Professionals in the field of education law ensure state and federal laws and policies are upheld. Lawyers, postsecondary teachers and postsecondary educational administrators are some of the professionals who work in the field of education law. Administrators are required to have a master's degree, while lawyers need a law degree and postsecondary teachers usually need a doctoral degree to enter their career field.
Educational reform influences national and state law and policy, which can in turn affect individual students, institutions and schools across the country. Professionals are thus needed to uphold and enforce these state and national regulations.
|Career||Lawyer||Postsecondary Teacher||Postsecondary Educational Administrator|
|Education Requirements||Completion of law school||Doctoral degree usually required||Master's degree usually required|
|Other Requirements||State bar licensing||State licensing||Related work experience|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||6%||22%||9%|
|Average Salary (2015)*||$136,260||$126,230||$102,610|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Besides becoming a lawyer, those specializing in educational law can do their part to affect educational reform by becoming school administrators or instructors. Read on to educate yourself about the many careers someone interested in educational law can practice.
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The field of education law provides many opportunities for lawyers, policymakers and related professionals. Education lawmakers and policymakers may advocate for fairness in education, poor and underprivileged students, students with disabilities and other special cases. They may create laws to eliminate gender or cultural bias in standardized testing, classroom learning, class projects and other assignments.
Educational Requirements for Lawyers
In order to become a lawyer, one must complete a bachelor's degree program as well as a law school degree, or Juris Doctor (J.D.). Upon completion of law school, graduates must pass a bar exam applicable to the state in which they wish to practice law. Most states also require that lawyers continue their education in order to remain updated on the latest issues in the field of law.
Prospective education lawyers should pursue courses in law school such as education law and policy, child welfare, education advocacy and child advocacy where applicable. Some schools offer joint J.D. and Master of Arts (M.A.) programs in law and education. These programs are specifically designed for students who are enrolled in law school and are interested in pursuing a career in educational law and policy.
Educational Requirements for Non-Lawyers
Some non-lawyer careers in the field of education law include those of teachers, school administrators or educational legislators. These positions do not necessarily require that a student become a lawyer or enroll in law school, although educational lawyers may fulfill these positions as well.
Generally, a bachelor's degree in education or a related field can allow prospective education law professionals to begin their careers. For teaching positions in public schools, a valid teaching certificate is required. In order for these professionals to advance their careers, they may choose to enroll in a master's degree program in educational administration or a related field.
Career Options in Education Law
Educational legislators develop and endorse laws related to education. These appointed or elected professionals research issues and establish regulations in the educational sector. Education law professionals may also teach their profession in postsecondary institutions. Additionally, educational lawyers advocate for fairness in education and work to ensure institutions follow existing laws. Other career options in education law include legal advocates and education administrators.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported annual average salaries of $136,260 for lawyers and $60,440 for secondary school teachers in 2015. Lawyers could look forward to 6% employment growth, according to the BLS, from 2014 to 2024, while elementary, kindergarten and high school teachers could expect 6% growth in employment opportunities during that time.
Educational law professionals can be instrumental in changing laws, policies and regulations to promote educational reform. These professionals include school administrators, postsecondary teachers and lawyers. While lawyers can expect an average rate of job growth from 2014 to 2024, postsecondary education administrators and postsecondary teachers will enjoy job growth rates that are faster than the national average during this same time period.