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Career and Education Opportunities for Judges in Des Moines, Iowa

Des Moines, Iowa provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for judges. The national trend for judges sees this job pool shrinking by about 2.6% over the next eight years. Judges generally arbitrate, advise, or administer justice in a court of law.

Judges earn approximately $18 hourly or $37,750 per year on average in Iowa. Nationally they average about $52 hourly or $110,220 annually. Earnings for judges are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Arbitration in Iowa and better than general Arbitration category earnings nationally. People working as judges can fill a number of jobs, such as: presiding judge, federal judge, and police magistrate.

The Des Moines area is home to fifteen schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Des Moines where you can get a degree as a judge. Given that the most common education level for judges is a Doctoral degree, you can expect to spend four or five years studying to be a judge if you already have a Bachelor's degree, or eight to ten years starting with a high school diploma.


Judge video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, judges arbitrate, advise, or administer justice in a court of law. They also may sentence defendant in criminal cases according to government statutes.

Judges advise attorneys and court personnel regarding conduct and proceedings. They also research legal issues and write opinions on the issues. Equally important, judges have to read documents on pleadings and motions to ascertain facts and issues. They are often called upon to rule on admissibility of evidence and methods of conducting testimony. They are expected to preside over hearings and listen to allegations made by plaintiffs to establish whether the evidence supports the charges. Finally, judges settle disputes between opposing attorneys.

Every day, judges are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to write clearly and communicate well. It is also important that they articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for judges to award compensation for damages to litigants in civil cases in relation to findings by juries or by the court. They are often called upon to perform wedding ceremonies. They also sentence defendants in criminal cases, on conviction by jury, in line with applicable government statutes. They are sometimes expected to conduct preliminary hearings to decide issues such as whether there is reasonable and probable cause to hold defendants in felony cases. Somewhat less frequently, judges are also expected to rule on custody and access disputes, and enforce court orders regarding custody and support of children.

Judges sometimes are asked to instruct juries on applicable laws, direct juries to deduce the facts from the evidence presented, and hear their verdicts. and grant divorces and divide assets between spouses. And finally, they sometimes have to monitor proceedings to insure that all applicable rules and procedures are followed.

Like many other jobs, judges must have exceptional integrity and have strong self control in the face of challenging situations.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Des Moines include:

  • Administrative Law Judge. Conduct hearings to decide or recommend decisions on claims concerning government programs or other government-related matters and prepare decisions. Determine penalties or the existence and the amount of liability, or recommend the acceptance or rejection of claims, or compromise settlements.
  • Arbitrator. Facilitate negotiation and conflict resolution through dialogue. Resolve conflicts outside of the court system by mutual consent of parties involved.
  • Lawyer. Represent clients in criminal and civil litigation and other legal proceedings, draw up legal documents, and manage or advise clients on legal transactions. May specialize in a single area or may practice broadly in many areas of law.
  • Title Examiner. Search real estate records, examine titles, or summarize pertinent legal or insurance details for a variety of purposes. May compile lists of mortgages, contracts, and other instruments pertaining to titles by searching public and private records for law firms, real estate agencies, or title insurance companies.


Drake University - Des Moines, IA

Drake University, 2507 University Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50311-4505. Drake University is a medium sized university located in Des Moines, Iowa. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,753 students and an admission rate of 69%. Drake University has 2 areas of study related to Judge. They are:

  • Law, doctor's degree which graduated 129 students in 2008.
  • Legal Professions and Studies, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree which graduated 3 students in 2008.


Des Moines, Iowa
Des Moines, Iowa photo by BinaryBoyXP

Des Moines is located in Polk County, Iowa. It has a population of over 197,052, which has shrunk by 0.8% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Des Moines, 79, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Des Moines cost $175,000 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, one hundred sixty-five new homes were built in Des Moines, down from three hundred nine the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Des Moines are finance and insurance, health care, and educational services. For men, it is construction, finance and insurance, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 18 minutes. More than 21.8% of Des Moines residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.5%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Des Moines is 7.1%, which is greater than Iowa's average of 6.1%.

The percentage of Des Moines residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 48.2%, is less than both the national and state average. Epworth United Methodist Church, Union Park Baptist Church and Seventh Day Adventist Church are all churches located in Des Moines. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church.

Des Moines is home to the Activities Center and the Blank Park Zoo as well as M L King Park and Des Moines Botanical Garden. Shopping centers in the area include Merle Hay Mall, Des Moines Park Fair Mall and Southridge Mall. Visitors to Des Moines can choose from Palace Inn, Holiday Inn Express Des Moines and Casa Bella Motel for temporary stays in the area.