Quick Facts: Judges and Hearing Officers
2012 Median Pay $102,980 per year
$49.51 per hour
Entry-Level Education Doctoral or professional degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation See How to Become One
On-the-job Training Short-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2012 43,200
Job Outlook, 2012-22 1% (Little or no change)
Employment Change, 2012-22 400

What Judges and Hearing Officers 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.

Work Environment

All judges and hearing officers are employed by local, state, and federal governments. Most work in courts. The majority work full time.

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 only require a bachelor’s degree.


In May 2012, the median annual wage for judges, magistrate judges and magistrates was $115,760. The median annual wage for administrative law judges, adjudicators and hearing officers was $87,240 in May 2012.

Job Outlook

Employment of judges and hearing officers is projected to show little or no change from 2012 to 2022.  The number of federal and state judgeships is projected to remain steady because nearly every new position for a judge must be authorized and approved by legislature.


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