duties of a sheriff include serving as the chief civil-law enforcement officer in their jurisdiction, enforcing court orders, performing evictions, seizing property, serving warrants and supervising patrol officers.

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Should I Become a Sheriff?

It is important to know that a sheriff’s position is not offered at a state level instead it is a county-based post. If you want to work as a sheriff for your local county, you must fulfill the requirements set by that county. A sheriff’s job is unique in a way because they are elected for their position and not hired.

Education RequiredAt least an associate’s degree
Major RequirementCriminology or Criminal Justice
License/CertificationNot required
Experience/TrainingTraining at a Police Academy
Key SkillsIntegrity, Attention to detail, Physical Stamina, Strength; Leadership, Problem-solving, Communication, Interpersonal, Observational Skills etc.
Annual Mean Salary (2020) –


$97,180 (for First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives)
Job Outlook (2020-2030)7% (Police and Detectives)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019)

Career Outlook

In 2020, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 122,310 First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives employed all over the US. Moreover, Federal Executive Branch was listed as the highest paying industry for this occupation with an annual mean wage of $137,120. Not only that, the state of New York was reported to have the highest employment of 13,310 and California was named as the highest paying state with an annual mean salary of $161,250 for this career.

Steps to Become a Sheriff

The requirements to become a sheriff typically vary for eachcounty and the local police department.However,most counties and police departments require candidates to complete the following steps. For specific requirements, kindly contact the relevant county police department.

1. Complete Educational and Work Requirements

Most counties and police departments require applicants to possess at least an associate’s degree in Criminology or Criminal Justice. However, a bachelor’s degree is preferred since it is a high-level post. In addition to gaining the required education, you must have worked as a police officer for at least 3 to 5 years before you can apply for the position of a sheriff in any county.

Run for the Office of Sheriff and Get Elected

Allprospectivecandidatesmust submit the paperworkrequired by their local county to run for sheriff’s office. It is also important to know that candidates are responsible to raise funds for organizing campaigns themselves since sheriff’s are elected and not hired. Moreover, they must complywith the county’s rules to get elected for the position.

Process of Assuming Duty as a Sheriff

Upon successful election as a sheriff, the newly appointed sheriff must officially swear an oath of loyalty. Most counties also require sheriffs to sign a contract and the duration may vary from one county to another. However, typically a contract is signed for a term of 4 years.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Sheriff?

The duration it takes to become a sheriff may vary for each individual as it depends on how and when they complete the required education and work experience as a police officer. Typically, it may take approximately 6 to 8 years to become a sheriff.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Sheriff?

Candidates who want to work as a sheriff in their county, must:

  • Haveat least an associate’s degree in Criminology or another related subject
  • Be a legal US citizen and have a valid driving license
  • Clear all of the following requirements to get hired as a police officer and gain experience
    • Medical tests, physical fitness exam, psychological exams
    • Written exam
    • Background checks
    • Have a clean criminal record
    • Graduate fromthe Police Academy etc./em>
  • Serve as a police officer for at least 3 to 5 years
  • Run for the post of a sheriff in the relevant county
  • Get elected, take the oath and sign the contract to assume official duties

How Much Can I Make as a Sheriff?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported $97,180 as the annual mean salary of First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives employed in the US in 2020.

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