You've probably heard of the term 'D.A.' in crime shows and police movies, but what exactly does a D.A. or district attorney do?

By definition, a district attorney is a lawyer who is elected by local government officials to represent the state government in criminal cases that are brought in a judicial district. Their duties include reviewing police reports, determining whether to charge the arrested people and prosecuting cases in court.

As you would probably expect, the job of a district attorney is far from easy. They usually manage a large amount of caseload to prepare for hearings or litigation. On top of that, they also perform various admin tasks like issuing subpoenas and screening depositions apart from their main duties in court.

The road to becoming a district attorney is a long one. An aspiring D.A. will have to earn an American Bar Association (ABA) accredited bachelor's degree, go to law school, complete an internship, pass the bar, get trial experience, and finally, succeed in enough cases to become selected as the district attorney.

If this sounds like a lot of work, consider it as an investment for a yearly salary that can go up to around $76,000 a year.

What Does a District Attorney Do

There are certain skills that many district attorneys have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed analytical skills, interpersonal skills and problem-solving skills.

Learn more about what a District Attorney does

How To Become a District Attorney

If you're interested in becoming a district attorney, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 51.7% of district attorneys have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 6.1% of district attorneys have master's degrees. Even though most district attorneys have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

District Attorney Career Paths

Average Salary for a District Attorney

District Attorneys in America make an average salary of $72,965 per year or $35 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $107,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $49,000 per year.
Average District Attorney Salary
$72,965 Yearly
$35.08 hourly
$49,000
10 %
$72,000
Median
$107,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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District Attorney Education

District Attorney Majors

32.7 %

District Attorney Degrees

Bachelors

51.7 %

Doctorate

30.1 %

Associate

8.0 %

Top Colleges for District Attorneys

1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,987
Enrollment
18,946

2. University of Chicago

Chicago, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$58,230
Enrollment
6,600

3. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,610
Enrollment
40,329

4. Northeastern University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,522
Enrollment
13,760

5. Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL • Private

In-State Tuition
$5,656
Enrollment
32,072

6. University of Richmond

University of Richmond, VA • Private

In-State Tuition
$52,610
Enrollment
3,215

7. University of California - Davis

Davis, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$14,402
Enrollment
30,698

8. University of Washington

Seattle, WA • Private

In-State Tuition
$11,207
Enrollment
30,905

9. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

10. University of Georgia

Athens, GA • Private

In-State Tuition
$11,830
Enrollment
29,474

Top Skills For a District Attorney

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 12.9% of district attorneys listed legal advice on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and interpersonal skills are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable District Attorney Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use District Attorney templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your District Attorney resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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District Attorney Demographics

District Attorney Gender Distribution

Female
Female
54%
Male
Male
46%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among district attorneys, 54.4% of them are women, while 45.6% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among district attorneys is White, which makes up 79.8% of all district attorneys.

  • The most common foreign language among district attorneys is Spanish at 50.0%.

Online Courses For District Attorney That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  The courses listed below are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the course, we may receive a commission.
International Law In Action: Investigating and Prosecuting International Crimes
coursera

'Investigating and Prosecuting International Crimes' is the second course in Leiden University's new series on International Law in Action. The first course covered international courts and tribunals in The Hague in general. This second course provides an insider perspective into the work of international criminal courts and tribunals. You will learn about the investigation and prosecution of international crimes in The Hague. Atrocities produce unspeakable forms of violence. We will explore whe...

Introduction to International Criminal Law
coursera

About the Course - From the Nuremberg trial to the case against Saddam Hussein, from the prosecution of Al-Qaeda terrorists to the trial of Somali pirates - no area of law is as important to world peace and security as international criminal law. Taught by one of the world's leading experts in the field, this course will educate students about the fundamentals of international criminal law and policy. We will explore the contours of international crimes such as genocide, war crimes, terrorism, a...

Criminal Law in 120 Minutes: A Fast Track Course
udemy
4.8
(289)

A 2 hour fast track summary of Criminal Law, targeting all common law LL.B examinations!...

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Best States For a District Attorney

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a district attorney. The best states for people in this position are California, Washington, New Jersey, and Nevada. District attorneys make the most in California with an average salary of $103,915. Whereas in Washington and New Jersey, they would average $83,688 and $82,177, respectively. While district attorneys would only make an average of $81,488 in Nevada, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. California

Total District Attorney Jobs:
803
Highest 10% Earn:
$166,000
Location Quotient:
1.2 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. District of Columbia

Total District Attorney Jobs:
156
Highest 10% Earn:
$137,000
Location Quotient:
4.07 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Georgia

Total District Attorney Jobs:
299
Highest 10% Earn:
$117,000
Location Quotient:
1.27 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For District Attorneys

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