To become a deputy sheriff, an individual needs to have a high school diploma or its equivalent, graduate from an official academy training program, be at least 21 years old, and meet all necessary physical requirements. Prospective deputy sheriffs must also meet certain personal qualifications, such as passing a drug test and a lie detector test. Applicants who have a criminal record or felony conviction are usually disqualified.
Deputy sheriff candidates must be legal citizens of the United States, have valid driver's licenses, and have the strength, vision, hearing and agility necessary to carry out their duties. Candidates must also pass written exams, and candidates who have a background in the military often have an advantage during the hiring process. Candidates who meet all necessary qualifications advance to complete on-the-job training.
Depending on the size of the police department, recruits train at an agency police academy or attend a state or regional academy. Training consists of learning about civil rights, constitutional law, local and state ordinances, and police ethics. Deputy sheriff trainees also learn about traffic control, methods of patrol, emergency response, first aid and the use of firearms.
Individuals who are not yet old enough to apply to become deputy sheriffs may have the option of becoming cadets. Cadets attend classes and do paperwork until they reach 21.