Sheriffs are elected in most counties across the US, as opposed to being hired. They are the chief law enforcement officials for the county they work in and their job is to oversee all patrol officers and ensure that the law is being upheld, among other things.

Should I Become a Sheriff in Alabama?

Alabama has 67 counties. All sheriffs in this state are a part of the Alabama Sheriffs Association which was created in 1889. The ASA is responsible for training, educating and providing legal as well as legislative aid to its sheriffs.

Pros Cons
  • Education Required
  • Major Requirement
  • License/Certification
  • Experience/Training
  • Key Skills
  • Annual Mean Salary (2019) – Alabama
  • Annual Mean Salary (2019) – National
  • Job Outlook (2018-2028)
  • A college degree (an associate’s or bachelor’s degree)
  • Criminal Justice or a relevant subject
  • Not required
  • Training at a Police Academy is required
  • Integrity, Attention to Detail, Physical Stamina; Leadership, Problem-solving, Communication, Interpersonal, Observational Skills etc.
  • $71,850 (for First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives)
  • $94,950 (for First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives)
  • 5% (Police and Detectives)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019)

Career Outlook

According to data reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2019, there were 1,090 First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives employed in Alabama State. At a national level, New York was listed with the highest employment rate (13,230) and, California was named as the highest paying state ($158,120) for this profession.

Steps to Becoming a Sheriff in Alabama

If you want to join the ASA as a sheriff, this guide can give you a basic idea of the election process.

  1. Graduate From a Police Academy

If you want to work as a sheriff, you must begin as a police or patrol officer. To get hired as a police officer, you need to get recruited and train and graduate from a Police Academy.

  1. Gain Field Experience

All aspiring candidates need to have served a police or patrol officers in the field for up to 5 years prior to filing an application to become the sheriff.

  1. Earn a College Degree

Some counties in Alabama may not mandate a college degree however, they do prefer electing candidates who possess higher educational credentials. Other counties that require you to gain higher education recommend that candidates must at least get an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice or a relevant subject.

  1. Meet the County’s Requirements

All counties have their own specific set of requirements which must be fulfilled. If you want county specific information, please contact the local sheriff’s office.

  1. Run for the Office

After the local county has approved the paperwork you submitted, you can plan and run your campaigns with the funds you raise.

  1. Get Elected as a Sheriff

Once elected as a sheriff, you must assume your duties after signing a 4-year term contract. Some counties have shorter terms and you must re-run for sheriff’s office after the term expires.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Sheriff in Alabama?

Since all sheriffs begin their career as a police/patrol officer, it can take almost 6 to 8 years for you to become a Sheriff. Although the duration may vary from person to person and county to county.

What Are the Requirements of Becoming a Sheriff in Alabama?

The requirements vary by the county, but generally, all candidates must:

  • Be at least 18 years old (some counties require candidates to be at least 21)
  • Be legal US citizens
  • Be residents of the county and should have lived there for at least a year prior to applying
  • Have graduated from a Police Academy
  • Have served as a police officer for up to 5 years
    • Some counties may substitute police work with that of a judge
  • Have graduated from an associate’s degree at least
    • Some counties may not require a college degree
  • Have formally applied for the Office of Sheriff
  • Campaign to get elected
  • Be physically and mentally fit to work as a sheriff

How Much Can I Make as a Sheriff in Alabama?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the annual mean salary of First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives working in the state of Alabama was $71,850 in 2019.