Court Clerk

The court clerk is an officer of the court who acts as the custodian of the court’s files. As the secretary of the court, the clerk maintains records, issues routine documents, collects fines ordered by the court and disseminates the court’s opinions. No judgment of a U.S. court is effective until it is signed by the clerk of the court and entered into the clerk’s records.

Court clerks are often referred to as the “clerk of the court.” Earning a certificate in court administration or a degree in criminal justice, online or on campus, provides a strong credential to a resume, especially for those who focus on law and ethics, organizational management and policy planning. Do you have what it takes to become a court administrator?

Degrees for Court Clerks

There is no formal degree offered or required to secure employment as a court clerk, and the requirements necessary to obtain the position can vary widely. In virtually all courts, however, a high school diploma or its equivalent is required, and a college degree is preferred. Depending on the level and location of the court, the office of clerk of the court is either an elected position or one filled by appointment.

Court Clerk Job Description

The primary duty of the court clerk is to record and maintain court records. These include documents recorded for permanent retention such as marriage licenses, business licenses, adoption records and guardianships. They also document and save records of name changes, liens, judgments and land records. Another important duty of the court clerk is to collect all fines, fees and payments as determined by court judgments.

Some of the daily duties of the court clerk include:

  • Preparing the docket, or calendar of cases
  • Answering inquiries from the general public regarding all aspects of court procedure and operation
  • Issuing orders of the court and marriage licenses
  • Searching files to obtain information for the court
  • Processing passports and licensing private process servers

Although this position falls within the judicial system, the clerk of the court is specifically prohibited from rendering any legal advice.

Court Clerk Salary

Figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that prospects for growth in this field are about average compared with all other jobs, with an estimated 45,000 additional clerk positions becoming available over the next decade. The average salary for court clerks is about $34,116, according to Salary.com.



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