We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How Do I Become a Sheriff?

Mary McMahon
Updated Feb 27, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGEEK is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGEEK, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The requirements to become a sheriff usually include successful completion of high school and a law enforcement academy, along with practical experience in law enforcement. In many regions, the sheriff is an elected official and it is necessary to have some political skills to become a sheriff in these areas. In other locations, the position is appointed and public officials select a sheriff on the basis of skills and qualifications. It is possible to transition to a sheriff's department after experience in other areas of law enforcement like military policing.

Sheriffs provide a variety of services to their communities, with a focus on public safety and assistance with law enforcement investigations. In some regions, the sheriff also acts as the coroner and conducts investigations into suspicious deaths. The first step for a person who wants to become a sheriff is to finish high school. Some sheriff's departments preferentially recruit people with two or four year degrees in fields like criminal justice and sociology, and it may be advisable to consider this.

Applicants for positions in sheriff's offices need to be physically fit. It is usually necessary to pass a fitness exam and meet some basic standards for blood pressure and weight. Candidates will also undergo a background check and must pass an entry level law enforcement exam. Some sheriff's offices accept applicants without law enforcement experience and send them to a training academy after hiring. Others want applicants with academy degrees or experience in law enforcement.

An applicant will not immediately take the position of sheriff unless she comes with law enforcement experience and training. Instead, the department will offer a position as a deputy sheriff. After completing a probation period, the new hire will become a member of the sheriff's department and will start building up experience to work his way up through the various pay grades and positions in the department.

To become a sheriff when the position is up to voters, applicants will need to file paperwork indicating their intent to run for office and must mount a successful political campaign. It helps to have the endorsement of the outgoing sheriff, as well as recommendations from community organizations. The sheriff may need to run campaign advertising, participate in local events, and use other tools to connect with the electorate and secure votes. Experience and a proven track record, including recognitions like medals, will appeal to voters.

In cases where the sheriff is not elected, rising through the ranks is the best way to get into position for a promotion to become a sheriff. It is important for deputies to maintain high standards of professionalism and to secure commendations that will go in their files to create a record of conscientious, thoughtful, and attentive duty. When a position as sheriff becomes available, candidates from within the department can apply. It is also possible to apply directly from another department or agency, although there may be a preference for candidates already familiar with a department's procedures and the area.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Read more
WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.