What Can You Do With a Degree in Legal Studies?
Given how vast the legal studies landscape is, it’s natural to want to understand what exactly you can do with a degree in it. A legal studies degree can be extremely beneficial if career stability is important to you and you’re pursuing a career that requires extensive knowledge of legal matters.
This degree can help you qualify for fast-growing roles such as a paralegal, jury consultant, law enforcement officer and mediator. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that they expect employment for mediators to grow by 5% from 2022-2032, which is faster than the average growth of all occupations.
So, what are legal studies and is a legal studies degree worth it? In this guide, we’ll answer your questions about what a degree in legal studies offers, what jobs you can get with a legal studies degree and the average salaries you can expect.
What Is a Legal Studies Degree?
A legal studies degree is a degree that offers students a deeper understanding of legal terms, regulations and processes. The program prepares students for roles where they frequently use legal knowledge to assist others with legal processes. A degree in legal studies will help students qualify for immediate employment or prepare them for the advanced education needed to become judges or lawyers.
There are numerous core skills students can gain from a legal studies degree. These include:
- Analysis and investigation skills.
- Legal research experience.
- Strong active listening and communication skills.
- Concise writing capabilities.
- Thorough understanding of courtroom procedure.
- Advanced research skills.
- Experience reading and understanding legal language and terms.
What Jobs Can You Get With a Legal Studies Degree?
You can get various jobs with the skills learned in a legal studies program. Here’s an overview of what you can do with a legal studies degree.
Law Enforcement Officer
A law enforcement officer is a government employee such as a sheriff deputy, FBI agent or police officer. They possess a working knowledge of laws, legal proceedings, constitutional protections, civil and criminal rights, evidence gathering, and criminal investigations. A legal studies degree can equip law enforcement officers with the knowledge needed to execute their roles properly.
The average yearly salary of a law enforcement officer is $47,347.
Paralegals greatly benefit from a legal studies degree because they act as a right arm to attorneys and other legal professionals. They provide an understanding of procedural rules, research legal information, help prepare for court and communicate with clients. Paralegals can freelance or work as contractors, and while entry-level paralegals will mainly carry out administrative tasks, more advanced paralegals will play an integral role in a trial team.
The average yearly salary of a paralegal is $58,195.
A mediator, sometimes known as a conciliator or arbitrator, helps opposing parties reach a legal decision that benefits both sides. They review the individual arguments of both parties, research related cases and their outcomes, listen to each side explain their issues, and help develop a suitable solution. With their help, clients can reduce court time and legal costs, allowing them to establish a solution faster and without a standard trial.
The average yearly salary of a mediator is $51,293.
Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent helps homeowners sell homes and assists homebuyers with finding a new home. They can also help people with the sale and purchase of commercial or undeveloped property. A degree in legal studies helps real estate agents analyze local regulations and zoning laws, understand legal issues and paperwork, and know how best to approach property disputes and handle contract negotiations. These professionals can either choose to function as a small business or work with a larger real estate company.
The average yearly salary of a real estate agent is $94,927.
Average Salary for a Legal Studies Degree in Massachusetts
We’ve mentioned some of the U.S. average salaries associated with these careers, but now let’s talk about the average pay for a legal studies degree in MA. The salary you receive depends on various factors, such as your region, education, additional skills, certifications and years of experience. Below, dive into the different careers in legal studies and the salaries you can receive for them in Massachusetts.
- Police officer: The average police officer earns $73,319 per year. New workers receive around $48,627, and highly experienced officers may earn as much as $98,160 annually.
- Paralegal: The average pay for a paralegal is around $62,046. The entry-level salary starts around $38,999, and highly experienced paralegals can earn up to $105,814.
- Mediator: The average mediator salary is $56,327 per year, the entry-level average pay is $22,104, and highly experienced mediators can earn up to $164,168.
- Real estate agent: The average real estate agent salary is $70,092 per year. New workers start at around $23,713, and seasoned professionals can earn up to $278,149 yearly.
- Court reporter: The average pay for a court reporter is $86,614, while the entry-level salary starts around $33,373. The highest earners can make up to $201,545 per year.
- Compliance officer: The average salary for a compliance officer is $81,904. An entry-level professional will likely earn around $52,497, and a highly experienced officer can make as much as $131,776.
Is a Legal Studies Degree Worth It?
A legal studies degree can be an ideal decision if you’re looking for a career with a foundation in U.S. law. If you’re still unsure, consider your motivations and ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you looking to gain more responsibilities in a current law-related role?
- Do you want more job stability?
- Do you want to break into a new industry?
- Does the law and legal systems interest you?
- Do you want to earn a higher salary?
- Do you want to understand the legal issues you encounter in your current role?
- Do you want a promotion?
Get Your Legal Studies Degree With Mount Wachusett Community College
With so many exciting growth opportunities, it’s easy to see why this degree has become popular in the U.S. To get started attaining a legal studies degree and securing a role in the legal industry, you’ll need to find the right place to study.
At MWCC, our legal studies program will equip you with the knowledge to find a career or pursue further education. We also provide an option to transfer your credits earned toward a four-year degree. Interested? We welcome you to apply with MWCC today or contact a member of our team for more information on how we can help you advance in your career.