Graduate-level training in court administration usually involves earning either a Master of Science in Legal Administration or a combination of a Juris Doctor (law) degree and a Master in Public Administration. These programs are generally offered through law schools and may be available online. Alternatively, some court systems offer training in court administration through their criminal justice department.
It usually takes two years to earn a master's degree in legal administration and three years to complete a Juris Doctor degree. In order to apply, students must hold a bachelor's degree and submit letters of recommendation, a personal essay, and GRE, LSAT, or GMAT scores.
Master's Degree Programs in Court Administration
Many legal administration graduate programs include internships or other related work experience. Courses typically offer close examination of law and management principles. In these programs, possible course topics include:
- Public employment law
- Information technology law
- Court financial management
- Workplace leadership and management
- Current issues in criminal justice
- Court planning Trends
Popular Career Options
Court administrators can find work in local, state, and federal court systems. These professionals manage the day-to-day operations of the court, which can include overseeing non-judicial support staff, managing case flow, and assuring that information technology is working properly. Some other popular career options include:
- Law office administrator
- Clerk of the court
- Public sector office administrator
- Management analyst
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicated that arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators were expected to see a faster than average job growth of 9% from 2014-2024. The median salary for these professionals was $58,020, according to the BLS's data for 2015. There were 6,380 jobs in this field in 2015.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Some states may offer certification programs for court administrators. For example, in New Jersey, administrators must meet educational requirements, pass a written and oral exam, and develop a court improvement plan before gaining certification. To keep the certification active, an administrator must complete 15 hours of continuing education each year.
Some national associations for court administrators may offer certification programs, such as the Institute for Court Management, a division of the National Center for State Courts. It has continuing education programs and awards a certification once the courses are completed.
For arbitrators, more and more credentialing processes are being offered by professional organizations, such as the American Arbitration Association, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Many states and professional organizations have certification procedures for court clerks as well.
Overall, students who earn graduate degrees in court administration gain the combined legal and executive training they need for careers as court administrators. They may also pursue related careers ranging from office administrator to management analyst or arbitrator as well as advanced certifications.