There are 120 elected sheriffs in Kentucky serving the state’s 120 counties under the umbrella of the Kentucky Sheriffs’ Association. The organization is committed to providing complete assistance to sheriffs as they work around the clock to maintain law and order in the Bluegrass State. If you want to become a Kentucky sheriff too, go through this guide.

Kentucky Sheriff Requirements

  • Should have reached the age of 18 at least.
  • Must be a legal citizen of the USA.
  • Should possess a high school diploma or an alternative GED certificate at least.
  • Fulfill all requirements concerning residency in the county where you intend to run for sheriff.


*Please note that the information mentioned above applies loosely to the whole of Kentucky. All counties have their own separate (and somewhat differing) requirements for the job. So, be sure to check out the specific criteria of your chosen county.

Process of Becoming a Sheriff in Kentucky

  1. Start and complete law enforcement training at a police academy. There are sheriff-specific training courses in some counties as well.
  2. Obtain law enforcement experience by working as an officer after the completion of training. Different counties tend to have different minimum work experience requirements. You might have to work 5 years or more in some places while 12 months may be enough in a few others.
  3. Go for higher studies. It isn’t compulsory but doing so will certainly increase your chances of getting elected as a sheriff in your chosen county. Voters are more likely to choose well-educated individuals for this position of great significance. Therefore, if you plan to study further, try opting for an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement, criminology, psychology, criminal justice, or a related field.
  4. Pass the initial evaluation phase. This includes a written exam, an interview, a physical fitness assessment and thorough background scrutiny.
  5. Complete and submit the necessary paperwork with your county to enter the race for becoming sheriff.
  6. Run a well-designed campaign that convinces voters that you are the person for the role.
  7. Secure the position of a sheriff for a specified term. When this is over, you can run for re-election to the coveted office.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Kentucky Sheriff?

To become a sheriff in Kentucky, you will have to undergo police academy training and then serve as an officer for a few years. The total time you work as an officer will depend on the county where you intend to become sheriff. Different counties have different work experience criteria. You might need as little as 3 years and as much as 7 to 8 years to become a sheriff in the Bluegrass State.

How Much Do Sheriffs Make In Kentucky?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean wage of First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives in Kentucky was recorded at $65,430 in May, 2018.