Judges primarily officiate court proceedings. They are also responsible for signing restraining orders, subpoenas, and other legal documents. Federal judges in the United States have to be appointed or elected to their positions. People who aspire to become a Judge must run for their local elections, garner their state governor's approval, or be directly appointed by the United States President.

Most states require their Judges to have a college diploma, at least. We found that Judges commonly hold specialized degrees in Law, Criminal Justice, Legal Research, and Advanced Professional Studies. Because this is such a high-skill job, many candidates take more time to establish their expertise by pursuing a Master's degree or Doctorate in those fields.

On average, Judges in the United States earn a yearly salary of roughly $196,000. That's more or less $94 an hour. However, top earners can make as much as $265,000 a year.

What Does a Judge Do

Judges and hearing officers apply the law by overseeing the legal process in courts. They also conduct pretrial hearings, resolve administrative disputes, facilitate negotiations between opposing parties, and issue legal decisions.

Learn more about what a Judge does

How To Become a Judge

Judges and hearing officers typically must have a law degree and work experience as a lawyer.

Learn More About How To Become a Judge

Judge Career Paths

Average Salary for a Judge

Judges in America make an average salary of $123,457 per year or $59 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $222,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $68,000 per year.
Average Judge Salary
$123,457 Yearly
$59.35 hourly
$68,000
10 %
$123,000
Median
$222,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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How To Become a Judge
How To Become a Judge Career Overview

States With The Most Judge Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active judge jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where judges earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Judge Jobs By State

RankStateNumber of JobsAverage Salary
1New York78$149,457
2California70$95,152
3Florida59$127,071
4Massachusetts40$102,405
5Texas39$141,565
6Washington25$75,673
7Georgia24$132,264
8Ohio23$94,952
9Minnesota22$88,453
10New Jersey19$149,783
11Illinois17$131,089
12Colorado17$107,631
13Oregon17$102,587
14Missouri16$104,915
15Pennsylvania16$105,918
16Wisconsin16$72,092
17Michigan13$134,772
18Montana13$85,968
19Arizona13$90,503
20Virginia11$81,297
21Louisiana10$98,359
22Wyoming9$89,635
23Oklahoma8$137,488
24Maryland7$102,925
25North Carolina7$97,081
26South Carolina7$92,517
27New Mexico6$153,754
28Maine6$72,242
29Nevada5$119,470
30Iowa4$127,508
31New Hampshire4$98,923
32Alabama4$95,129
33Indiana4$73,625
34Tennessee3$131,628
35Utah3$122,615
36Connecticut3$105,213
37Alaska3$75,617
38Kansas2$129,655
39Rhode Island2$104,778
40Mississippi1$110,977
41North Dakota1$96,083
42Kentucky1$92,402
43Idaho1$76,880
44Arkansas0$133,194
45West Virginia0$111,208
46Delaware0$104,518
47Nebraska0$101,640
48Vermont0$93,067
49South Dakota0$84,636
50Hawaii0$57,481

Judge Education

Judge Majors

23.6 %
10.7 %

Judge Degrees

Bachelors

58.9 %

Doctorate

17.2 %

Masters

10.1 %

Top Colleges for Judges

1. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

2. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

3. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

4. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

5. Yale University

New Haven, CT • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,430
Enrollment
5,963

6. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,188
Enrollment
15,105

7. Georgetown University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,104
Enrollment
7,089

8. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Private

In-State Tuition
$15,262
Enrollment
30,079

9. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

10. University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, IN • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,391
Enrollment
8,568

Top Skills For a Judge

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, 18.2% of judges listed legal issues on their resume, but soft skills such as listening skills and reading skills are important as well.

  • Legal Issues, 18.2%
  • Civil Law, 14.5%
  • International Law, 13.9%
  • Legal Services, 12.4%
  • Defense Counsel, 12.1%
  • Other Skills, 28.9%

Choose From 10+ Customizable Judge Resume templates

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

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Judge Demographics

Judge Gender Distribution

Male
Male
50%
Female
Female
50%

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

  • Among judges, 49.7% of them are women, while 50.3% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among judges is White, which makes up 79.6% of all judges.

  • The most common foreign language among judges is Spanish at 42.4%.

Work Experience Programs For Judges

Virtual work experience programs replicate work at top companies and help you gain the skills to be successful when applying and working there. In only a few hours, learn the relevant tools necessary to complete a typical work day at that company. Virtual work experience programs are 100% free, open-access, and self-paced. No experience or application is required!

Law and Fintech Program

Company: Freshfields UK

Cost: Free

Duration: 4-6 hours

Criminal Law Program

Company: Leo Cussen

Cost: Free

Duration: 3-4 hours

Commercial Law Program

Company: Linklaters Hong Kong SAR

Cost: Free

Duration: 6-7 hours

Law School Experience Program

Company: Winston & Strawn

Cost: Free

Duration: 6-7 hours

Introduction to Law Program

Company: Monash University

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Consulting Solutions in the Legal Industry Program

Company: MinterEllison

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Human Rights Law Program

Company: Leo Cussen

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Intellectual Property Program

Company: White & Case USA

Cost: Free

Duration: 11.5 - 13.5 hours

Commercial Law Program

Company: Orrick USA

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Patent Law Program

Company: Kilpatrick Townsend

Cost: Free

Duration: 7-8 hours

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About this Course This four-week course titled AI and Law explores the way in which the increasing use of artificially intelligent technologies (AI) affects the practice and administration of law defined in a broad sense. Subject matters discussed include the connection be between AI and Law in the context of legal responsibility, law-making, law-enforcing, criminal law, the medical sector and intellectual property law. The course aims to equip members of the general public with an elementary ab...

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Best States For a Judge

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a judge. The best states for people in this position are New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, and Texas. Judges make the most in New Mexico with an average salary of $153,754. Whereas in New Jersey and New York, they would average $149,783 and $149,457, respectively. While judges would only make an average of $141,565 in Texas, 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. New Mexico

Total Judge Jobs:
6
Highest 10% Earn:
$237,000
Location Quotient:
1.32

2. New York

Total Judge Jobs:
78
Highest 10% Earn:
$231,000
Location Quotient:
2.63

3. Oklahoma

Total Judge Jobs:
8
Highest 10% Earn:
$219,000
Location Quotient:
1.12
Full List Of Best States For Judges

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Top Judge Employers

Most Common Employers For Judge

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1Shell$164,209$78.952
2Denver International Airport$136,417$65.592
3James & Co.$124,494$59.853
4DCI$111,765$53.733
5United States Courts$102,635$49.3417
6UIL Holdings$93,760$45.083
7Muslim Interscholastic Tournament$86,669$41.672
8Jefferson County Public Library$79,635$38.292
9Aramark$72,099$34.662
10Washington State University$71,215$34.242

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