Being a police officer, a parole officer or a paralegal are all career options for those with a degree in legal administration or law enforcement. It may be possible to begin a career as a police officer with a high school diploma and police academy training, but some departments require a degree. Paralegals need an associate's degree; parole officers must have a bachelor's degree, and in some cases a master's degree and certification is required.
In legal administration and law enforcement education programs, students study topics like law, forensics, business, management and criminology. Legal administration degrees focus on principles of law and management, while law enforcement focuses more on criminology, psychology and sociology. Graduates of legal administration and law enforcement degree programs may find work in careers such as police officers, parole officers and paralegals.
|Career||Police Officer||Parole Officer||Paralegal|
|Education Requirements||High school diploma||Bachelor's degree||Associate's degree|
|Other Requirements||Police academy training||Master's degree may be required by some employers and a certification test is required in some states||National paralegal certification may be required by some employers|
|Job Growth (2014-2024)*||4% for police and detectives||4% for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists||8% for paralegals and legal assistants|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$58,320 annually for police and sheriff's patrol officers||$49,360 annually for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists||$48,810 annually for paralegals and legal assistants|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
People interested in working in the criminal justice system may wish to pursue a degree in legal administration or law enforcement. In legal administration and law enforcement degree programs, students learn the foundations of law ethics, criminology, psychology and more. Keep reading for information on three careers associated with legal administration and law enforcement degrees.
Police officers are responsible for the safety of citizens and the prevention of crime. For this reason, they receive extensive police academy training in a number of different areas, ranging from first aid to firearms. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that police officers typically only need a high school diploma to fulfill educational requirements. However, completing undergraduate coursework or receiving a degree may increase their chances of advancement. The BLS projected the employment for police and detectives to grow at a rate of 4% from 2014 to 2024. The BLS also states that the median annual wage for police and sheriff's patrol officers was $58,320 as of 2015.
Parole officers supervise convicted offenders who have been released from prison before their full sentences have been served. Parole officers also function as counselors, giving former convicts and their families psychological support and advice. Parole officers are required to participate in a training program for their work and may need to have a master's degree for employment. Depending on the state, parole officers may be required to take a certification test. According to the BLS, employment of probation officers and correctional treatment specialists, including parole officers, was expected to see 4% growth outlook from 2014 to 2024. This is because probation is more affordable than incarceration. The BLS also stated in 2015 that the median annual wage for all probation officers and correctional treatment specialists was $49,360.
Paralegals assist attorneys in duties that include research, document preparation and legal review. Paralegals are not allowed to set legal fees, provide advice to clients or represent anyone in a court of law. However, most of the other tasks performed in a legal office are often delegated to paralegals to save time or cost. Aspiring paralegals must undergo training either on the job or through paralegal training programs offered by universities or community colleges. While it is not necessary, certification by a local or national paralegal organization may aid these workers in the job market. The BLS expected employment to grow by 8% from 2014 to 2024, but the competition for jobs was likely to be keen. The BLS states that the median annual wage for paralegals and legal assistants was $48,810 in 2015.
Programs in legal administration and law enforcement cover a wide range of subjects including law ethics, psychology, and business. These degrees can prepare paralegals, parole officers and police officers for their careers. Paralegals assist lawyers in preparing for cases, while police officers investigate crimes and arrest suspects, and parole officers work with individuals who have been released from prison early.