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            Legal Studies

            Legal studies can open the door for you to work in a challenging and high-paying career. Read on to learn more about education and earnings for paralegals, lawyers and judges.

            Is Work in Legal Studies for Me?

            Career Overview

            An interest in legal studies can lead to a wide range of education and career opportunities, including a job as a paralegal, lawyer, judge or arbitrator. While education requirements can vary according to your career choice, completion of a 2-year associate degree program may qualify you for an entry-level job as a legal assistant or paralegal. However, many legal positions require at least a 4-year bachelor's degree. A graduate degree, such as a Master of Arts in Legal Studies or Juris Doctor, may lead to higher-level opportunities or a career as a licensed attroney.

            In a legal studies program, you may take courses in constitutional, commercial and developmental law. Students that attend law school typically choose an area of concentration, such as litigation, environmental law, or government law.

            Employment and Salary Information

            Nationwide, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected an average growth in employment for lawyers from 2012-2022. Minimal to change in employment was expected for judges and hearing officers during the same period; however, paralegals can look forward to a much-faster-than average increase in opportunities through 2022.

            According to the BLS in May 2013, the mean annual income for paralegals was $51,170, with those employed in software publishing earning $77,140 a year. As of the same month, lawyers earned a mean annual salary of $131,990; those who were associated with physician's offices were paid over $235,000 a year. In May 2013, judges working at the local and state levels earned mean annual salaries of $88,650 and $123,770 respectively. As reported by the BLS, the mean annual salary for an arbitrator, mediator or conciliator in May 2013 was $76,840 (www.bls.gov).

            How Can I Work in a Legal Studies Field?

            Paralegals

            Some career options, such as paralegal positions, do not have extensive education requirements. An associate degree program in paralegal studies could qualify you for this type of job. If you already have a bachelor's degree, you can become a paralegal by obtaining a paralegal certificate, which usually only takes a few months to complete.

            Lawyers

            If you'd like to become a lawyer, you could prepare for law school by completing a bachelor's degree program that focuses on critical thinking, public speaking and writing, such as political science or criminal justice. After obtaining a 4-year degree, you'll need to continue on to law school to earn a law degree. During your law program, you'll be able to customize your coursework to learn about the kind of law you'd like to practice.

            Judges

            Becoming a judge generally requires years of experience in the legal field, usually as a lawyer. Depending on the type of court over which you want to preside, you might need to earn a law degree, pass a bar exam and obtain political support. You'll also have to participate in a preliminary orientation and pass one or more judicial examinations. Earning a master's degree in mediation, dispute resolution or legal studies can prepare you for private, public and corporate jobs in arbitration.

            Related Articles for Legal Studies

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              Lawyers, or attorneys as they are sometimes called, are the backbone of the legal system. It will take you approximately seven years of study to become a Lawyer after you finish high school. You'll also need to pass a written examination.
            • What Does a Court Interpreter Do? - Video

              Court Interpreters work to translate information from another language into English for the court systems. They work with lawyers, witnesses and defendants to relay information for depositions, hearings and other court cases. Court Interpreters must be fluent in more than one language in addition to having adequate knowledge of legal terminology.
            The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

            Popular Schools

            • Strayer University

              Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

              Popular programs at Strayer University:

              • Bachelor Degrees

              Online Programs Available

            • Southern New Hampshire University

              Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

              Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

              • Master
              • Bachelor Degrees

              Online Programs Available

            • Ashford University

              Ashford University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

              Popular programs at Ashford University:

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            • Purdue University Global

              Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

              Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

              Online Programs Available

            • Baker College

              Baker College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

              Popular programs at Baker College:

              • Bachelor Degrees
              • Associate Programs

              Online and Campus-Based Programs Available:

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              • Anywhere: Online Campus
              • Michigan: Online Campus, Allen Park, Cadillac, Clinton Township, Flint, Jackson, Muskegon, Owosso
            • Carrington College

              Carrington College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

              Popular programs at Carrington College:

              • Associate Programs
              • Certificates

              Online and Campus-Based Programs Available:

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              • Anywhere: Online Campus
              • Arizona: Online Campus, Mesa, Phoenix, Tuscon
              • California: Online Campus, Mesa, Phoenix, Tuscon, Citrus Heights, Pleasant Hill, Sacramento, San Jose, San Leandro, Stockton
              • Nevada: Online Campus, Mesa, Phoenix, Tuscon, Citrus Heights, Pleasant Hill, Sacramento, San Jose, San Leandro, Stockton, Las Vegas
            • Post University

              Post University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

              Popular programs at Post University:

              • Bachelor Degrees
              • Associate Programs

              Online Programs Available

            • Institute of Technology

              Institute of Technology responds quickly to information requests through this website.

              Popular programs at Institute of Technology:

              • Associate Programs

              Campus Locations:

              • California: Clovis, Modesto
            • Vista College

              Vista College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

              Popular programs at Vista College:

              • Associate Programs

              Campus Locations:

              • Texas: El Paso
            • Colorado Christian University

              Colorado Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

              Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

              • Master
              • Bachelor Degrees
              • Associate Programs

              Online Programs Available

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