North Carolina (NC) has 100 registered counties and resultantly 100 sheriff offices with the state’s Sheriffs’ Association. Law and order is maintained through these offices operating under the umbrella of the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association (NCSA). It has been in existence since 1922. If you harbor aspirations of becoming a sheriff in NC, then you need to go through this piece, which lists down the requirements to become a sheriff in North Carolina.

Requirements to Become a Sheriff in North Carolina

*Please keep in mind that these are general requirements for working as a sheriff in NC. The actual requirements for individual counties may have some variations. Therefore, you are advised to check the eligibility criteria of the county you live in before applying.

  • Candidate must be a US national, whether by birth or naturalization.
  • Candidate should be aged 18 or more when applying to join the police force.
  • Candidate must have a high school diploma or an alternative GED certificate.
  • Candidate should be a resident of the county he/she wants to become sheriff in. Residency requirements also vary from county to county.

Steps to Become a Sheriff in North Carolina

  1. Undergo police academy training. Exclusive sheriff training programs are also offered by some counties.
  2. After graduating from the police academy, work as an officer for a few years to gain experience. Here as well, different counties have different work experience demands. Some may require you to work for at least 5 years while 12 months may suffice for others.
  3. This is not mandatory, but a college education (associate’s or bachelor’s degree) will certainly enhance your prospects of becoming sheriff in the future. If you go for it, a degree in criminal justice or law enforcement is recommended.
  4. Fulfill the basic requirements t run for sheriff. These include qualifying a written test, undergoing an interview, clearing the physical fitness assessment and passing all background scrutiny.
  5. File the required paperwork with your county to have your name added to the ballot for sheriff.
  6. Run an effective campaign for sheriff by letting voters in your county know why you are the best fit for the job.
  7. Get elected as a sheriff for a term of four years. You can run for reelection after the completion of your term.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Sheriff in North Carolina?

This is a long-term process. You will need to train as a police officer and serve for a number of years in law enforcement (depending on your county) before you can be eligible to run for sheriff. It can take between 3 to 8 years.

How Much Does a Sheriff Make in North Carolina?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives in North Carolina made $69,890 in annual mean wages as of May, 2018. Salaries for sheriffs are expected to be higher.