What is a Bailiff?

The bailiff is the law enforcement officer present in the courtroom to help maintain order and safety. Bailiffs are alternately known as court officers or marshals. Their specific duties vary depending on the court that they’re in. However, they are always responsible for guarding the safety and security of those in the courthouse. Whatever rules are in place in a particular courtroom are enforced by the bailiff so that legal proceedings can take place as efficiently and peacefully as possible.

In court hearings where a jury is present, the bailiff also helps ensure that legal proceedings take place accordingly. They may assist in isolating the jury from the public when necessary, and will help ensure that witnesses and attorneys have no undue contact with those on the jury.

Though responsibilities vary by location, this is a job that always requires a critical degree of decorum, mindfulness, and responsibility.

Job Responsibilities

  • Announcing the judge’s entrance
  • Enforcing all courtroom rules and guidelines for decorum
  • Delivering court documents
  • Handling evidence
  • Isolating juries
  • Supplying the judge with any necessary items
  • Following courtroom rules and procedures
  • Escorting judges into and out of the courtroom
  • Escorting witnesses to and from the stand
  • Escorting jurors and prisoners
  • Interacting with defendants
  • Providing security for everyone in the room
  • Protecting the safety of those in the court

Bailiffs: Career Outlook

About 30,900 openings for correctional officers and bailiffs are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Although correctional officers and bailiffs will continue to be needed, changes to criminal laws have a large effect how many people are arrested and incarcerated each year. Faced with high costs for keeping people in prison, many state governments have moved towards laws requiring shorter prison terms and alternatives to prison. While keeping the public safe, community-based programs that are designed to rehabilitate prisoners and limit their risk of repeated offenses also may reduce prisoner counts.

What Can I Do With My Diploma?

A criminal justice and security services diploma will equip you for a variety of jobs. A career as a bailiff is just one of your options. As you’re looking for job openings, you might want to consider some of these following job titles:

  • Court officer
  • Security services and safety system support
  • Court security officer
  • Private bailiff
  • Writ server
  • Sub-sheriff
  • Process server
  • Court bailiff


The requirements for a bailiff may vary by location. These professionals need a minimum of a high school diploma. Most employers require bailiffs be at least 21 years of age and in good physical condition. Some knowledge of law enforcement is important for those hiring in this field. Continuing education can help you increase your employability. This is particularly valuable for a career as a bailiff, since employment growth is minimal, and competition may be stiff.

An option like the Criminal Justice and Security Services Diploma from Bryant & Stratton College requires just 30 credit hours so you can enjoy fast completion. Courses cover law enforcement, justice information systems, security in the 21st century, and emerging trends in juvenile justice. This will give you a solid background in the justice system that can help you prepare for a career as a bailiff. This educational program can also prepare you for other roles in the criminal justice system and security industry.

Additional Requirements

Students interested in the Criminal Justice Studies Associate Degree program must first successfully complete the Criminal Justice and Security Services Diploma. Completion of either or both programs does not guarantee a student has met all the requirements for employment in the criminal justice field. The Bryant & Stratton College’s programs are educational programs and the college makes no representations regarding whether a particular program will qualify a graduate for employment in any specific position, is necessary for attaining any such position or whether potential employers may require additional training or education.* Before enrolling in a program, potential students are encouraged to consult any relevant agency with which the student may wish to seek employment for a complete list of position requirements and pre- requisites. All applicants should be aware that criminal justice employers may consider numerous factors when determining eligibility or suitability for employment including but not limited to: criminal background screening, citizenship, state residency, physical and psychological health, age and military discharge information. A criminal conviction and or record of certain other conduct may prevent or hinder a graduate’s employment as a law enforcement officer or other positions in security, corrections and others depending upon the requirements in various jurisdictions.

*Virginia residents should be aware that neither program will provide the required training for entry level positions in law enforcement, corrections, armed security, certain unarmed security and other careers requiring certification, licensure, or registration with the Virginial Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). Students who complete these programs in Virginia will be required to obtain certification through DCJS- approved training facilities to meet minimum requirements for those positions.

With this diverse selection of job opportunities available to you, your education in criminal justice and security services can help you find a related job in many locales.

For more insights into the job opportunities available with a criminal justice and security services degree, check out the criminal justice section of our blog. You’ll find a variety of career insights to help guide your future in this field.

Employment Settings

Bailiffs have a very limited work environment, as their jobs center solely around the courtroom. About 71 percent of bailiffs work in local government while 28 percent are employed by state government. The bailiff’s work hours depend upon the hours of the court. They can be scheduled anytime the court room is open, but this will often give them a regular daytime schedule with weekends and holidays off.

Although metropolitan areas offer a higher total number of jobs for bailiffs, the job density per thousand people is comparable in both metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. Provided there is an active courtroom in the vicinity, there will always be a certain number of positions available for bailiffs.

While these projections can help career-minded people evaluate potential employment fields, it is important to note that job market data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook is only intended to provide insight on occupational opportunities. It should not be construed as a guarantee of salary or job title. Neither BLS nor Bryant & Stratton College can guarantee employment in any field.

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