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Career profile Judge

Also known as Circuit Court Judge, Circuit Judge, County Judge, Court of Appeals Judge, District Court Judge, Judge, Justice of the Peace, Magisterial District Judge, Magistrate, Superior Court Judge

Judge

Also known as Circuit Court Judge, Circuit Judge, County Judge

Interests Profile
  • Enterprising
  • Social
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$40,270 - $208,000+ (annual)
Required Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Critical Thinking
  • Reading Comprehension
Knowledge Areas
  • Law and Government
  • Administration and Management
  • Psychology
Core tasks
  • Sentence defendants in criminal cases, on conviction by jury, according to applicable government statutes.
  • Rule on custody and access disputes, and enforce court orders regarding custody and support of children.
  • Monitor proceedings to ensure that all applicable rules and procedures are followed.
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What does a Judge do?

Judges arbitrate, advise, adjudicate, or administer justice in a court of law.

In addition, Judges

  • 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.

What kind of tasks does a Judge perform regularly?

Judges are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Sentence defendants in criminal cases, on conviction by jury, according to applicable government statutes.
  • Monitor proceedings to ensure that all applicable rules and procedures are followed.
  • Instruct juries on applicable laws, direct juries to deduce the facts from the evidence presented, and hear their verdicts.
  • Read documents on pleadings and motions to ascertain facts and issues.
  • Preside over hearings and listen to allegations made by plaintiffs to determine whether the evidence supports the charges.
  • Write decisions on cases.
  • Rule on admissibility of evidence and methods of conducting testimony.
  • Advise attorneys, juries, litigants, and court personnel regarding conduct, issues, and proceedings.
  • Award compensation for damages to litigants in civil cases in relation to findings by juries or by the court.
  • Research legal issues and write opinions on the issues.
  • Interpret and enforce rules of procedure or establish new rules in situations where there are no procedures already established by law.
  • Issue arrest warrants.
  • Settle disputes between opposing attorneys.
  • Impose restrictions upon parties in civil cases until trials can be held.
  • Supervise other judges, court officers, and the court's administrative staff.

The above responsibilities are specific to Judges. More generally, Judges are involved in several broader types of activities:

Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Processing Information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

What is a Judge salary?

The median salary for a Judge is $141,080, and the average salary is $131,850. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Judge salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Judges earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Judges earn less than $40,270 per year, 25% earn less than $81,100, 75% earn less than $174,050, and 90% earn more than $208,000.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Judges is expected to change by 3.4%, and there should be roughly 1,500 open positions for Judges every year.

Median annual salary
$141,080
Typical salary range
$40,270 - Over $208,000
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
3.4%

What personality traits are common among Judges?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Judge are usually higher in their Enterprising, Social, and Conventional interests.

Judges typically have very strong Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Also, Judges typically have strong Social interests. Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Lastly, Judges typically have moderate Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Judge tend to value Independence, Relationships, and Recognition.

Most importantly, Judges very strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Second, Judges very strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Lastly, Judges very strongly value Recognition. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Judges must consistently demonstrate qualities such as integrity, stress tolerance, and self-control.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Judges, ranked by importance:

Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
Self-Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.

What education and training do Judges need?

Many Judges have earned a graduate degree. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a doctoral degree, such as a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D..

Judges may need some on-the-job training, but most candidates will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

Educational degrees among Judges

  • 0.2% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 0.5% completed high school or secondary school
  • 0.7% completed some college coursework
  • 0.4% earned a Associate's degree
  • 5.5% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 4.0% earned a Master's degree
  • 88.6% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Judges

Judges may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as law and government, administration and management, or psychology knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Judges might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Law and Government
Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Psychology
Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.

Important Abilities needed by Judges

Judges must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Judges need abilities such as deductive reasoning, oral comprehension, and written comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Judges, ranked by their relative importance.

Deductive Reasoning
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Inductive Reasoning
The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Critical Skills needed by Judges

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Judges frequently use skills like active listening, critical thinking, and reading comprehension to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Judges, ranked by their relative importance.

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.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Judgment and Decision Making
Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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