Law degrees have long been the gold standard when it comes to high-paying college degrees. Getting the training needed to become a lawyer from an online college is a surefire way to get an education that will surely pay for itself. 

Students who pursue a law degree or a legal studies degree from an online college will develop the skills and training needed for a career practicing law. The job market for new lawyers remains as steady as ever and sees high wages. 

Whether it’s representing individuals in criminal cases or giant corporations in civil cases, a law degree or legal studies degree will provide the background and training needed to succeed. OnlineCollegWiz has gathered these resources below to help students make an educated and informed decision about their future in law. 

Law and Legal Studies Degrees from an Online College

A degree in law versus a degree in legal studies can yield very different career paths. 

A law degree is typically something reserved for the graduate level. Students enrolled in a law degree program will be gaining the direct training and insight needed to practice law as a lawyer. 

Legal studies degrees tend to be found at the undergraduate level. These degrees are set up to be foundational degrees that teach aspects of the law. A legal studies degree in itself is not enough training to become a layer, but it is a great start to work in law.

Frequently, many students will pursue a legal studies degree in their undergraduate and then follow it up with a law degree at the graduate level – if they are pursuing a career as a lawyer.

Topics Covered in Law and Legal Studies Degrees from an Online College

Law degrees and legal studies cover a lot of similar ground. The main difference between the two different degrees is the depths to which the same topics are covered.

In a legal studies degree, students will study law and its effects and interactions on society. Students will learn the various ways laws govern our conduct and how these laws are instituted and applied. They will be introduced to concepts such as litigation that will be further explored in a law degree.

Law degrees build upon a lot of the teachings of a legal studies degree. These degree programs take the information from a legal studies degree and build upon them further, focusing on the skills needed for litigation. Students will study courtroom procedures, litigation techniques, laws, statutes, and much more. 

In-Demand Majors in Law and Legal Studies from Online Colleges

The most highly-sought after law or legal studies degree is the Juris Doctor. When people use the term “law degree,” this is typically what they are referencing. The Juris Doctor is a graduate-level degree explicitly designed to teach students the skills needed to practice law.

While a Juris Doctor will not authorize you to practice law in the United States (more on that below), a Juris Doctor will prepare students with the knowledge needed to seek authorization. Juris Doctor degrees from online colleges can be a little bit hard to come by. Very few online colleges offer online Juris Doctor programs, and the ones shown online are usually not fully online. Due to the nature of the programs, these online Juris doctors usually include some on-campus components.

Another in-demand Juris Doctor degree is the Juris Doctor-Master of Business Administration joint degree. Many schools offer these two degrees in a joint degree format that allows students to earn both graduate-level degrees in an accelerated amount of time. This is a fantastic option for students interested in practicing law in a business environment.

As far as legal studies degrees go, the Bachelor of Legal Studies is in pretty high demand. A great thing about the Bachelor of Legal Studies is that this degree is more readily available from online colleges. Many schools offer their Bachelor of Legal Studies to students in an entirely online format.  A Bachelor of Legal Studies is an excellent option for those wanting to start their law education entirely online.

Students can also choose to pursue a Master of Legal Studies. This degree provides students a greater understanding of the legal principles studied during a Bachelor of Legal Studies. Students interested in learning more about the law but are not interested in becoming lawyers should consider enrolling in a Master of Legal Studies degree. 

Becoming a Lawyer with a Degree from an Online College

There’s more to becoming a lawyer than just earning a Juris Doctor degree. To practice law, law students must also take and pass the bar exam. The bar exam is organized by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and is held by different bar associations across the United States.

Offered twice a year, the bar examination is a multiple-choice and essay test designed to ensure the skills and competencies needed to be a lawyer. Along with passing the bar examination, aspiring lawyers must also take a professional responsibility exam and undergo a character and fitness certification. 

After completing these requirements, an aspiring lawyer can then apply to become a lawyer in the jurisdiction they were tested in. Completing these steps is required to practice law.

Careers for Those with a Law or Legal Studies Degree from Online Colleges

There are several career paths for those who earn a law or legal studies degree from an online college. Below are just some of the potential opportunities available.

  • Lawyer – The number one career path for those who earn a Juris Doctor degree, lawyers are tasked with representing individuals or organizations in legal disputes. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, lawyers earn a median annual salary of $126,930. Careers in law are also growing at pace with the average of all other job markets.
  • Paralegal – An entry-level position in the field of law, paralegals work as assistants to lawyers. As a paralegal or legal assistance, you will provide lawyers with the much-needed support needed for trying a case. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported a median annual salary of $52,920/year for paralegals. This job market is projected to experience 10% growth between 2019 and 2020.
  • Law Enforcement Officer – A great career option for those who complete a Bachelor of Legal Studies degree is a career as a law enforcement officer. Using knowledge of the law gained through their studies, law enforcement officers work to ensure that people follow the laws and regulations of society. Law enforcement officers earn a median annual salary of $67,290/year. This job market is expected to grow 5% in the time between 2019-2020.

Claims Adjuster – As a claims adjuster, your job will be to work for an insurance company to investigate and evaluate insurance claims. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, claims adjusters earn a median annual salary of $68,130/year. This career is an excellent option for those with a Bachelor of Legal Studies. 

These are just some potential career paths for those with a law or legal studies degree. 

Accreditation for Law and Legal Studies Degrees from Online College

One significant thing to keep in mind when enrolling in a law degree from an online college is the program’s accreditation. Enrolling in a university or college that has been institutionally accredited is always a good practice when choosing a degree program.

But it is also crucial to make sure that any law program you are enrolling in has received accreditation from the American Bar Association. The American Bar Association is a national organization that ensures the quality of Juris Doctor programs across the country to ensure that they provide students with the skills and training needed to pass the bar examination and thrive as lawyers.

Choosing a law program that the American Bar Association does not accredit is not recommended. There is a chance that the program will be subpar and not provide students the information they need to succeed. Please ensure your program has received ABA accreditation.

Law and Legal Studies  Degrees from an Online College: Is it worth it?

A law or legal studies degree from an online college is a worthy option for students interested in a law or something law-adjacent career. Earning a law degree from an online college to work as a lawyer is a great way to secure a lucrative career path with solid employment options. 

When pursuing a Juris Doctor degree online, one thing that must be considered online is that online JD programs can be hard to come by and are typically not entirely available online. To complete many of these programs, students may be required to take some courses online.

Legal studies degrees are a fantastic option for starting your studies in either law or law-related fields. Whether you’re planning to continue into a law degree or begin a law enforcement or insurance adjustment career, a legal studies degree can prove invaluable. 

Completing a law or legal studies degree will provide you with many career applications with high job security.

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