Career Detail

“Call Me Your Honor”
Judges preside over court cases, apply the law, and oversee the legal process in courts.
The Job
The most visible responsibility of judges is presiding over trials or hearings and listening as attorneys represent their clients. Judges rule on the admissibility of evidence and the methods of conducting testimony, and they may be called on to settle disputes between opposing attorneys. Judges must ensure that trials and hearings are conducted fairly and that the court safeguards the legal rights of all parties involved. Judges' duties vary according to the extent of their jurisdictions and powers; general trial court judges, federal and state appellate judges, and administrative law judges are the most common. Judges typically work a standard 40-hour week, but many work more than 50 hours per week.
Work Environment
Most of their work in offices, law libraries, and courtrooms.
College Majors
Law Degree
Minimum Qualifications
Judges and magistrates must be appointed or elected. Federal and State judges usually are required to be lawyers, which means that they have attended law school and passed an examination.
Personality traits helpful for this career
Fair, detail oriented
Quick Facts
  • Overall employment is projected to grow more slowly than average
  • Some judges are employed part time and divide their time between their judicial responsibilities and other careers.
  • Administrative Office of the United States Courts Internet:
Compensation and Outlook
Judges, magistrate judges, and magistrates had median annual wages of $110,220 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $51,760 and $141,190. The top 10 percent earned more than $162,140, while the bottom 10 percent earned less than $32,290.
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Job Growth Outlook
Hyper growth industry Hyper growth industry
Average growth Average growth
Declining job market Declining job market
No growth No growth
Dead end profession dead end profession

H.S. diploma H.S. diploma
BA Degree BA Degree
Masters Degree Masters Degree
Doctorate,MD,PHD,JD Doctorate,MD,PHD,JD

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