General Educational Development) Certificate. But, having better educational qualifications can put you at an advantage both in the initial hiring process and during the sheriff’s ballot. So, try getting an Associate or a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice or a related subject if you have the opportunity.

Law Enforcement Employment

You will need significant law enforcement experience to run for the sheriff’s office. And the most convenient way to gain this exposure is by working as a police officer or in some other law enforcement capacity. To get into police service, you must qualify a series of initial evaluations including written exam, physical and medical assessments, background investigation, drugs and polygraph tests, etc. Another way is to train to become a correctional officer or a sheriff’s deputy.

Work Experience

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

Work Experience

You can begin serving as a law enforcement officer after completing training.

Michigan County Sheriff Election

Once you have acquired sufficient experience, you can enter the sheriff’s ballot. Win this election to earn the right to serve as a Michigan county sheriff.
*You can contest the ballot again on completion of your term in office.

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

Becoming a sheriff in Michigan is a long-term process which starts when you first apply for law enforcement employment. That initial selection and training procedure lasts for about 2 years. Subsequently, you must work as a law enforcement officer to gain enough experience to contest the sheriff’s ballot.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Sheriff in Michigan?

Aspiring sheriffs in Michigan must fulfill the criteria mentioned below.

  • Should be at least 18. Age demands may vary in some counties.
  • Be a lawful citizen of the United States.
  • Possess a legal Michigan driver’s license.
  • Have a High School Diploma or a GED Certificate at least. Better educational credentials may be demanded in some counties.
  • No criminal convictions.
  • Undergo law enforcement training.
  • Attain enough law enforcement experience.

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

In 2020, Michigan’s First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives had an annual mean wage of $85,810. This is according to data reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
*There is no state-wise wage data available for sheriffs. As a result, the salary for First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives has been provided here for reference.