Career Guide: Court Clerk

Court clerks carry out administrative duties as officers of the judicial system, including maintaining court records, handling bookkeeping tasks, and administering oaths to witnesses and jurors.

Candidates with relevant education and experience should enjoy an advantage in the recruitment and hiring processes.

The court clerk plays a fundamental role in the judicial process. Every trial or appellate court of record must employ a court clerk for record keeping. The majority of court clerks work at the local government level, accounting for more than 74% of the profession.

To learn more about court clerk requirements, continue reading the following career guide, which details the educational and experiential training steps for becoming a court clerk.

What Does a Court Clerk Do?

Court clerks assume many responsibilities as officers of the court. They perform clerical duties in support of the legal system and judicial process, primarily maintaining court records. These records include proceeding notes, hearing information and outcomes, motions, evidence, judgments, and sentences.

Court clerks also audit files for accuracy, prepare meeting agendas, answer correspondence, and keep records of the court's money and financial transactions, including fees, fines, and court costs. These professionals also assist other officers of the court on a daily basis. During trials, they take on additional duties, like issuing requested subpoenas or reviewing briefs and motions.

To pursue a court clerk career, you'll need at least a high school diploma. However, to compete for new openings, candidates with relevant education and experience should enjoy an advantage in the recruitment and hiring processes.

Court clerk requirements for some courts do involve postsecondary education. A certificate or degree in criminal justice, public administration, or business could be a difference-maker and also better prepare an individual for a court clerk career.

Learn More About Court Clerk Careers

For students interested in becoming court clerks, check out the information page for insight on day-to-day clerk duties, along with examples of the skills, education, and background that can help an applicant stand out.

Court Clerk Salary and Job Growth

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that court clerks earn a median annual salary of $38,450 and an hourly wage of $18.48. Clerks of the court in the 90th percentile, meanwhile, earn $60,330 or about 56% more than the median salary for all occupations.

BLS projects a 6.4% job growth rate for court clerks between 2016 and 2026. Turnover for court clerks will largely depend on older clerks retiring or leaving their positions for other reasons, like promotions.

Given this competitive landscape, a prospective court clerk could boost their resume with a credential and proven skills in communication, customer service, and administrative proficiency. California, Texas, Ohio, Florida, and New York employ the most court clerks.

Learn More About Court Clerk Salaries

Court clerks earn a median annual salary nearly identical to the national average. Check out the court clerk salary page to learn what clerks in the 90th percentile make and how the profession will grow over the next decade.

Court Clerk Job Salary: What You'll Earn

Take the Next Steps

The following two resources explore degrees in legal studies and criminal justice. Prospective students can read about curriculums and learn more about career opportunities that a degree in legal studies or criminal justice can lead to after graduation.

Explore Degrees in Legal Studies

This guide explores the bachelor's in legal studies program, including the types of courses that students typically take, such as legal ethics, family law, and civil litigation practice. The resource also discusses possible careers for legal studies students, like paralegal, lawyer, or court reporter.

Explore Other Careers in Criminal Justice

This resource breaks down degrees in criminal justice at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels, and explains what careers a graduate could pursue, such as federal special agent, criminologist, or sociologist. Related fields covered by the guide include homeland security, legal studies, and public safety administration.

Professional Organizations and Resources for Court Clerks

Professional organizations provide members with many valuable benefits. Students can enjoy networking opportunities through annual conferences, local chapters, and online forums. Members also benefit from exclusive job boards, webinars, workshops, and other training and career services to assist with professional and personal development.

These organizations and associations also provide members with a trusted resource for the latest on policy changes and industry developments affecting the field, practice, or profession.

  • Federal Court Clerks Association Formed in 1922, FCCA serves as an intermediary between clerks and U.S. courts. It aims to support the career development and advancement of court employees, plus judicial system independence.
  • Association of Legal Administrators Established in 1971, ALA provides support to administrative professionals who work in law firms, legal departments, and government agencies. Membership benefits include professional development, collaboration through peer communities, educational offerings, and an annual conference and exposition.
  • National Association for Court Management NACM provides a strategic focus for developing the education and careers of court management professionals. The organization offers community and networking, information, and advocacy on court and justice system topics. Educational opportunities for members include two annual conferences, webinars, self-assessments, and curriculum toolboxes.