Law Teacher Training Programs and Educational Requirements

In formal law teaching degree programs, students gain professorial skills as they explore various areas of law through research projects and traditional courses. Those interested in teaching or researching law at the university level often pursue a Juris Doctor (J.D.) or a Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) degree.

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Essential Information

J.D. and S.J.D degrees provide formal legal training and opportunities for direct experience in teaching fellowships. J.D. programs prepare students to take the state bar exam with fundamental courses in administrative law, immigration law and housing policy. They usually can be completed in 3 years. S.J.D. programs are advanced and require an original research thesis for graduation. Prospective applicants for either path must submit Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores and have a stellar academic and extracurricular record, with the addition of a J.D. for S.J.D. admission.

Juris Doctor Program

In a Juris Doctor program, students have the option of selecting a concentration. Some of these include public law, general practice, advocacy and business law and regulation. Individuals who enter this program have the opportunity to advance their understanding of the law through advanced clinics, classes and writing projects. Some courses that these programs might include are:

  • Contracts
  • Civil procedure
  • Constitutional law
  • Torts
  • Property

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Doctor of Juridical Science Program

A Doctor of Juridical Science program focuses on different law areas, such as human rights law and tax law. The program has different stages that are research- and writing-focused. During their time in this program, students go through audit classes, conduct research and create their own thesis.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS reports that law teachers make a mean annual wage of $126,230 as of May 2015. The job outlook for all postsecondary teachers is expected to be 13% growth from 2014-2024, which is faster than the average for all other occupations.

Continuing Education

Although there are no specific licenses or certifications for law professors, most universities are only interested in hiring professors who have passed the state bar exam, which is required for all practicing lawyers. Graduates may further their studies with continuing education courses and seminars to stay abreast of current legal issues, or pursue a second master's or doctoral degree in a specialized field, such as tax or immigration law.

Those interested in teaching law can seek formal education through J.D. and S.J.D. degree programs. Aspiring law teachers will typically need to pass the state bar exam in order to find a position at a university.

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