Job Requirements for a Federal Administrative Law Judge

by August Jackson

If you want to be an administrative law judge for the federal government, you have to pass a series of milestones before you will receive consideration for the position. The journey begins when you start law school and continues as you gain experience as an attorney. Then you take an examination to be considered for an administrative law judge position.

Becoming a Lawyer

Before you can become an administrative law judge, you must first obtain your law degree by completing three years of law school. Then you must pass a state bar exam, including the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination. After passing the bar and meeting other state requirements, you can be sworn in to practice law in your state and receive your law license.

Required Legal Work

When applying for a position as federal administrative law judge, you must have a current license to practice law in any single state, the District of Columbia or Puerto Rico. In addition, you must have served as a licensed attorney for seven years. Your duties as an attorney must have included preparing, participating in or reviewing formal hearings or trials involving litigation or administrative law. Your final step before you can become a federal administrative law judge is to pass the Administrative Law Judge Examination. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management administers this exam to determine whether you have the knowledge, skills and abilities to serve competently as a federal administrative law judge.

Administrative Law Judge Examination

The Administrative Law Judge Examination will test your judicial analysis, decision making, judicial decisiveness, interpersonal skills, judicial management, litigation and courtroom experience, judicial temperament, oral communication, problem solving, writing, self-management, reasoning and professionalism. This examination consists of three components. The first is an online component that employs a situational judgment test, a writing sample and an experience assessment. The second is a proctored component that requires a written demonstration and a logic-based measurement test. A structured interview represents the final component of the Administrative Law Judge Examination.

Becoming an Administrative Law Judge

If you pass all three components of the exam, you will receive a numerical rating from 1 to 100 based on your exam performance. You will then be placed on a register from which federal government hiring agencies select administrative law judges. At that point, a federal government agency could hire you to preside over cases involving federal laws and regulations. The cases could fall under the subjects of admiralty law, Social Security disability, communications, securities, banking, interstate commerce, health and safety, environmental protection, advertising, immigration or international trade. As of November 2013, an administrative law judge’s salary ranged from $118,612 to $165,300, according to USA Jobs.

About the Author

August Jackson is a contributor to various websites. She has taken courses in copywriting and has worked in corporate America as a proofreader. Jackson holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Juris Doctor with an emphasis in bankruptcy law.

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