How to become an Administrative Law Judge

Overview, Courses, Exam, Colleges, Pathways, Salary

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Who is Administrative Law Judge ?

Being an Administrative Law Judge provides you with the ability to enrich others' lives by making sure that every individual is treated equally, impartially and with compassion. 

An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) acts as an impartial judge of regulatory agencies and entities that offer benefits. There are around 1700 federal ALJs nationwide, and about 1500 are employed by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

SSA requires committed individuals who are trying to make a difference in the life of someone by operating as Administrative Law Judges. ALJs operate in over 162 Hearing Offices around the country with a nationwide support staff. ALJs are required in several states, including rural areas.

Typical day at work

What does Administrative Law Judge do?

  • Prepare opinions and decisions in writing
  • Track and guide the trials and hearing activities to make sure that they are performed fairly and that the courts administer justice while ensuring the legal rights of all parties concerned
  • Decide the amount of liability and existence in accordance with current legislation, judicial and administrative precedents and the evidence available 
  • Study and evaluate rules, policies, regulations and precedent decisions to plan and draw findings for the hearings
  • Carry out hearings to analyse and decide claims on issues like eligibility for social programmes, enforcement of safety and health regulations or environmental protection 
  • Assess and review data on documents like applications for a claim, birth or death certificates, or records of physicians or employers 
  • Rule on motions, exceptions, and evidence admissibility
  • Recommend that compromise settlements or claims be approved or refused in accordance with legislation, rules, policies and precedent decisions 
  • Consult with involved organizations or individuals in the case to receive appropriate information 
  • Administer vows and issue subpoenas in preparation for formal hearings 
  • Enlighten claimants how they can challenge fraudulent rulings 
  • Enable payment of legitimate claims and decide payment method
  • Carry out appeal procedures studies in field agencies to guarantee compliance with the legal requirements and to assist the determination of cases

Abilities and Aptitude needed

What are the skills, abilities & aptitude needed to become Administrative Law Judge?

Administrative law judges have rules of law to apply. They cannot allow personal biases of their own to intervene with the proceedings. For example, when determining and evaluating if an individual is a danger to others and needs to be sent to jail, they should base their judgments on clear interpretations of the law. 

They have to be able to weigh up the facts, apply the law and regulations, and make a decision fairly quickly. To do this efficiently, incoming information must be assessed, so they have to be really attentive to all that is being said.

Administrative law judges should also be able to separate relevant facts from vast quantities of often ambiguous details, and then critically analyse the evidence. They write recommendations and decisions on appeals and disputes. They must be able to write their decisions down clearly so that all sides understand the decision.

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How to become an Administrative Law Judge?

Entrance Exam

Entrance Exam for Administrative Law Judge ?


Which course I can pursue?


Which Industries are open for Administrative Law Judge?

Administrative law judges (ALJs) primarily work within the government sector, specifically in administrative agencies or tribunals. Their role involves presiding over administrative hearings and making decisions on legal disputes and regulatory matters. Some of the industries and areas where administrative law judges are commonly found include:

  • Social Security Administration
  • Federal Agencies
  • State and Local Agencie
  • Employment and Labor Relations
  • Health and Human Services
  • Workers' Compensation Board
  • Immigration Courts


Are there internships available for Administrative Law Judge?

Internships specifically for administrative law judges (ALJs) are less common due to the specialized nature of the role and the requirements for becoming an ALJ. However, individuals interested in pursuing a career as an ALJ can explore other opportunities within the legal and government sectors that provide valuable experience in administrative law and adjudication. Some options to consider include:

Judicial Internships: Seek internships with administrative law judges, federal or state judges, or other judicial officers. While not specific to ALJs, these internships provide exposure to the legal system, courtroom proceedings, and decision-making processes.

Government Agencies: Look for internships with government agencies that handle administrative law cases and regulatory matters. This can provide insight into the administrative law process and the roles of various agencies involved.

Legal Research and Writing: Gain experience in legal research and writing by interning at law firms, legal departments of corporations, or government offices. This will help develop the essential skills needed for legal analysis and drafting decisions.

Law Clerking: Consider opportunities as a law clerk in administrative law-focused law firms or government offices. Law clerks often work closely with attorneys and judges, assisting in legal research, writing, and case preparation.

Public Service Internships: Explore internships with public service organizations, non-profit groups, or advocacy organizations that focus on administrative law issues or provide assistance to individuals navigating administrative hearings or appeals.

Career outlook

What does the future look like for Administrative Law Judge?

To be a judge of administrative law, they would require a tremendous amount of expertise, knowledge, and experience. Most of them need more than 5 years’ worth of experience. 

Administrative law judges are usually expected to have a law degree and professional experience as a lawyer. As a state, local or hearing officer or federal judge a law degree is required for most jobs.