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Online Associates Degree in Legal Studies

Justice in the U.S. depends on the legal system for enforcement. You can do your part to promote justice with an associate degree in legal studies -- and open the doors to diverse career paths.

Earning associate degrees in legal studies

Associate degrees in legal studies offer a basic introduction to the field. Available online or on campus, these degrees may take 18 to 24 months to complete. The curriculum may cover:

  1. Alternative dispute resolution
  2. Civil procedure
  3. Legal communications
  4. Legal ethics and professional responsibilities
  5. Legal investigation
  6. Legal management and administration
  7. Legal research and writing

In addition, specializations are available through electives in topics such as environmental law, family law, cyber law, corporate law, real estate law and more. Both online and campus programs often encourage a legal internship to help you apply the concepts you learn in a real-world setting.

Career options, outlook and salary

Associate degrees in legal studies may represent the first step toward a J.D. and a lawyer career, or a direct stepping stone into a legal assistant job.

Lawyers face a higher educational hurdle, but also enjoy greater responsibility and compensation. Associate degree graduates seeking to become lawyers can continue on to the bachelor's degree in legal studies, followed by the three-year J.D. from an accredited law school. After passing the bar exam, you'll be qualified to represent clients in court, develop case strategy and do high-level research and writing. As of 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a median salary of $112,760 for lawyers; these professionals can expect 10 percent job growth in the 2010-2020 period, which is less than average.

Legal support jobs are open to those with associate degrees in legal studies. Paralegals and legal assistants typically take care of the administrative work of cases, but may also contribute to the research and writing efforts. The median salary for legal support staff was $46,680 in 2010, with the highest salaries over $74,000. The BLS reports that demand is strong for trained professionals, with 18 percent job growth predicted over the 2010-2020 decade.

Online legal studies degrees let you update your career qualifications without interrupting your current job. Whether you're aiming for a high-demand position in legal support or highly rewarding work as a lawyer, associate degrees in legal studies can start you on your path.

Featured Online Legal Studies Degree Programs

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  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
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  • Founded in 1890, it has a campus in Waterbury, CT and offers online degree program in eight-week modules, six times a year.
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  • Founded in 1951 by World War II veteran Donald Grantham to provide affordable, higher education for service members and their families.
  • Approved by all branches of the United States Armed Forces for Tuition Assistance (TA), and for benefits payments by the Department of Veteran Affairs benefits (VA).
  • Reviews applicants’ military and professional training for possible transfer credits, and honors credit earned through successful completion of Defense Acquisition University (DAU) courses.
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  • Has students attend one four-week class at a time and take their final exam before moving on to their next class.
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An accredited online university, Capella University offers bachelor’s, master’s/MBA, doctoral, and certificate programs designed to take you to the forefront of your profession. Our competency-based curriculum delivers foundational knowledge and real-world skills, so what you’re learning is immediately applicable to your career. Right now, more than 36,000 students are expanding their opportunities with Capella programs.

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Founded in 1946 and located in the heart of central New York, Utica College is a regionally accredited, independent, private institution that features many of the advantages of a large university — such as undergraduate and graduate degree options, excellent academics, and outstanding faculty — with the intimacy and high degree of personal attention more closely associated with smaller private institutions.


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  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
  • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
  • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
  • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
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  • Ranked among the Best Grad Schools for Physician Assistants in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Dedicated to delivering quality education and personalized attention to students since 1899.
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  • Approved A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 1969.
  • Offers free refresher courses to alumni for any previously completed course.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
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