Child Advocate Lawyer: Career Information and Education Requirements

Child advocate lawyers require a significant amount of formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

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Lawyers typically complete an undergraduate degree before entering law school, and they must pass a state bar exam. Child advocate lawyers need an education in family law, and can opt to pursue certification from the National Association of Counsel for Children. Some states may require testing to become a child advocate lawyer.

Essential Information

Child advocate lawyers are a positive voice for children in the legal system. Focusing in child advocacy law allows lawyers to defend the legal rights of children and help ensure that children's best interests are protected in the courtroom. Many states have an office of the child advocate that exists to promote child welfare in the courts. Child advocate lawyers work for state or local offices of the child advocate, non-profit organizations and independent law offices. A child advocate lawyer must meet the educational requirements to be a licensed attorney, which include earning a Juris Doctor (J.D.) law degree.

Required Education Juris Doctor
Licensure/Certification State attorney licensure, optional certification by National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC)
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% for all lawyers
Average Salary (2015)* $136,260 annually for all lawyers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Education Requirements

A child advocate lawyer must meet the educational requirements to be a licensed attorney, including earning a Juris Doctor (J.D.) law degree. Future lawyers who wish to specialize in child advocacy may complete coursework in family law, children and the law, criminal investigations, domestic violence and criminal defense. Most states have no additional education requirements for independent lawyers advocating for children, but a few states require child advocate lawyers to complete continuing education courses related to the well being of children. To be appointed as a guardian ad litem by the courts in some states, a child advocate lawyers may need to complete state-specific training or continuing education coursework.

The National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC) has a certification available for attorneys. Child advocate lawyers who work in child welfare law and meet education and proficiency criteria established by the NACC, may become a Child Welfare Law Specialist.

Salary Information and Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for lawyers in all disciplines will grow by 6% between 2014 and 2024, which is the national average job growth. The BLS also reported that the average annual salary for lawyers was $136,260 as of May 2015.

Those interested in pursuing a career as a child advocate lawyer should include studies in family law, children and domestic violence as part of their legal training. Some states also require child advocate lawyers to take continuing education courses, and certification is available. Lawyers in general can expect to see average job growth over the 2014-2024 decade.

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