Order in the Court! A Visual Guide to Courtroom Jobs [Infographic]

Do you remember that iconic scene in which Jack Nicholson doubted if Tom Cruise could handle the truth? Or what about Matthew McConaughey's heart-wrenching closing argument from A Time to Kill?

Courtroom movies and TV shows are so popular because they provide everyday Janes and Joes an inside view of the American legal system—one of the most complex and misunderstood branches of the U.S. government. Something about these heated and emotional courtroom scenes captures our attention every time.

But who are all those other people in the courtroom? What do they do?

It turns out you don’t have to go to law school to work in this environment. There are a variety of courtroom jobs out there for people of all interests and education levels. Use this handy resource to learn more about who’s who in the courtroom.

Interested in learning more about working in the legal field? Check out our article, “6 Overlooked Legal Careers to Consider When You Don’t Want to Become a Lawyer.”

Courtroom Jobs Infographic, described in detail below.

Visual Guide to Courthouse Jobs Infographic: “Order in the Court”

At the top of the infographic, we see a scene from a courtroom; a judge presides, a court clerk is left of the judge, a bailiff stands to the left of the clerk, a court reporter takes notes to the right of the judge and, in the foreground, there are two tables with the prosecution on one side and the defense on the other.

The next panel zooms in on a few of the people in the background. The first job description is for the judge. The text reads that the judge arbitrates, advises, adjudicates and administers justice in a court of law. The judge sentences defendants in criminal cases according to government statutes or sentencing guidelines. Judges determine liability of defendants in civil cases.
Typical Degree: Doctoral/Juris Doctor
Median Annual Salary: $109,940
Jobs Posted in the Past Year: 551

The next job description is for the bailiff. The bailiff patrols the interior and exterior of the courthouse and escorts judges and court employees. Bailiffs maintain order in the courtroom during trials and guard the jury from outside contact.
Typical Degree: Professional Certificate/Associate’s
Median Annual Salary: $42,760
Jobs Posted in the Past Year: 285

The third job description is for the court reporter. The court reporter records verbatim proceedings of courts, legislative assemblies and committee meetings using computerized recording equipment, electronic stenograph machine or stenomask.
Typical Degree: Professional Certificate/Associate’s
Median Annual Salary: $51,320
Jobs Posted in the Past Year: 139

The next job description is for the court clerk. The court clerk prepares and issues orders of the court, such as probation orders, release documentation and sentencing information summonses. They also manage the court docket and calendar.
Typical Degree: Professional Certificate/Associate’s
Median Annual Salary: $32,920
Jobs Posted in the Past Year: 2,062

Next, we see the prosecutor. The prosecutor represents the local, state or federal jurisdiction that has charged an individual, group or corporate entity with criminal or civil wrongdoing.
Typical Degree: Doctoral/Juris Doctor
Median Annual Salary: $118,160
Jobs Posted in the Past Year: 62,850

Next to the prosecutor is the paralegal. The paralegal assists attorneys by investigating facts, preparing legal documents and researching legal precedents. Paralegals conduct research to support a legal proceeding in order to formulate a defense or to initiate legal action.
Typical Degree: Associate’s degree
Median Annual Salary: $49,500
Jobs Posted in the Past Year: 46,287

To the right of the tables is the correctional officer. Correctional officers monitor the conduct of prisoners in the holding cell, housing unit or during work or recreational activities to prevent escape or violence. They transport prisoners to and from courtroom proceedings.
Typical Degree: Professional Certificate/Associate’s
Median Annual Salary: $42,820
Jobs Posted in the Past Year: 6,685

Lastly, we have the defense attorney, seated at the other table. The defense attorney represents private parties or corporate entities against which criminal or civil charges have been brought. The defense attorney also draws up legal documents and manages and advises clients on legal transactions.
Typical Degree: Doctoral/Juris Doctor
Median Annual Salary: $118,160
Jobs Posted in the Past Year: 62,850

Beneath the infographic are source materials from which information regarding salary and job postings were taken:

Salary information was taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook (2016–17 ed.) from the U.S. Department of Labor. This represents national averaged earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Burning-Glass.com (analysis of court-related job postings, June 1, 2016–May 31, 2017).

Rasmussen College does not offer programs to prepare students for every occupation profiled in this piece. Please see rasmussen.edu/degrees for a list of the programs we offer. Rasmussen College is a regionally accredited private college and Public Benefit Corporation.


EDITOR'S NOTE: This infographic was originally published in December 2014. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2017.

About the author

Callie Malvik

Callie is the Content Manager at Collegis Education, overseeing blog content on behalf of Rasmussen University. She is passionate about creating quality resources that empower others to improve their lives through education.

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