How Much Do Judges Get Paid?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, in 2012, the annual median income for judges was $102,980. Half of the judges earned more, and half earned less. This salary works out to an hourly rate of almost $50. The top ten percent of earners made over $166,880, while those at the bottom made less than $30,060.

Most of these salaries are based on full-time employment, although judges sometimes put in extra hours while preparing for cases. A small number of judges are employed part-time and have other careers in addition to the judgeship. Although most judges work during traditional business hours, some must be available nights and weekends to issue restraining orders and search warrants for emergency situations.

Most of the day, judges are in their offices or courtrooms. While on the bench, they must remain seated, often for long stretches of time, yet still remain alert and in charge of court proceedings. In some cases, state judges are responsible for more than one location and must travel to different cities to fulfill their judicial obligations.

In January 2014, the salary of federal judges jumped significantly when they were awarded cost-of-living adjustments that had been on hold since the 1990s. The salaries of state judges varies by geographic location.