There are a variety of career options for someone interested in a career in constitutional law, from lawyer to law professor. Constitutional law deals with human rights and other issues pertaining to the United States Constitution.
The field of constitutional law examines and evaluates the human rights given to individuals by their government and the relationships between the executive, judiciary and legislative branches. The typical degree for this field is a Juris Doctor (JD), but master's degree programs in constitutional law are also available. Particularly at the JD level, students have numerous opportunities for practical experience, including internships.
|Career Titles||Lawyer||Judge and Hearing Officer||Postsecondary Law Teacher|
|Education Requirements||Juris Doctor||Juris Doctor||Juris Doctor or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD); master's degree might be acceptable at some institutions|
|Licensure Requirements||State law license||State law license||None required|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||6%||1% decrease||22%|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$115,820||$109,010||$105,250|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Several job opportunities are available to graduates with a background in constitutional law studies, and the majority are in the legal system. Some positions include governmental lawyers, judges and paralegals. Some people function as legal experts within government jobs and advocate within the private sector.
Not all students who concentrate in constitutional law studies work specifically within the legal system. Depending on the degree level attained, graduates might pursue careers as senators, lobbyists, analysts or consultants within government and law. Many graduates find jobs as social workers, journalists and teachers, and others work in law enforcement, public relations and business.
Job prospects in constitutional law, as with most law fields, decline along with a troubled economy. Many people are less inclined to pay for a lawyer's services when money is running low; however, because of the public's reliance on the U.S. constitution and its guarantee of freedoms and human rights, constitutional law tends to take less of a hit when the economy turns sour.
Lawyers who concentrate on constitutional law studies often find positions at law firms that specialize in areas of human rights and civil liberties, civil rights, gender equality and appellate work. Other areas include privacy and public law, consumer law, gay rights, harassment and discrimination. Many lawyers practice law concerning other constitutionally related issues at various firms or their own practices.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment rate for lawyers was predicted to grow 6% from 2014 to 2024 (www.bls.gov). Governments and businesses were expected to hire an increasing number of staff attorneys, and self-employed lawyers were projected to thrive more slowly due to law firm competition.
In addition to presiding over trials and hearings, judges research the law and decide how it should best be applied. Judges also write opinions and decisions. Other duties, such as jury management and the issuing of warrants, can vary depending on the judge's specific area of practice.
The BLS predicted judges would see a negative employment change, and the positions would remain highly competitive to get. Between 2014 to 2024, BLS figures show the field for judges and hearing officers is expected to decline by 1%.
Postsecondary Law Teacher
Postsecondary teachers divide the majority of their time between teaching, working with students in small groups and conducting research. The number of classes professors are required to teach, class size and administrative duty requirements vary depending on the size and type of institution they work for.
According to the BLS, employment opportunities for law teachers at the postsecondary level should be reasonably favorable, with an expected growth rate of 22% for 2014-2024. As the number of students enrolling in postsecondary education increases, the need for teachers is likely to correspond.
Constitutional law is a great career for attorneys interested in the United States Constitution and how it functions as a modern document in legal terms. You'll need to go through extensive formal education, have thorough knowledge of the legal system and the United States Constitution, and excellent verbal and written communication skills for this profession.