Court Security Officer: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Court security officers require a little amount of formal education. Learn about the training, job duties and required experience to see if this is the right career for you.

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Essential Information

A court security officer, sometimes called a bailiff or marshal, helps maintain peace in a courthouse and courtroom. The government generally employs these officers, and requirements can vary based on the type of court. At the state level, candidates may be required to have a high school diploma, while federal U.S. marshals must possess a bachelor's degree. Employers seek U.S. citizens with previous police, military or security experience, and require candidates to pass background checks and physical tests.

Required Education Varies by hiring agency; federal U.S. Marshals require a bachelor's degree, while a high school diploma may be sufficient for bailiffs working on the state level
Other Requirements Previous military, police or security experience; individuals must also be U.S. citizens and pass a background check and physical test
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)* 5% (for all correctional officers, including bailiffs)
Median Salary (2013)* $37,080

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description and Duties

Court security officers are responsible for all security aspects of a courthouse, including ensuring that the judges and judicial staff, court employees and general public visiting the courthouse are safe. They are, essentially, police officers who protect the people in a court. Officers who work for federal courts are usually called U.S. Marshals. City, county or state governments may employ officers that work for state courts.

In court, these officers may perform tasks such as handing papers to the judge, ejecting people from the courtroom and helping witnesses leave the stand. They are also be in charge of watching over a jury, which could include transporting the jury to and from eating establishments while they are on duty as well as watching over the hotel where a jury stays overnight during a trial. They also ensure that no weapons are brought into the courthouse and that the public complies with building safety rules. Other job duties include watching doorways, managing metal detectors and roaming a courthouse's hallways to check for suspicious activity.

Requirements

The requirements to become a court security officer are determined by the hiring agency. At the state level, typical requirements include being between 18-21 years of age, being a U.S. citizen and having at least a high school diploma. To become a federal U.S. Marshal, an individual must have at least a bachelor's degree. For either position, an individual must pass a background check and physical tests.

Many employers require that an individual have related experience, such as a police, military or security position. Officers can also receive on-the-job training either in the form of daily training or attending a training camp, which teaches legal procedures, safety methods and emergency response tactics.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected the employment of correctional officers, including bailiffs, would increase by five percent between 2012 and 2022 (www.bls.gov). According to BLS data from 2013, bailiffs earned a median annual salary of $37,080.

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