(BPT) - A law degree isn't only for lawyers. In fact, earning a law degree, even if you are currently employed in an entirely different field, can prove beneficial for career advancement and may even open the door for new opportunities.
These days, employers are looking for advanced degrees more than ever before. According to a new CareerBuilder survey:
* 38 percent of employers have increased their educational requirements over the last five years.
* 33 percent of employers are hiring more workers with master's degrees for positions that had been primarily held by those with four-year degrees.
The demand for higher education, and the need for those with legal knowledge, has encouraged schools to create specialized degree programs for professionals seeking added expertise, but not planning to become practicing attorneys.
Concord Law School at Kaplan University, the nation's first fully online law school, offers an Executive Juris Doctor(SM) (EJD) program, which provides students the same classes that JD students take, but with a special focus on the student's current profession or industry. Completion of the EJD degree does not qualify a student to take the bar examination or practice law, but it may allow you to pursue a variety of other positions.
Online degree programs offer flexibility so that working professionals can balance a career and their education. Opportunities to benefit from a legal education in areas outside of the traditional or classic law practice include the following:
Health care law
Health care law is one area seeing significant growth, thanks in part to the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It's one of the fastest-growing disciplines for graduate and post-graduate degrees, according to Lawyer & Statesman. Even if the ACA is modified or replaced, health care is still a highly complex field that affects almost all Americans, and will likely continue to grow no matter what happens on the legislative front.
A background in legal education can help nurses, physicians, clinicians and administrators. Other roles where a law degree can be surprisingly helpful include hospital administrators, Medicare appeals appointed representatives, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) officers, workers' compensation adjudicators, veterans benefits claims representatives, and hospital risk managers.
For business professionals, an advanced degree in law is valuable when it comes to reviewing contracts, shaping corporate policy, or even communicating better with corporate attorneys.
Positions most greatly impacted by a law degree include those related to risk management, regulatory compliance, contracts, grants, trusts and estates, financial services, real estate and trade.
The education world is constantly changing, with new laws and intricacies regarding managing students and parents. There are also constant developments in anti-discrimination and sexual harassment law as well as student loan legislation. Additionally, a legal education can prove useful when shaping higher education policy, and helping special needs children, their families and local communities through nonprofit launches.
Positions that can be enhanced with a legal education include administrators and teachers, along with university/college professors, Title IX officers, and special education advocates.
Law & technology
As a visionary, businessman or entrepreneur, knowledge of technology law is key. This includes the areas of intellectual property, security, intelligence, and privacy.
Surprising roles that benefit from a law degree include patent agents, chief technology officers, innovation officers, and those who may negotiate or secure international distribution rights.
To learn more about Concord Law School and its EJD program, visit www.concordlawschool.edu.
For comprehensive consumer information, visit kaplan.edu/info. Concord Law School cannot guarantee employment or career advancement.