If you’re interested in working in law, law enforcement or with government agencies and corporations, a degree in legal studies may be the right path for you. A certificate, associate’s or bachelor’s degree can provide students with an excellent foundation to further their career goals. While students planning to attend law or graduate school may choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree in legal studies, other students prefer to utilize the degree to gain immediate employment.
You may be curious as to the difference between Criminal Justice and Legal Studies. Criminal Justice educates and prepares students with knowledge in criminal law. Legal Studies gives students the expertise in civil, administrative and criminal law.
This program allows students to earn both the bachelor’s degree and a paralegal certificate at the same time. The paralegal certificate prepares students to sit for paralegal certification exam.
Why Legal Studies at WVU Parkersburg?
Extensive local involvement with the Parkersburg and regional legal professionals creates beneficial networking and internship opportunities for students in the Mid-Ohio Valley.
Legal Studies at WVU Parkersburg is a fully-imbedded career ladder program. This means that students can earn a 30-hour degree certificate, move on to the 60-hour associate’s degree, and then earn a 120-hour bachelor’s degree without losing any credits along the way.
Ohio residents can qualify for in-state tuition rates through our reciprocity agreement. Competitive tuition – ranked the 6th in the nation for bachelor program affordability by the U.S. Department of Education.
Program instructors bring a wealth of knowledge, education and international experience in the legal studies field.
- Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Legal Studies
- Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Legal Studies
- Certificate in Legal Studies
Several career options in private law firms are associated with a degree or certificate in legal studies: paralegal, legal assistant and legal administrator. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2012 median pay for paralegals and legal assistants was $50,220 per year.
Criminal justice and law enforcement careers are also associated with a degree in legal studies. These careers include correctional officer, police officer, investigator and detective. Educational requirements vary for these positions. The 2012 annual median pay for correctional officers was $43,550 and for police officers, $57,770.
In some states, a degree in legal studies can provide entry into government positions such as a magistrate judge, administrative law judge or hearing officer. Educational qualifications for these positions vary by state, with some states requiring a law degree. Legal Studies provides an good start for students who wish to move on to law school. You must be elected or appointed to these positions, depending on the process used in your state. The 2012 annual median pay for administrative law judges, adjudicators and hearing officers was $89,970.
You can also find corporate jobs associated with a Legal Studies degree, such as human resources assistant, customer service representative, analyst, and consultant. Teaching in paralegal and legal assistant programs or working as an assistant or advocate in a community non-profit corporation are also options. Pay varies by position. The average pay for a customer service representative in 2012 was $33,110; while the average pay for a human resources assistant was $38,340.