Hear and decide on minor offense cases.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$59,000 – $143,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Magistrates do?

As a Magistrate, you perform many of the same functions as a Judge. This position is available in different capacities around the world, and is somewhat less common in the United States than in other countries. This is often a part-time position—you keep your day job, and work as a Magistrate during evenings and weekends.

Your duties vary depending on the position, but you can expect to sit in a Judge’s seat and hear cases. Common responsibilities include issuing marriage licenses and search or arrest warrants, reviewing bail requests, and presiding at weddings. You don’t handle felony cases, and civil cases are more common to your jurisdiction than criminal ones. You may, however, oversee minor criminal infractions, such as petty theft.

You may work anywhere between the county and federal level. At a lower court, you fill in as needed, process basic paperwork requests, and issue warrants outside of regular court hours. At the federal level, you are a Magistrate Judge, which means you rule over one court in the district. In addition to the above responsibilities, you hear misdemeanor cases, preside over pretrial hearings for felony cases, and make financial judgments in cases that fall below a certain dollar amount.

This is an important position for our court systems because you help lessen the workload of other court officials. Your efforts to take on smaller and less technical cases allow Judges to prepare for and hear felony cases in a timelier manner.

Should I be a Magistrate?

You should have a doctoral degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Leader: You're good at taking charge, giving directions, and inspiring other people.

  • Also known as: Circuit Court Magistrate, City Magistrate, Court Magistrate, Deputy Chief Magistrate, General Magistrate See More

    How to become a Magistrate

    Most Magistrates have a Doctorate. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:xaajj9&chl=no+college+%2823%25%29|||bachelor%27s+%289%25%29|master%27s+%289%25%29|doctorate+%2860%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,23,60
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