Head up the law enforcement for an entire county.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$32,000 – $84,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Sheriffs do?

The job of a Sheriff might seem identical to that of any other Police Chief, just with a different title. But this isn’t entirely true. Although their day-to-day responsibilities look similar, the things that make the position of Sheriff different are in the area they’re in charge of and the way they get hired.

Unlike a Police Chief who oversees a city or entire state, you, as a Sheriff, are the head of law enforcement for a county. A county is a large area of land that can include many different cities. It’s the division of government right below a state.

You can handle criminal cases that overlap multiple cities, or patrol the areas outside city police jurisdiction. Often, you function as the Chief of Police in towns that are too small to have their own force.

In order to get this job, you need to be voted into office by the people you’ll be serving. Elections are usually held every four years, though in some states, it’s every two. You need excellent people skills because getting elected means you need to campaign and get people to like you enough to vote for you.

The day-to-day responsibilities of this job look a lot like any other law enforcement position. You uphold laws by making arrests, serving papers (like divorce or search warrants), answering emergency calls, and protecting members of the courts, especially Judges or jurors. You also collaborate with other police units to solve cases and catch criminals. In general, your duties are to keep citizens safe and keep the peace.

Should I be a Sheriff?

You should have a certificate degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.

  • Also known as: County Sheriff

    How to become a Sheriff

    Most Sheriffs have an Associate's degree or a Certificate. Chart?chd=s:92saaa&chl=no+college+%2839%25%29|certificate+%2834%25%29|associate%27s+%2828%25%29|||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,39,39
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