Order in the Court! Your Guide to a Career as a Court Clerk

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Jan 8, 2019

Jan 8, 2019 • by Rebecca Smith

With the United State's overall population trending upwards, big cities are getting bigger, and quiet communities are getting put on the map.

Those increases in activity have brought about increased pressure on courts to put in place the workers necessary to accommodate their communities.

All of that has led to an explosion in demand for court clerks.

While a lot of people are familiar with legal professions like judges, lawyers, and paralegals, many have never heard of court clerks and aren't aware of the value they bring to the judicial system.

Below, our team offers a comprehensiveness guide covering everything from what court clerks do to how to become one in hopes of turning you onto what could be a lucrative and fulfilling career!

What Is a Court Clerk?

A court clerk is an instrumental position within the court system whose job is centered on performing administrative duties that assist officers, lawyers, judges and more.

Duties that one can expect to handle as a court clerk are as follows:

  • Receiving and documenting legal papers submitted to the court
  • Preparing meetings and crafting agendas
  • Light bookkeeping and accounting
  • Correspondeing with external and internal entities
  • Managing the collection of court fees
  • Documenting information for judges
  • Completing general office work as is required

Bottom line, as a court clerk, you're an arbiter of information and organization. If someone comes to you requesting information on these tips they got when served court papers, you'll likely be the one to answer. If a judge requests information regarding a case they'll be presiding over later in the day, you'll be in charge of supplying that information.

How to Become a Court Clerk

Becoming a court clerk does not require a specific educational background since the position mostly revolves around superb organizational and communication skills. Still, while not required, there are some educational goals worth pursuing to increase your chances of standing out among candidates.

As far as school goes, consider getting an associate's degree in criminal justice and/or getting certificated in administrative assisting. These degrees/accreditations will help you look good on paper and will also prepare you to be successful as soon as you start working.

In regard to specific hard and soft qualities, most courts will be looking for in candidates, you'll want to consider being prepared to exhibit the following skills:

  • Listening
  • Communicating
  • Writing
  • Time Management
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Service Orientedness
  • Negotiation
  • Technological Proficiency
  • Finance
  • Organization
  • Knowledge of Legal Procedure

The list above is by no means comprehensive but is a good jumping off point when it comes to the big-ticket items you'll want to showcase to prospective employers.

What Does the Court Clerk Hiring Process Look Like?

The hiring process when it comes to court clerks is similar to the process incurred when getting hired for any public-sector position.

You'll start by applying for open jobs which can typically be found on your county's website. After applying, you'll be subjected to both a background check and a drug test.

If the outcome of those is favorable, you'll get scheduled for an interview.

Interviews for court clerks are typically 2 rounds long, and they're 3 if you phone screening interviews. It's important to note that some court clerks of specific titles in certain districts get elected rather than appointed.

Is There on the Job Training?

Typically, court clerks will get trained when they start their job. While there may be some expectation as far as base knowledge goes when it comes to legal proceedings and administrative tasks, it's well known that different courts have different ways of going about tasks.

That understanding means that the person in charge of overseeing your work should be open to bringing you up to speed on what's expected.

Outlook and Salary

As we mentioned in this article's intro, the outlook for the position of "court clerk" is positive.

The demand for court clerks is expected to rise by as much as 4.5% through the year 2024 which outpaces the growth of many other administrative-based positions. Furthermore, when you consider the median salary of court clerks ($37,000 per year) and weigh that against only needing a high school diploma to apply, the pay to education ratio is pretty good.

If the low pay for court clerks is still a sticking point for you, consider applying for positions in bigger cities. While the workload may be more strenuous in bigger markets, the pay you will receive will compensate for the additional pressure.

Growth Opportunities

Being a court clerk is an excellent entry-level position in the legal field. Many court clerks go on to obtain advanced degrees and become chief court clerks. Some even go on to become lawyers or judges.

If you're interested in the legal field and are looking for a way to gain broad exposure to all of its inner-workings, you'd be hard pressed to find a better way to achieve that end than by becoming a court clerk.

Wrapping up Your Guide to a Career as a Court Clerk

Becoming a court clerk is a great way to obtain a job in a growing field without needing to pursue an advanced degree. If you have a mind for organization and love the idea of getting your feet wet in law, start filling out court clerk applications today!

Want more information on how you can help shape your career? If so, our team at National Jobs by The Washington Post has you covered!

Browse more of our career-oriented advice today!