How to Become a Justice of the Peace Online

Nov 26, 2019

Justice of the Peace Job Overview

A Justice of the Peace (also sometimes simply referred to as a JP) is a judicial officer of a lower court, and depending on the jurisdiction or state, JPs might perform marriages, serve as notaries, preside over small claims court, and issue warrants for arrest. They are appointed or voted for by the citizens of the jurisdiction in which they serve and are usually not required to have any formal legal education in order to qualify for the office. States have varying requirements to become a Justice of the Peace that may be fulfilled online, as discussed below.

Required Skills Critical thinking, reading comprehension, active listening, complex problem solving, judgment and decision making
Job Growth (2018-2028)* 3% (judges, magistrate judges, and magistrates)
Median Salary 2018* $133,920 (judges, magistrate judges, and magistrates)

Source: *U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics

Steps to Become a Justice of the Peace Online

There are some aspects of a Justice of the Peace application that must be done in person. However, most of your prep work and training can be done online, as shown in the following steps.

Step 1: Educate Yourself on Your Jurisdiction's Requirements

These can vary, but you can expect you'll be asked to meet the following essentials:

  • Are eligible to work in the jurisdiction in which you are applying
  • Have valid identification (drivers license, birth certificate, etc); make sure you check online to renew your drivers license in your state
  • Are a law-abiding citizen registered to vote, which you can check online
  • Pay the application fee
  • Provide references from individuals who can speak on your behalf

Some states, like Connecticut, have a Justice of the Peace manual that you can read online. You can also email your current JP to ask pertinent questions about the position and its requirements.

Step 2: Take Online Law Courses

Your state or jurisdiction may have no minimum education that an applicant needs to have in order to be a Justice of the Peace. However, most JPs have a criminal justice or legal background. If you don't want to earn a full law degree, you might consider taking several law courses online that may bolster your application and make you a more suitable candidate.

Step 3: Complete Your Application

Fill out an application online or in person at your local State Department office. Most US states have the application forms available online, and you may be asked to attach your letters of recommendation.

Step 4: Begin Your Electoral Campaign

Some states appoint their Justices of the Peace, and other states require them to be elected. For example, Justices is Massachusetts are appointed, where Justices in Mississippi are elected in partisan races. Some states require you to have lived in your jurisdiction for 6 months or longer. Make sure you check with your state office online to determine if you have to campaign to be elected to the Justice of the Peace position. Many aspects of a campaign may be accomplished online through social media.

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