Sheriffs are law enforcement officers who are elected to keep the law and order in their region by enforcing laws in their counties. When a sheriff is on job, he carries out so many different duties mainly to keep the law and order in the area. The sheriff:

  • Enforce laws and suppress any sort of crimes and illegal activities in the county

  • Carry out arrests of the criminal suspects after securing the arrest warrant

  • Ensure to maintain peace and tranquility in the area

  • Carry out investigations of the crimes that are reported by the people

  • Collect evidences and interview suspects and witness of a reported crime

  • Protect the inhabitants of the area as well as their property from any sort of damage

  • Distribute funds between various law enforcement departments

  • Hire people for the jobs in the law enforcement departments in the area


Becoming a sheriff is definitely one of the most in demands career options in USA. That is why, when it comes to becoming a Sheriff, there are a number of very particular requirements that every candidate is expected to meet. A sheriff:

  • Must have the nationality of United States of America and be a permanent citizen as well

  • Must be above 18 years of age

  • Must be the local resident of the county

  • Must have secured a High School Diploma or GED

  • Should have an associate or Bachelor’s degree for better career options

  • Must have passed the written, physical tests and background check for selection in Police force

  • Successfully complete the Police Academy training

  • Secure the official Police Certification

  • Must have in field work experience of 1 to 5 years

  • Have to participate in the elections for Sheriff in the county

  • Should legally win the elections

  • Usually receives Sheriff training while on the job



Here is the step by step guide to help you understand the journey of becoming a Sheriff in USA.

Step 1:Education

The minimum education to become a Sheriff is a High School Diploma or a GED for a few states but most states prefer the Sheriffs to have higher education. Hence it is preferable if one pursues an associate degree or a Bachelor’s degree in criminology, law, criminal justice or to other related niches.

Step 2:Apply For Police Officer And Gain Experience

After completing the education requirements one should apply for Police force when there is an opening available in the force. A candidate must pass all the tests; written, physical, polygraph tests and background check, one gets enrolled in the Police Academy for the mandatory training. The training is usually of 6 months or 20–36 weeks long depending on the state. When one finally graduates from the police academy, one must give the test to secure the Police Officer License.

Step 3:Run For Sheriff Post

The most recommended option is to work as a police officer for 1-5 years and then run for the Sheriff Position in the native county. When one finally wins the Sheriff elections, one holds the office for 4 years. It is mandatory for newly elected Sheriffs to get 2 week training from National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) through National Sheriffs’ Institute (NSI) and then assume the office for 4 years. It is advised for the newly appointed Sheriffs to secure a comprehensive degree like a Bachelor’s degree during the job, if they do not already have one, for better incentives.


It takes 2 years to successfully complete the associate degree and 4 years to complete the Bachelor’s degree. Then one has to enter the police force by passing all the tests and complete the mandatory 6 month training in the Police Academy. Afterwards, one has to secure the Police Officer License and then serve in the police force for 1-5 years as a police officer before running for the office of Sheriff. So, the estimated time to become a Sheriff in USA is around 5 to 12 years depending on the officer thus it is a lengthy and time consuming process.


The data provided by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics state the median pay of Sheriff to be around $ 58,320 per year. Sheriffs that are appointed in the counties of states like California, New Jersey and Washington earn the best wages in whole of USA.