Sheriffs and deputy sheriffs enforce the law on the county level. Sheriffs are usually responsible for providing bailiffs for the county courts and for running the county detention facilities.
In some counties, deputy sheriffs serve as bailiffs and jailers and that is all they do, because law enforcement patrol work is handled by city police departments. In some counties, deputy sheriffs handle law enforcement and patrol duties in unincorporated areas. In counties with small cities, many times the Sheriff's Department will contract with a city or several cities to provide patrol and law enforcement duties.
Applicants for the position of sheriff's deputy in most counties will find that there is a requirement for some college education. Often the job classification calls for a bachelors degree in criminal justice, or an associates degree in a related field and some experience relevant to the job.
The U.S. Department of Labor estimates the number of policemen, detectives and sheriff's deputies at 861,000 in 2006. Sheriff's Deputies account for approximately a quarter of that number.
The number of positions for sheriffs deputies will grow at about the same pace as the overall rate of job growth. Entry level opportunities should be excellent however, due to retirements and departures by sheriffs deputies to work in police departments or at the state or federal level.
Lowest 10% $13.86 $28.820
Median Salary $23.86 $49,630
Highest 10% $36.37 $75,650
Note: These salaries are for sheriffs' deputies that perform patrol functions. Deputies who serve as bailiffs or jailers may work at a lower pay rate.