How to Become a Court Clerk

Court clerks are administrative employees that work within the court system at the city, county, state, and federal levels. They are responsible for managing court records, gathering information, collecting payments and court fees, and giving trial participants their oaths. Court clerks also answer court correspondence and perform other clerical duties that arise. They must be organized, efficient workers and should be adept at communicating with others as well. Occasionally, court clerks may be asked to maintain a blog and website for the court and, therefore, should also have strong writing skills.

Minimum Qualifications

Most entry-level court clerk positions only require candidates to have a high school diploma or GED. However, as court clerks advance up the career ladder and enter into larger jurisdictions, they may be required to earn court clerk certification or a degree before they can qualify for promotion. Having experience working in administration, document management, or the legal field will improve job prospects. In addition, it is important to have some formal training in record-keeping.

Education & Training

In some cases, formal education is not necessary for the aspiring court clerk. However, if candidates hope to advance within their careers or obtain high-level responsibilities upon being hired, some training is necessary. Prospective court clerks can look into obtaining court clerk certification or they can take classes in an area like administration or law. The most qualified court clerk candidates will have a certificate or associate degree. These individuals can establish careers within the state or federal courts.

Formal training may not be necessary for entry-level positions, however undergoing training will improve job prospects. Acquiring an internship at a legal office or court is a good way to learn about the administrative duties for which court clerks are responsible. The more experience a court clerk has, the more likely it is that he or she will be promoted and given more responsibilities. Dependable court clerks can advance into positions serving judges, justices of the peace, and other important court officials.

Career Statistics

Candidates apply for court clerk positions by providing resumes and cover letters and participating in interviews. They are also subject to background checks. There are nearly 90,000 court clerks employed within local courts, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Local government court clerks earn an average salary of $35,060 annually. There are fewer state government court clerks, although they earn a higher average salary at $41,060 annually. The BLS reports that the mean annual wage of court clerks is $36,390, with the top 10% earning $53,500 annually. However, keep in mind that salary figures vary based on experience, location, and employer.

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