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What Does it Take to Be a Sheriff or Deputy Sheriff?

Position Description Enforce law and order in rural or unincorporated districts or serve legal processes of courts. May patrol courthouse, guard court or grand jury, or escort defendants.

Life As a Sheriff or Deputy Sheriff: What Do They Do?

  • Question individuals entering secured areas to determine their business, directing and rerouting individuals as necessary.
  • Drive vehicles or patrol specific areas to detect law violators, issue citations, and make arrests.
  • Verify that the proper legal charges have been made against law offenders.
  • Manage jail operations and tend to jail inmates.
  • Execute arrest warrants, locating and taking persons into custody.
  • Take control of accident scenes to maintain traffic flow, to assist accident victims, and to investigate causes.

Qualities of a Sheriff or Deputy Sheriff

Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Negotiation: Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.

  • Deputy Certified Sheriff
  • Chief Deputy Sheriff
  • Sheriff
  • Lieutenant/Deputy
  • Special Deputy

Job Outlook for Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs

In the United States, there were 684,200 jobs for Sheriff or Deputy Sheriff in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 7% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 47,700 new jobs for Sheriff or Deputy Sheriff by 2026. There will be an estimated 49,500 positions for Sheriff or Deputy Sheriff per year.


The states with the most job growth for Sheriff or Deputy Sheriff are Utah, Texas, and Nevada. Watch out if you plan on working in New Jersey, Maryland, or Alaska. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Do Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs Make A Lot Of Money?

The salary for Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs ranges between about $35,750 and $101,620 a year.


Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs who work in California, New Jersey, or Alaska, make the highest salaries.

How much do Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $45,930
Alaska $88,030
Arizona $64,640
Arkansas $39,560
California $101,380
Colorado $72,950
Connecticut $71,920
Delaware $70,000
District of Columbia $74,940
Florida $59,610
Georgia $42,990
Hawaii $74,040
Idaho $53,880
Illinois $75,720
Indiana $55,310
Iowa $58,340
Kansas $48,350
Kentucky $45,600
Louisiana $41,550
Maine $49,840
Maryland $68,230
Massachusetts $69,870
Michigan $56,270
Minnesota $69,060
Mississippi $35,550
Missouri $48,920
Montana $56,230
Nebraska $57,530
Nevada $70,450
New Hampshire $58,120
New Jersey $83,720
New Mexico $51,250
New York $74,860
North Carolina $48,420
North Dakota $57,190
Ohio $61,040
Oklahoma $46,120
Oregon $70,360
Pennsylvania $66,600
Rhode Island $60,890
South Carolina $42,280
South Dakota $48,550
Tennessee $44,600
Texas $61,870
Utah $53,890
Vermont $52,940
Virginia $56,710
Washington $77,670
West Virginia $43,590
Wisconsin $62,040
Wyoming $55,050

What Tools do Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Web browser software
  • Microsoft Access
  • Email software
  • Word processing software
  • Microsoft Windows
  • Microsoft Visio
  • Database software
  • ESRI ArcView
  • Corel WordPerfect Office Suite
  • IBM Lotus 1-2-3
  • National Crime Information Center NCIC database
  • Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System IAFIS
  • Law enforcement information databases
  • National Integrated Ballistics Information Network NIBIN
  • Computer aided dispatch software

Becoming a Sheriff or Deputy Sheriff

What kind of Sheriff or Deputy Sheriff requirements are there?


What work experience do I need to become a Sheriff or Deputy Sheriff?


Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs Sector


The table below shows the approximate number of Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs employed by various industries.


Those interested in being a Sheriff or Deputy Sheriff may also be interested in:

Career changers with experience as a Sheriff or Deputy Sheriff sometimes find work in one of the following fields:


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More about our data sources and methodologies.

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