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What Do Judge or Magistrate Do?

Career Description Arbitrate, advise, adjudicate, or administer justice in a court of law. May sentence defendant in criminal cases according to government statutes or sentencing guidelines. May determine liability of defendant in civil cases. May perform wedding ceremonies.

A Day in the Life of a Judge or Magistrate

  • Advise attorneys, juries, litigants, and court personnel regarding conduct, issues, and proceedings.
  • Grant divorces and divide assets between spouses.
  • Write decisions on cases.
  • Settle disputes between opposing attorneys.
  • Conduct preliminary hearings to decide issues such as whether there is reasonable and probable cause to hold defendants in felony cases.
  • Rule on custody and access disputes, and enforce court orders regarding custody and support of children.

Things a Judge or Magistrate Should Know How to Do

These are the skills Judges, and Magistrates say are the most useful in their careers:

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

  • District Associate Judge
  • Juvenile Court Judge
  • Legal Referee
  • Appeals Court Associate Justice
  • Municipal Court Magistrate

Is There Job Demand for Judges, and Magistrates?

In the United States, there were 28,400 jobs for Judge or Magistrate in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 5.6% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 1,600 new jobs for Judge or Magistrate by 2026. The BLS estimates 1,400 yearly job openings in this field.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Judges, and Magistrates in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Judge or Magistrate are Utah, Nevada, and Texas. Watch out if you plan on working in Maryland, New Jersey, or Wyoming. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

What is the Average Salary of a Judge or Magistrate

Judges, and Magistrates make between $34,790 and $193,330 a year.

Salary Ranges for Judges, and Magistrates

Judges, and Magistrates who work in California, Connecticut, or Nevada, make the highest salaries.

How much do Judges, and Magistrates make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $59,780
Arizona $108,080
Arkansas $122,840
California $178,700
Colorado $150,890
Connecticut $160,410
Delaware $140,680
Florida $140,720
Georgia $108,150
Indiana $122,510
Iowa $82,240
Kansas $87,270
Kentucky $130,230
Maine $109,730
Maryland $145,960
Minnesota $135,730
Mississippi $50,640
Missouri $127,270
Montana $52,370
Nevada $156,290
New Jersey $126,760
New Mexico $82,460
New York $158,970
North Dakota $132,550
Ohio $90,960
Oklahoma $77,130
Oregon $127,800
Pennsylvania $60,120
South Carolina $68,080
South Dakota $85,710
Tennessee $111,440
Texas $90,350
Utah $102,340
Washington $124,440
West Virginia $80,990
Wisconsin $114,820

What Tools & Technology do Judges, and Magistrates Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Judges, and Magistrates:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office
  • Web browser software
  • Email software
  • Word processing software
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
  • LexisNexis
  • Online databases
  • Videoconferencing software
  • Instant messaging software
  • Thomson Reuters WestLaw
  • Courtroom scheduling software

How do I Become a Judge or Magistrate?

Individuals working as a Judge or Magistrate have obtained the following education levels:

Judge or Magistrate Degree Level

How Long Does it Take to Become a Judge or Magistrate?

Judge or Magistrate Work Experience

Where do Judges, and Magistrates Work?

Judge or Magistrate Sectors

The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.

Judge or Magistrate Industries


Image Credit: Okan Г‡alД±Еџkan via CC0 Public Domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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