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Careers in Criminal Justice: Judges and Hearing Officers



Judges and Hearing Officers


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Quick Facts: Judges and Hearing Officers
2020 Median Pay $124,200 per year
$59.71 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Doctoral or professional degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation 5 years or more
On-the-job Training Short-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2020 44,900
Job Outlook, 2020-30 3% (Slower than average)
Employment Change, 2020-30 1,100

What Judges and Hearing Officers Do

Judges and hearing officers apply the law by overseeing the legal process in courts.

Work Environment

All judges and hearing officers are employed by the federal government or by local and state governments. Most work in courts.

How to Become a Judge or Hearing Officer

Judges usually have law degrees and work experience as lawyers. However, some administrative law judge, hearing officer, and magistrate positions require only a bachelor’s degree.


The median annual wage for administrative law judges, adjudicators, and hearing officers was $97,520 in May 2020.

The median annual wage for judges, magistrate judges, and magistrates was $141,080 in May 2020.

Job Outlook

Overall employment of judges and hearing officers is projected to grow 3 percent from 2020 to 2030, slower than the average for all occupations.

Despite limited employment growth, about 2,200 openings for judges and hearing officers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for judges and hearing officers.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of judges and hearing officers with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about judges and hearing officers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Judges and Hearing Officers, Accessed 16 Dec. 2021.

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, September 8, 2021

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