Court Clerk Job Description, Career as a Court Clerk, Salary, Employment
Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job
Education and Training Varies—see profile
Salary Median—$27,300 per year
Employment Outlook Very good
Definition and Nature of the Work
Court clerks are responsible for the administrative work of the city, county, state, and federal court systems. Their duties often depend on which courts they serve.
In all courts, they record and transcribe the minutes of proceedings, prepare the docket of scheduled cases, and administer the oath to jurors and witnesses. Some clerks have special duties, such as processing passports or swearing in new citizens. Clerks in the larger courts direct a staff or department and spend much of their time reviewing legal papers and conferring with lawyers and judges on court matters.
Assistant court clerks, or deputy clerks, prepare reports and court forms, such as petitions and warrants, and process court decisions for publication. They may impanel jurors and provide information on court procedures.
Education and Training Requirements
Applicants must have high school diplomas or the equivalent, although two years of college or business school may be required. Bachelor's degrees are preferred, and many federal court clerks have master's degrees or law degrees. Candidates should be skilled in word processing, bookkeeping, business and personnel management, accounting, and budgeting.
English skills are essential, and knowledge of foreign languages can be helpful in some areas of the United States. Discretion, good judgment, and integrity are crucial.
Getting the Job
Job seekers can apply directly to local, state, and federal court offices. School placement offices may have information about job openings.
Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook
Advancement depends on experience, skill in handling responsibilities, additional education, and test performance. Assistant or deputy court clerks can become chief deputy clerks or court clerks. Clerks can also advance by moving from city or county courts to state or federal courts. Some court clerks become legal aides, parole or probation officers, or lawyers.
The job outlook for court clerks is very good through 2014. Because the judicial system is becoming more complex, court clerks are needed to keep the courts running efficiently.
Although their offices and courtrooms are comfortable and well lit, court clerks often find their work stressful because of the exacting nature of their duties and the strict time limits in which they must accomplish them. They work with computers, stenotype and copy machines, microfilm, and card indexes.
Earnings and Benefits
Salaries for court clerks vary according to the type and size of the court, the responsibilities involved, and the experience and level of education attained. In 2004 the median salary was $27,300 per year. Most clerks receive benefits such as health insurance, paid holidays and vacations, and retirement plans.
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