Civil Bailiff: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Sep 18, 2019

A civil bailiff keeps order in the court, maintaining safety between prisoners, staff, and the public. They also may oversee juror activity and prepare various paperwork. Postsecondary education is not required, just attentiveness and knowledge of courtroom proceedings.

Essential Information

Civil bailiffs, otherwise known as marshals or court officers, are law enforcement officers who work in courthouses to ensure the safety of the courtrooms and building as well as the proper conduct of parties. In addition to attending to security issues, they may also be responsible for assisting judges, dealing with jurors and serving legal documents in civil matters. No postsecondary education is required for this career, though completion of a training academy as a sheriff's deputy may be needed with employment.

Required Education High school diploma or GED; completion of a sheriff's department training academy; associate's and bachelor's degrees in criminal justice are available
Other Requirements Clean background check and drug screening
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 1% decline for all bailiffs
Median Annual Salary (2018)* $45,760 for all bailiffs

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Salary Info and Career Outlook

Bailiffs are part of the correctional officer employment category of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which estimated a slower-than-average decrease of 1% in bailiff jobs over the 2018 to 2028 decade. As of May 2018, bailiffs earned a median income of $45,760, with the highest-paying industry being in state government.


As guardians of the peace, the main duty of civil bailiffs is to ensure the smooth functioning of the court system by preventing or correcting disruptive behavior. Bailiffs are expected to be aware of all persons in the courtroom at any given time and keep track of their activities. They may also have to keep courtrooms clean and tidy and stocked with proper supplies.

Civil bailiffs must be well versed in civil court procedures and mentally and physically able to enforce the rules throughout the course of their day, from collecting unauthorized weapons to warning court attendees not to smoke. As sworn peace officers, they may carry firearms and have the authority to make arrests when warranted.

Part of a civil bailiff's job involves managing the jury pool. Civil bailiffs may escort juries in and out of the courtroom, prevent jurors from unlawful outside contact and protect sequestered juries. Finally, in their non-security role, civil bailiffs may serve civil paperwork, such as civil summonses, wage garnishments and attachment orders.


Most civil bailiffs are only required to have a high school education. However, in many counties, civil bailiffs may have to become deputies in the Sheriff's Department. Becoming a deputy may entail completion of a training academy course, submitting to a background check and passing other physical or written tests.

While not required, prospective applicants may find it helpful to take coursework or earn an associate's or a bachelor's degree in a relevant major like criminal justice. Schools with a criminal justice major may require students to take courses about the court system, procedures and ethics.

The main responsibility of bailiffs is to ensure security during trials. Being able to act quickly and orderly are imperative. A high school diploma or GED is usually a minimum requirement, but degree programs and college coursework in criminal justice may be valuable.

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