If your ultimate career goal is to practice law, then attending a post-secondary learning institution is definitely in your future. However, since 1971 a bachelor of law degree has not been offered in the United States. In order to begin working towards your future career in law, you will want to obtain your bachelor's degree in a field of study such as economics, business, legal studies, or pre-law. Any of these bachelor's degree programs will adequately prepare you to enter the career world of law.
For instance, if you choose to obtain your bachelor's degree in legal studies, you will be able to seek employment as a legal assistant, a paralegal, or a legal secretary. Generally speaking, you will be required to successfully complete course work in relation to topics such as: law office management, international law, real estate, research, legal terminology and litigation. Depending upon the learning institution you choose to attend, you may have the opportunity to concentrate your studies in criminal law, legal assisting, family law, or probate. Of course, you will want to select a bachelor's degree program based on the area you would like to focus your studies and your career on.
Another possible educational avenue to consider is to obtain your bachelor's degree in an area that you would like to practice law in. For instance, if you want to work in international law, then you would want to consider obtaining your degree in global studies. If a career in business law is more suited to your abilities, then you may want to complete your bachelor's degree program in business administration. Regardless of how you decide to pursue your career in law, you will need to follow your bachelor's degree course work by earning your Juris Doctor (J.D.).
Be sure you are aware that without completing your Juris Doctor you will not be able to practice any type of law. In order to obtain your Juris Doctor, you will first need to choose a school of law to attend. To gain admittance into a law school program, you must have earned a satisfactory score on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The course work that you will be required to complete while attending law school will be directly related to your chosen area of focus. In addition, you will have to successfully pass legal classes such as civil procedures and constitutional law. Once you have completed your law school requirements you will need to successfully pass the bar for the state you reside in or for the state that you plan to practice law in.
Remember, thanks to the technological advances in our world, you may be able to complete a large portion of your required course work online, from the comfort of your home. In fact, many of the traditional, four year colleges and universities that are campus based learning institutions even offer students the option of completing some of their classes in a distance learning format.
When researching colleges make sure to find one that offers courses related to the below. If you are interested in law enforcement then start by researching any of the schools that offer a Bachelor’s in Law Enforcement degree program. The curriculum you take should include courses in:
- Criminal Investigation
- Research Methods of Criminal Justice
- Homeland Security
- Criminal law in American
- Court Procedures
- Crisis Intervention
The job outlook is good for law enforcement and it expected to continue to grow by 4% each year. The average law enforcement officer makes between $54,000 - $65,000 per year plus benefits. They are also eligible to retire from service after 20 years and still earn a salary (varies by state). Currently there are over 806,000 law enforcement related jobs in the US.
Ethical and Honesty – Anyone in law enforcement needs to be ethical with everything they do. The fact that you’ll be put in situations that might temp dishonest individuals you’ll need this trait in order to be successful.
Integrity – People look up to those in law enforcement and having integrity is a great trait to possess.
Clear Communication – Because you’ll be dealing with people all day you need to have good communication and listening skills. Being able to give advice and speak clearly is key to your success.
Ability to work with others – Being able to be a team player is a must in law enforcement. Often you’ll have a partner that you need to be able to trust with your life.
Leadership – As you advance through the ranks in law enforcement it requires you to be a good leader. Having leadership qualities is what others look for and is a skill that can be learned.
Community Driven – Do you live in a tight community where everyone knows everyone? If so you’ll need to be community driven and take part in community events. The more time you spend with your community and the people the better an officer you’ll be.
Crisis Intervention – Often law enforcement is placed in situations where they have to act quickly to avoid a crisis. You need the ability to conduct an intervention and communicate with others to avoid issues and prevent something bad from happening.
Multitasking – Your day in law enforcement is busy and the ability to multitask will allow you to cut your workload and get things done quicker.
Work Ethic – Having a great and hard work ethic is a must for any police officer.