What Can You Do With a Master’s in Legal Studies?

Laws govern society and help keep order for the citizens within it. There are laws for business operations, individual interactions, buying and selling of property and many other personal and impersonal interactions. Those who work in legal occupations help individuals, businesses and governments operate within the law. They represent a variety of clients, help settle disputes and bring forth justice when criminal acts have been committed.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), employment of legal occupations is projected to grow 7% from 2018 to 2028, which is faster than average for all occupations. More than 93,300 new jobs in the legal sphere will be added during this time.

A BLS report showing the relationship between education level, unemployment rates and weekly earnings shows the median weekly earnings of someone with a master’s degree was $1,434 in 2018, compared to $1,198 for someone with a bachelor’s degree—that’s a difference of more than $12,200 a year. Someone with a Master of Legal Studies is likely to make more than someone who holds a bachelor’s degree or lower.

An MLS degree can lead to a wide variety of positions depending on people’s interests and the legal concentration they choose. Some MLS degree holders go on to get into law school and become attorneys or judges. Others apply what they’ve learned to ensure compliance is followed in their current roles and companies. Some MLS degree holders evolve their current career paths with their new skills by moving into leadership positions or expanding their job duties in a new role.

Here are five jobs that you may be able to pursue with a master’s in legal studies and showcase the different environments you can work in with an MLS degree.

1. Conciliator

Conciliators are similar to mediators in that they guide opposing parties toward a mutually acceptable agreement. However, while mediators work with both parties present, conciliators meet with each party separately and then make recommendations. Before a conciliator meets with their clients, the clients agree if they’ll adhere to the recommendations.

According to the BLS, the median annual wage in 2018 for conciliators was $62,270.

2. Human Resources Managers

Businesses and corporations must abide by all laws in how they treat employees and operate. Human resources managers strategize and maintain an organization’s administrative functions. They are in charge of an organization’s workforce, overseeing employee benefit programs, consulting with managers on human resources issues like sexual harassment and equal employment opportunity, and handling staff issues like dispute resolution.

According to the BLS, the 2018 median pay for human resources managers was $113,300 per year. The job outlook for these positions is expected to grow 7% between 2018 and 2028, which is faster than average.

3. Law Librarian

With an MLS, you gain an understanding of legal studies that may allow you to assist all types of professionals who need access to legal information. Legal librarians help people find the information they need to conduct research, whether for professional or personal use. Law librarians are typically required to have a law degree like an MLS, according to the OOH. They conduct legal research and help law students, law clerks, lawyers and judges find and analyze legal resources. They might work in law school libraries or in law firms.

According to the BLS, the 2018 median pay for librarians was $59,050 per year, with the top 10% earning more than $93,050.

4. Top Executive

If you want to climb the ladder at your current job or in a new corporate role, an MLS degree may help. Top executives, like chief executive officers, typically have a master’s degree, according to the BLS.

Top executives create strategies and policies to help organizations achieve goals and manage activities related to providing services or making products. They might be involved in negotiating contracts, appointing managers and department heads, and determining ways to improve programs and performance. It is important to note that becoming an executive may often require a mix of education, professional experience, and industry expertise.

According to the BLS, the 2018 national median pay for top executives was $104,980 per year. The job outlook for top executives is expected to grow 6% between 2018 and 2028, with 150,600 new jobs added.

5. Medical and Health Services Manager

Medical and health services managers—also known as health care administrators or health care executives—plan, direct and coordinate health and medical services. They work for organizations such as doctors’ offices, hospitals and outpatient facilities.

An MLS degree is helpful in this profession since medical and health services managers need to understand regulatory compliance and health care laws.

According to the BLS, the 2018 median pay for medical and health services managers was $99,730 per year. The job outlook for these positions is expected to grow by 18% between 2018 and 2028, which is much faster than average.

See Where an Online MLS Can Take You in Your Career

An MLS degree can help you find new legal jobs to pursue and grow your current career as you add legal studies knowledge to your skill set, expand your role capabilities, or look to potentially move into a higher position. With more than 20 online MLS degree programs to choose from, you can learn with a schedule that works for you.