How to Become a Court Officer: Education and Career Roadmap

Learn how to become a court officer. Research the education requirements, training information and experience required for starting a career as a court officer.

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Do I Want to Be a Court Officer?

Court officers may also be referred to as bailiffs or court security officers. These officers work in courthouses to provide enforcement and administrative support to judges, juries, defendants, and the public in multiple capacities.

Court officers usually work full-time schedules in courtrooms. Because their duties concentrate on peace-keeping within a courtroom, they work during business hours, Monday through Friday. Although fewer confrontations occur within the courts than other locations correctional officers may work, bailiffs must still be armed and alert for any disturbances within the courtroom. They may be exposed to personal risk while on the job and must stand for long hours at a time.

Job Requirements

Most of the training for this career comes from an on-the-job training program, though educational requirements vary by court. Students interested in preparing for a court officer position may consider taking elective high school courses in areas such as safety and first aid and social studies.

The following table shows requirements typical for becoming a court officer:

Common Requirements
Degree Level High school diploma or equivalent*; some states may require a bachelor's degree**
Degree Field Criminal justice, criminology, law enforcement or another related field***
License Some jurisdictions may require court officers to possess a firearm license**
Key Skills Communication, problem-solving, time management and interpersonal communication skills***
Technical Skills Use of scanning equipment such as x-ray machines****
Additional Requirements Physical strength****

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **State job requirements found in November 2012, ***ISEEK, ****O*Net OnLine.

Step 1: Acquire Education

Minimum education requirements of a court officer generally include a high school diploma or GED. However, some state and federal courts may require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree or pass a court officer examination. Related bachelor's degree programs, such as the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Law Enforcement or B.S. in Criminal Justice, can help prospective officers learn about areas like public safety and court procedures.

Step 2: Attain Relevant Experience

Possessing some form of prior work experience in supervising, assisting or counseling individuals can help to prepare for a career as a court officer. Additionally, correctional or military training may provide complementary expertise and proficiencies. Many courts require applicants to have obtained some background experience either in law enforcement, clerical or legal positions.

Step 3: Meet Job-Specific Requirements

Many state and federal courts require court officers and bailiffs to carry a sidearm, necessitating the acquisition of a gun license or permit. Applicants to a court officer position typically must undergo background checks. Knowledge of legal terminology or experience in a courtroom is often recommended. States may have special requirements, such as ability to pass a physical examination, or completion of a training academy.

Success Tip:

  • Practice and maintain job skills. After entering the field, a court officer needs to maintain the skills necessary to perform the job. Continued training and education may include disturbance response, defensive techniques, forced prisoner maneuvers or basic administrative skills. Staying abreast of legal knowledge and correctional abilities helps a court officer to provide a safe and efficient environment.
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  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Legal
      • Legal Research and Professional Studies
      • Legal Support Services
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Boston University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Legal
      • Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, and Corrections
      • Legal Research and Professional Studies
      • Legal Support Services
        • Legal Assistant or Paralegal
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    • Kentucky (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Louisville include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Legal
      • Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, and Corrections
      • Legal Research and Professional Studies
      • Legal Support Services
        • Legal Assistant or Paralegal
  • School locations:
    • New York (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Syracuse University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Legal
      • Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, and Corrections
      • Legal Research and Professional Studies
      • Legal Support Services
  • School locations:
    • Wisconsin (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Marquette University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Legal
      • Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, and Corrections
      • Legal Research and Professional Studies
      • Legal Support Services
  • School locations:
    • New York (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at New York University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Legal
      • Legal Research and Professional Studies
      • Legal Support Services
  • School locations:
    • Illinois (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Northwestern University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Legal
      • Legal Research and Professional Studies
      • Legal Support Services
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Temple University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Legal
      • Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, and Corrections
      • Legal Research and Professional Studies
      • Legal Support Services
  • School locations:
    • Tennessee (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at The University of Tennessee include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Legal
      • Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, and Corrections
      • Legal Support Services
        • Legal Assistant or Paralegal
  • School locations:
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at George Washington University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Legal
      • Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, and Corrections
      • Legal Research and Professional Studies
      • Legal Support Services

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