District Attorney Careers

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.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a district attorney. For example, did you know that they make an average of $30.46 an hour? That's $63,353 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 6% and produce 50,100 job opportunities across the U.S.

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.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a district attorney, we found that a lot of resumes listed 12.9% of district attorneys included legal advice, while 11.7% of resumes included criminal cases, and 10.9% of resumes included pre-trial motions. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the district attorney job title. But what industry to start with? Most district attorneys actually find jobs in the health care and non profits industries.

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 26.6% of district attorneys have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 8.9% 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.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a district attorney. When we researched the most common majors for a district attorney, we found that they most commonly earn doctoral degree degrees or bachelor's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on district attorney resumes include master's degree degrees or associate degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a district attorney. In fact, many district attorney jobs require experience in a role such as law clerk. Meanwhile, many district attorneys also have previous career experience in roles such as internship or legal extern.

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Average Salary
$63,353
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
6%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
5,125
Job Openings

District Attorney Career Paths

Top Careers Before District Attorney

Law Clerk
18.7 %

Top Careers After District Attorney

Attorney
16.1 %

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a District Attorney

District Attorneys in America make an average salary of $63,353 per year or $30 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $88,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $45,000 per year.
Average Salary
$63,353

Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Eureka, CA
Salary Range65k - 111k$86k$85,533
Las Vegas, NV
Salary Range55k - 93k$72k$71,769
Denver, CO
Salary Range51k - 75k$63k$62,527
Bend, OR
Salary Range48k - 74k$60k$60,394
West Palm Beach, FL
Salary Range35k - 73k$51k$50,946
$35k
$111k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
District Attorney-Legal Associate
District Attorney-Legal Associate
Gwinnett County
Gwinnett County
01/25/2021
01/25/2021
$36,71901/25/2021
$36,719
Attorney I-District Attorney
Attorney I-District Attorney
Santa Cruz County, Ca
Santa Cruz County, Ca
01/17/2021
01/17/2021
$108,00001/17/2021
$108,000
Deputy District Attorney I/II/III/IV
Deputy District Attorney I/II/III/IV
County of El Dorado
County of El Dorado
01/14/2021
01/14/2021
$81,26601/14/2021
$81,266
Deputy District Attorney
Deputy District Attorney
Trinity County
Trinity County
12/31/2020
12/31/2020
$76,77212/31/2020
$76,772
District Attorney-Legal Associate
District Attorney-Legal Associate
Gwinnett County
Gwinnett County
12/23/2020
12/23/2020
$36,71912/23/2020
$36,719
See More Recent Salaries

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District Attorney Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a District Attorney. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a District Attorney Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless District Attorney resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

District Attorney Demographics

Gender

female

52.1 %

male

43.0 %

unknown

4.9 %

Ethnicity

White

80.4 %

Hispanic or Latino

6.8 %

Asian

5.4 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

50.0 %

Italian

10.5 %

French

9.3 %
See More Demographics

District Attorney Education

Majors

Law
52.6 %

Degrees

Doctorate

48.8 %

Bachelors

26.6 %

Masters

8.9 %

Top Colleges for District Attorneys

1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Public

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 • Public

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 • Public

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 • Public

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

8. University of Washington

Seattle, WA • Public

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 • Public

In-State Tuition
$11,830
Enrollment
29,474
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

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.

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 Illinois, California, Hawaii, and Arizona. District attorneys make the most in Illinois with an average salary of $86,736. Whereas in California and Hawaii, they would average $78,644 and $76,846, respectively. While district attorneys would only make an average of $75,715 in Arizona, 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:
$134,000
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. Arizona

Total District Attorney Jobs:
137
Highest 10% Earn:
$125,000
Location Quotient:
1.02
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. Illinois

Total District Attorney Jobs:
246
Highest 10% Earn:
$133,000
Location Quotient:
0.9
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
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Top District Attorney Employers

1. Los Angeles County
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$25,055
District Attorneys Hired: 
37+
2. Contra Costa Newspapers
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$78,143
District Attorneys Hired: 
17+
3. Orange County
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$56,878
District Attorneys Hired: 
13+
4. San Diego County Office Of Education
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$84,089
District Attorneys Hired: 
12+
5. San Bernardino County Fire
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$58,363
District Attorneys Hired: 
12+
6. Shasta County
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$81,680
District Attorneys Hired: 
11+
Updated October 2, 2020