Judge: Career Profile, Job Outlook, and Educational Requirements

To become a judge, you must be a lawyer in good standing and able to be impartial and separate fact from opinion. Learn about the job outlook and educational requirements for judges. Schools offering Juris Doctor degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is the Career Profile for Judges?

Judges are appointed or elected officials who oversee court proceedings during criminal and civil trials and hearings. In this position, you ensure that procedural rules and standards are adhered to and the rules of conduct are followed by lawyers, court personnel and litigants. You also determine the credibility of witnesses. When overseeing civil cases, you may award monetary damages to the prevailing parties. In criminal cases, you hand down jail sentences and impose fines in accordance with government regulations.

You may also advise juries as to laws, give rulings as to whether or not evidence is admissible in court and make decisions regarding which cases will go to trial. Part of the job also involves researching legal precedents and overseeing clerical and administrative workers. You may divide your time between the courtroom, legal libraries and your office. It isn't unusual for a work week to be upwards of 50 hours.

What Is the Job Outlook?

You may find employment with local, state and federal governments. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for judges was expected to grow at a rate of only four percent through 2018 (www.bls.gov). The reason for slow growth was believed to be state and federal budget cuts, which were projected to occur despite rising crime rates and increasing caseloads. These issues, along with the fact that the prestige of judgeship draws many to the field, ensured there would be continued competition for those jobs.

It was believed, however, that there may be a growing need for judges due to the necessity of settling disputes, increasing numbers of immigrants and the need for policies and strategies to counteract elder abuse. Average annual salaries for judges and magistrate judges who worked in local government were approximately $105,390 in 2010, according to the BLS.

What Educational Requirements Must I Fulfill?

If you'd like to become a judge, you must obtain at least a bachelor's degree and some related work experience. However, the majority of judges were once lawyers. A law degree may be mandatory if your goal is to become a state or federal judge appointee. In addition, to work as a federal judge, you'll have to pass an examination given by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

To become a lawyer, you must hold a Juris Doctor (JD) law degree and pass your state's bar examination. Before law school, you need to complete a 4-year bachelor's degree program in any area. To qualify for most law schools, you must take and pass the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Once in law school, curricula might include courses such as constitutional law, criminal law, property, contracts and legal ethics.

Due to the constantly changing and evolving nature of the law, you'll be required to remain informed of new developments regarding the interpretation of the law, and of new laws as they are passed. Most jurisdictions provide initial job training and continuing education courses for judges. Training may be provided through organizations such as the American Bar Association, the Federal Judicial Center and the National Center for State Courts.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:

Popular Schools

  • Kaplan University

    Kaplan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Kaplan University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Walden University

    Walden University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Walden University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    Online and Campus-Based Programs Available:

    View All Locations
    • Anywhere: Online Campus
    • Alabama: Birmingham, Huntsville
    • Columbia (D.C.): Washington
    • Delaware: Newark
    • Florida: Coral Springs, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Maitland, Miami, Miramar, Orlando, Palm Beach Gardens, Tampa
    • Georgia: Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Douglasville, Lithonia, Morrow, Roswell, Savannah
    • Louisiana: Metairie
    • Maryland: Baltimore, Millersville, Owings Mills, Rockville, Suitland
    • Mississippi: Jackson
    • North Carolina: Charlotte, Greensboro, Huntersville, Morrisville, Raleigh
    • New Jersey: Cherry Hill, Lawrenceville, Piscataway, Willingboro
    • Pennsylvania: Center Valley, King of Prussia, Philadelphia, Springfield, Trevose, Warrendale
    • South Carolina: Columbia, Greenville, North Charleston
    • Tennessee: Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville
    • Texas: Austin, Cedar Hill, Dallas, Houston, Irving, Plano, San Antonio, Stafford
    • Virginia: Alexandria, Arlington, Ashburn, Chesapeake, Fredericksburg, Glen Allen, Manassas, Midlothian, Newport News, Virginia Beach, Woodbridge
    • West Virginia: Scott Depot
  • Bryant & Stratton College

    Bryant & Stratton College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Bryant & Stratton College:

    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • The University of Liverpool

    The University of Liverpool responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at The University of Liverpool:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Ashford University

    Ashford University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Ashford University:

    • Bachelor Degrees
      • Bachelor - Social & Criminal Justice

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Brandman University

    Brandman University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Brandman University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online and Campus-Based Programs Available:

    View All Locations
    • Anywhere: Online Campus
    • California: Fairfield, Folsom, Hanford, Irvine, Monterey, Ontario, Palm Desert, Palmdale, Riverside, Roseville, Salida, San Diego, Santa Clarita, Santa Maria, Victorville, Visalia, Walnut Creek, Yuba City
    • Washington: Lacey
  • ITT Technical Institute

    ITT Technical Institute responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at ITT Technical Institute:

    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online and Campus-Based Programs Available:

    View All Locations
    • Anywhere: Online Campus
    • Georgia: Atlanta, Duluth, Kennesaw
    • Illinois: Springfield
    • Pennsylvania: Dunmore, Harrisburg, King of Prussia, Levittown, Pittsburgh, Tarentum
  • Keiser University

    Keiser University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Keiser University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Florida Tech University Online

    Florida Tech University Online responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Florida Tech University Online:

    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • University of Phoenix

    University of Phoenix responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at University of Phoenix:

    Online and Campus-Based Programs Available:

    View All Locations
    • Anywhere: Online Campus
    • Arizona: Mesa, Phoenix, Tempe, Tucson, Yuma
    • California: Bakersfield, Beale AFB, Chula Vista, Costa Mesa, Diamond Bar, El Centro, Fairfield, Fresno, Gardena, La Palma, Lancaster, Lathrop, Murrieta, Ontario, Palm Desert, Pasadena, Sacramento, Salida, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Marcos, Visalia, Woodland Hills
    • Colorado: Colorado Springs, Lone Tree, Westminster
    • Florida: Jacksonville
    • Georgia: Atlanta, Sandy Springs
    • Hawaii: Honolulu, Kapolei
    • New Mexico: Albuquerque, Santa Teresa
    • Nevada: Henderson, Las Vegas
    • Texas: Arlington, Dallas
    • Virginia: Arlington, Glen Allen, Virginia Beach
  • DeVry University

    DeVry University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at DeVry University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online and Campus-Based Programs Available:

    View All Locations
    • Anywhere: Online Campus
    • Arizona: Glendale, Mesa, Phoenix
    • California: Alhambra, Anaheim, Bakersfield, Colton, Daly City, Elk Grove, Fremont, Fresno, Long Beach, Oakland, Oxnard, Palmdale, Pomona, San Diego, San Jose, Sherman Oaks
    • Colorado: Colorado Springs, Greenwood Village, Westminster
    • Florida: Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Miramar, Orlando, Tampa
    • Georgia: Alpharetta, Atlanta, Decatur, Duluth, Stockbridge
    • Illinois: Addison, Chicago, Downers Grove, Elgin, Gurnee, Naperville, Schaumburg, Tinley Park
    • Indiana: Indianapolis, Merrillville
    • Kentucky: Louisville
    • Maryland: Bethesda
    • Michigan: Southfield
    • Minnesota: Edina
    • Missouri: Kansas City, Saint Louis
    • North Carolina: Charlotte, Morrisville
    • New Jersey: Cherry Hill, North Brunswick, Paramus
    • Nevada: Henderson
    • New York: New York, Rego Park
    • Ohio: Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Seven Hills
    • Oklahoma: Oklahoma City
    • Oregon: Portland
    • Pennsylvania: Cranberry Township, Fort Washington, King of Prussia, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh
    • Tennessee: Memphis, Nashville
    • Texas: Austin, Fort Worth, Houston, Irving, Richardson, San Antonio, Sugar Land
    • Utah: Sandy
    • Virginia: Arlington, Chesapeake, Manassas
    • Washington: Bellevue, Federal Way, Lynnwood
    • Wisconsin: Milwaukee, Waukesha
  • Penn Foster Career School

    Penn Foster Career School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster Career School:

    Online Programs Available