2021 Legal Professions Degree Guide
Does the idea of defending a citizen in a criminal court make you excited? How about researching laws and regulations to help people start a business, create public policy or defend themselves from illegal actions? All lawyer jokes aside, Lawyers and Legal Professionals offer critical services to every day Americans.
Choosing a major in the field of Legal Professionals will allow you to study many different disciplines and use that knowledge to understand and analyze law and public policy. As you further your education, you will develop your own attitude and opinions towards law and the justice system through critical investigation. You will learn to explore various concepts through a prism of different perspectives.
Students who major in General Legal Studies frequently go to law school and become layers. However, if you are more interested in behind the scenes work you might consider majoring in or Legal Support Services. No matter what field you decide to pursue, you will learn fundamental legal concepts as well as current issues. You will take classes exploring the history of law, researching and writing for legal documents, and how to think critically.
Legal Professions Degrees Decreasing
In 2018-2019, legal professions was the 17th most popular major nationwide with 54,849 degrees awarded. This represents a 1.5% reduction in legal professions degrees awarded over the prior year's total of -55,657.
The United States has 668 different schools where you can get a degree in legal professions. Our 2021 Best Colleges for Legal Professions ranking analyzes 23 of these schools to determine the best overall colleges for legal professions students. Continue reading to check out one of our many unbiased rankings of legal professions programs later in this article.
Legal Professions Degree Requirements
A driving interest and passion in law and government will get you far in this field. You will be spending hours of time researching laws, debating their effectiveness and coming up with new solutions to problems. Learn to be a good listener so you can gain new ideas from classmates and peers. Your coursework may seem dry at times, but it will allow you to understand court rulings and legal resources.
Students who excel in this field tend to have very strong communication skills. You will need to read and write critically and clearly articulate your ideas. Engaging in discussion and staying current on the issues is also important in this field. Coursework includes a lot of reading, writing and research, so students need good time management and organization skills in order to stay ahead.
Most schools will require you to join and have an active role in the school government. Also, you should obtain an internship that deals with the legal profession either over the summer or during the school year. This will help you pick up real-life skills to prepare you for graduate school or the work force.
Getting Accepted Into a Legal Professions Program
A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most legal professions degree programs and many students will need a minimum GPA and SAT/ACT score depending on the school. Specific legal professions careers may require a certain level of degree attainment or additional certifications beyond that.
Legal Professions Degree Types
There are various different levels of legal professions degrees. Legal Professions programs offered by schools range from a to a , which is the highest legal professions degree you can get. The type of legal professions degree you choose will determine how long it takes to get your diploma.
|Degree||Credit Requirements||Typical Program Length|
|Associate Degree||60-70 credits||2 years|
|Bachelor’s Degree||120 credits||4 years|
|Master’s Degree||50-70 credits||1-3 years|
|Doctorate||Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation||At least 4 years|
A doctor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to legal professions, with approximately 21.0% of workers getting one. See the the most common levels of education for legal professions workers below.
|Level of Education||Percentage of Workers|
|First Professional Degree||18.0%|
|Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree)||12.2%|
|High School Diploma||10.2%|
This of course varies depending on which legal professions career you choose.
Legal Professions Careers
Most people who decide to pursue a legal professional degree will continue on to law school to become a lawyer. However, there are many careers in the legal field. These include legal secretaries, court reporters, and paralegals. You may also choose pursue a career in the political science field or public policy.
Growth Projected for Legal Professions Careers
Want a job when you graduate with your legal professions degree? Legal Professions careers are expected to grow 5.4% between 2016 and 2026.
The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to legal professions.
|Occupation Name||Projected Jobs||Expected Growth|
|Paralegals and Legal Assistants||327,400||14.6%|
|Title Examiners, Abstractors, and Searchers||72,000||4.3%|
|Legal Support Workers||52,800||3.7%|
Legal Professions Degree Salary Potential
Recently graduated legal professions students earned an average of $42,882 in 2017-2018. Earnings can range from as low as $9,700 to as high as $180,300. As you might expect, salaries for legal professions graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.
Highest Paid Legal Professions Careers
Salaries for legal professions graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 5 highest paying careers legal professions grads often go into.
|Occupation Name||Median Average Salary|
|Judges, and Magistrates||$121,130|
|Administrative Law Judges, Adjudicators, and Hearing Officers||$101,210|
|Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators||$72,760|
Getting Your Legal Professions Degree
With over 1,820 different legal professions degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased legal professions school rankings to help you with this.
Top Ranking Lists for Legal Professions
Highest Paid Graduates
Most Popular Colleges
Best for Non-Traditional Students
Best for Veterans
Study Areas in Legal Professions
Legal Professions Majors to Study
|Legal Support Services||6,710|
|Non-Professional General Legal Studies||3,264|
|Legal Professions (Other)||1,699|
Majors Similar to Legal Professions
|Related Major||Annual Graduates|
|Homeland Security, Law Enforcement & Firefighting||106,583|
|Public Administration & Social Service||93,881|
|Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies||69,376|
|Military Technologies & Applied Sciences||2,638|
Southern New Hampshire University
You have goals. Southern New Hampshire University can help you get there. Whether you need a bachelor's degree to get into a career or want a master's degree to move up in your current career, SNHU has an online program for you. Find your degree from over 200 online programs ... Learn More >
Building on Purdue’s mission to provide greater access to affordable, world-class education, Purdue University Global delivers a fully personalized online experience that’s tailored to working adults. By opening the doors to adults who need flexibility to fit learning into their busy lives, we make it possible to achieve a high-quality education from the prestigious Purdue University system—completely online ... Learn More >
Grand Canyon University (GCU)
With a spotlight on intellectual creativity and innovation for the 21stcentury, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at GCU provides a job focused education. It blends the study of traditional humanities in a modern context. Through academic inquiry and beyond the box thinking, the college advances our society and its accomplishments ... Learn More >
Northcentral University (NCU) was founded to provide accessible, high-quality, online graduate degrees to working professionals. As a regionally accredited, online university, NCU serves students worldwide, focusing on Doctoral and Master's degree programs in the Schools of Business and Technology Management, Education, Psychology, and Marriage and Family Sciences ... Learn More >
Colorado Technical University (CTU)
CTU could help you connect to what matters most: a powerful professional community, aculty who are real-world professionals, and innovative technology ... Learn More >