What does an administrative law judge do?
Administrative law judges (also called adjudicators or hearing officers) work for government agencies and make decisions regarding administrative activities. They work to resolve conflicts between government agencies and someone affected by its actions and decisions. They administer oaths, listen to testimonies, rule on questions of evidence, ask appropriate questions to assist with their decisions, and make decisions based on facts. Administrative judges often make decisions regarding the protection of the environment, a person’s eligibility for Social Security or other benefits, employment discrimination, enforcement of health and safety regulations, and compliance with economic regulatory requirements.
What kind of training does an administrative law judge need?
Administrative law judges must have at least a bachelor degree and sufficient work experience. Many administrative law judges have law degrees and many employers prefer applicants with law degrees. Many administrative law judges have started their career as lawyers and advance to administrative judge positions as they gain the essential skills and experience. Administrative law judges that work for Federal agencies must be lawyers and pass a rigorous examination that is administered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Newly elected or appointed administrative law judges typically complete some form of orientation. Administrative law judges must complete continuing education throughout their careers to keep their skills current and stay up to date on advancements in the field.
What are the prospects for a career as an administrative law judge?
Employment of administrative law judges is expected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 8% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The growing population and increased need for administrative law services will drive job growth.
Job prospects are expected to be favorable with strong competition. Some job openings will arise from the need to replace administrative law judges that retire, transfer, or leave the profession for other reasons.
How much do administrative law judges make?
As of December 2009, administrative law judges with 1 to 4 years experience earn average annual salaries between $37,642 and $59,334. Those with 5 to 9 years experience earn average annual salaries between $46,720 and $67,000 (2).
A career as an administrative law judge is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in administrative law. Administrative law judges must have a solid understanding of the polices and procedures of administrative law and the ability to apply them to a variety of tasks regarding government agencies. Patience, confidence, determination, critical thinking, and good problem solving are essential characteristics. Administrative law judges must have the ability to make effective decisions and resolve a variety of disputes. They must have excellent listening skills and good communication.