Career Options for Law Careers That Don't Require a Law Degree
There are many careers in the legal field that can be pursued without a law degree. These careers may involve enforcing laws, taking action when laws are broken, or preparing documents that may be used in legal proceedings. Below is a list of jobs in this field that don't require a degree in law.
|Job Title||Median Salary* (2016)||Job Growth* (2014-2024)|
|Police or Detective||$61,600||4%|
|Paralegal or Legal Assistant||$49,500||8%|
|Correctional Officer or Bailiff||$42,820||4%|
|Arbitrator, Mediator or Conciliator||$59,770||9%|
|Probation Officer or Correctional Treatment Specialist||$50,160||4%|
|Security Guard or Gaming Surveillance Officer||$25,840||5%|
|Legal Secretary||$ 44,180||-4%|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Career Information for Law Careers That Don't Require a Law Degree
Police or Detective
Police officers and detectives maintain order in society by ensuring people follow the laws, and by intervening when laws are broken. They may investigate crimes, gather evidence, and arrest people suspected of committing a crime. They need to know the law and legal procedures to perform their duties. The minimum educational requirements for police officers and detectives are a high school diploma and completion of academy training. A degree may be required for some positions.
Paralegal or Legal Assistant
Paralegals and legal assistants work with lawyers to prepare documents for clients. They may research issues related to a client's needs, or assess and organize material for a case. Their work involves writing reports, securing legal documents for court and preparing exhibits. It's possible to become a paralegal or legal assistant by completing paralegal studies and earning an associate's degree, or by earning a paralegal studies certificate after earning a bachelor's degree.
Correctional Officer or Bailiff
The minimum educational requirement for bailiffs is a high school diploma, while correctional officers must also complete a training program. College studies may increase job opportunities, particularly for those seeking work in federal jails or prisons. Bailiffs work in court buildings and are responsible for ensuring the safety of all present. Correctional officers monitor people who are accused or convicted of a crime. Both of these careers involve knowledge and enforcement of the law.
Arbitrator, Mediator or Conciliator
Although lawyers or judges may become arbitrators, mediators and conciliators, it is not necessary to have a law degree to work in this field. A bachelor's degree, a certificate or master's degree in conflict resolution or business administration can qualify applicants for these careers. While arbitrators may consider evidence and make legal decisions, mediators and conciliators try to help parties who are having a legal disagreement come to an agreement and resolve their issues.
Court reporters may need to be licensed or certified, and they need to earn a certificate by completing a court reporter program. They document all legal proceedings in courts, such as trials or hearings. They also assist with court hearings by cataloguing evidence or exhibits that are presented. Court reporters use recording equipment and produce a typed record of the court proceedings. Because they spend their time working in courts, these reporters are exposed to the workings of the law.
Probation Officer or Correctional Treatment Specialist
Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists work with convicted criminals who have been released from prison or are under court-ordered probation. They have to be aware of court procedures and legal requirements for probation, and they monitor the people on their case list to ensure they are adhering to the terms of their probation. Correctional treatment specialists help former inmates prepare for life after they've completed prison and parole. A bachelor's degree is required for either career in this field.
Security Guard or Gaming Surveillance Officer
Security guards and gaming surveillance officers provide security to ensure the safety of possessions and people. They may sometimes testify in court, and part of their job involves monitoring people and identifying suspicious behavior. They also take reports about crimes or are involved in detaining suspects for the police. A high school diploma is required to become a security guard. Gaming surveillance officers may need to be registered, and are often expected to have prior security experience.
It isn't necessary to pursue a postsecondary education to become a secretary; however, legal secretaries need to learn legal terminology and can do so by completing community college courses. Legal secretaries perform many standard secretarial duties, such as making appointments, answering phones and filing. They also prepare legal documents, and must be familiar with legal terms. Documents they work on may include subpoenas and summonses.