Legal Studies Bachelor's Degree
Consider completing a bachelor's degree program in the field of legal studies if you'd like a career as a legal assistant or paralegal. Keep reading to learn about program options and online studies. Get the career outlook for this field, too. Schools offering Legal Studies degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Where Can I Find a Legal Studies Bachelor's Degree Program?
Both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science programs are available in legal studies. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 200 different institutions offered bachelor's degree programs in the field of legal studies or legal assistance (www.nces.ed.gov). Many schools have been approved by the American Bar Association, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that graduating from one of these accredited programs may increase your chances of employment (www.bls.gov).
How Can I Learn Online?
Legal studies programs are available either partially or entirely online. You can often attend online lectures by participating live or viewing the recorded sessions at a more convenient time. Generally, schools use an interactive course management system, such as Blackboard, that allows you to receive and complete assignments, as well as communicate with your instructors and fellow students. To complete the online coursework properly, you might need a high-speed Internet connection, speakers, an antivirus program and a printer.
What Can I Study?
Legal studies bachelor's degree programs focus on the fundamentals of law and include practical and theoretical exercises in legal ethics and problem solving. Typical courses in a legal studies program can include legal research methods, document preparation, cyberlaw, criminal law, civil procedure, legal writing and constitutional rights. You also could take courses in business, writing and accounting.
You might choose to use a bachelor's degree program in legal studies as a pre-law training program, in preparation for admission to law school. You may also have the opportunity to serve an internship at a school-approved facility, such as a law office, judicial office or non-profit organization. Internships could take up to 120 hours and may be paid or unpaid positions.
What Is the Job Outlook?
The BLS expected paralegal and legal assistance positions to increase 28% from 2008-2018, which was much faster than the national average. The BLS further stated that you're most likely to find work at a private law firm. Other popular employers for paralegals were government and corporate legal departments. According to the BLS, paralegals and legal assistants earned a median yearly salary of $46,680 as of May 2010.
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