Sheriffs in New York handle various law enforcement as well as public administration matters within the 62 counties of the state. Their responsibilities include serving warrants (and other legal documents), managing county jails, carrying out collaborative tasks with other law enforcement agencies, etc. Want to know how to become a sheriff in New York? This guide has all the answers.

Should I Become a Sheriff in New York?

  • 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)-New York
  • High School Diploma or GED(General Educational Development) Certificate.
    *Higher education is usually not a mandatory requirement unless otherwise specified by a particular county sheriff’s office. But, attaining post-secondary education certainly gives you an advantage in your career.
  • Forensic Science, Criminology, Judicial Function, Criminal Justice, Human Relations, etc.
  • N/A
  • Required
  • Problem Sensitivity, Judgment and Decision Making, Communication, Public Safety and Security, Physical Fitness
  • $94,950 (First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives)
  • 5% (Police and Detectives)
  • $119,180(First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives)

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

In your role as a New York county sheriff, you will engage regularly with other public offices/departments. You will also supervise and collaborate with different law enforcement personnel (police officers, sheriff’s deputies, correctional workers, etc.) to maintain the safety and security of your county’s residents.

Career Outlook

Because of increasing public safety demands, employment opportunities for Police and Detectives are projected to grow by 5% between 2018 and 2028. This is according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Steps to Become a Sheriff in New York

To become a sheriff in New York, follow the procedure described in this section.
*Please remember that a sheriff is an elected official working at the county level rather than state level.


Other than some exceptions, a High School Diploma or a GED (General Educational Development) Certificate is acceptable for employment in most county sheriff offices. However, candidates with higher educational credentials always have an advantage. Therefore, if the opportunity presents itself, you should consider getting an Associate or a Bachelor’s degree in a field related to law enforcement.

Law Enforcement Employment

Aspiring sheriffs need to have considerable law enforcement experience. This is why most New York sheriffs start off as police officers or directly join a sheriff’s office as correctional officers, peace officers andsheriff’s deputies, etc. If you plan on joining the police unit first, then you must clear a series of assessments (written exam, medical and physical evaluation, background scrutiny, polygraph and drug tests, etc.) and then complete police academy training.

Work Experience

After the completion of training, you can start work as a commissioned law enforcement officer.

New York County Sheriff’s Ballot

Once you are experienced enough, you can submit your candidature for the sheriff’s ballot. Secure victory in the election to become county sheriff.
*Upon the completion of your term in office, you can run for reelection.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Sheriff in New York?

It takes quite a while to become a sheriff in New Yorkbecause of the seniority of the role. You will first train as a law enforcement officer (police officer, correctional officer, etc.). This initial selection and training process takes about 2 years. After that, you have to gain sufficient law enforcement experience to contest the sheriff’s ballot.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Sheriff in New York?

Following are the requirements that New York’s aspiring sheriffs must fulfill.

  • Minimum age of 19. The limit may be different in some counties.
  • Hold legal citizenship of the USA.
  • Complete at least a High School Diploma or a GED Certificate. Higher education may be required by some county sheriff offices.
  • Have a lawful New York driver’s license.
  • Must not have any criminal convictions.
  • Successfully finish law enforcement training.
  • Acquire the needed work experience.

How Much Can I Make After Becoming a Sheriff in New York?

The information provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that New York’s First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives earned $119,180 in annual mean wage in 2019.
*No state-wise salary records are available for sheriffs since they serve counties and not states. Therefore, the wages for New York’s First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives have been used here only for comparison.