Listed below are the accredited schools in Alabama that offer a legal studies program.
Throughout the state of Alabama there are 16 universities and colleges that offer legal studies degrees. The schools are located in 13 cities within the state with the greatest concentration of the programs being located in Birmingham and Montgomery. The other locations of legal studies programs are in the cities of Tanner, Madison, Jasper, Tuscaloosa, Huntsville, Jasper, Bessemer, Enterprise, Bay Minette, Hanceville, and Gadsden.
Legal Studies Education in Alabama
In Alabama there are legal studies programs available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Currently, students have the option of choosing a certificate in legal studies, an associate’s degree in legal studies, a bachelor’s degree in legal studies, and a doctoral degree in legal studies.
The most common programs in the field of legal studies in Alabama are offered at the associate’s degree level. Approximately 81% of the legal studies programs in Alabama are at this level.
How to Earn a Legal Studies Degree in Alabama
When searching for a legal studies program in Alabama it is best to choose at least two or three to apply to. Most of the programs will include core classes in areas such as constitutional law, legislation, reasoning, and argumentation. Some of the elective courses students will be able to choose from include taxation, human relations, and government spending.
When completing a degree in legal studies it is important to join associations and organizations that are associated in the field. Networking is extremely important in this field and you will want to discuss employment opportunities, job duties, and information about advancing in the field with people that are currently working as paralegals or legal assistants.
Earning a certificate in legal studies is recommended. There are 3 certification options. NALA offers 2 certificate options, the CP (Certified Paralegal) and the CLA (Certified Legal Assistant). There are some prerequisites for these certificates including education and experience. A 2-day test must be taken in order to obtain each of the certifications. The AAPI offers a certification as well. This certification requires at least 5 years of experience in order to qualify for the test.
While certification is optional, it is recommended in order to advance in the career.
Job Outlook for Legal Studies in Alabama
The highest percentage of jobs available in legal studies is in the cities of Montgomery, Gadsden, and Birmingham. Tuscaloosa, Mobile, and Huntsville have the lowest percentage of jobs in the field in relation to population.
The salaries for paralegals and legal assistants in Alabama vary with the highest salaries found in Mobile, Montgomery, and Birmingham. In 2008 the average salary for a paralegal in Birmingham was $47,440, which is the highest average in the state. In Tuscaloosa the average salary was $31,800.
This is an occupation that attracts many applicants, which makes competition in the job market extremely high. A formal education along with experience will increase your chances of becoming employed in the field.