Legal Office Technology Associate Degree

If you are interested in studying the office technology necessary for the legal field, consider getting an associate's degree. This article tells you what the common office procedure and terminology courses are for a program, along with possible careers as a legal secretary and certification options. Schools offering Paralegal degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Legal Office Technology Associate's Degree?

Typically, a program leads you to an Associate of Applied Science in one of a variety of related fields. Depending on the school, the degree might be in office administration technology, business information technology or applied business. In most cases, you're given the option of selecting an area of emphasis such as business administration support, medical office administration or legal office operation. In this case, you want to select the legal office emphasis or specialization.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, over 180 schools around the country offer programs leading to an associate's degree in an area related to becoming a legal administrative assistant or legal secretary. Listed schools include technical schools, community colleges or academies.

Degree Fields Office administration technology or business information technology with a legal emphasis
Common CoursesDocument processing, transcription, spreadsheets, business law
Certification Options Voluntary, but passing a certification exam after graduation could enhance job prospects
Median Salary (2014)*$42,770 for legal secretaries

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are Some Program Details?

A program leading to a legal office technology associate's degree generally takes two years to complete and consists of 60-108 credits. Typical courses may include legal research and writing, legal terminology, legal office procedures, document processing, professional communication, transcription, spreadsheets and business law. In addition, most programs require you to participate in an internship or practicum at a school-approved legal facility.

If you prefer, or if your schedule dictates it, you may be able to complete a legal office technology associate's degree program almost entirely online. You can complete most courses online, but you must appear in person to complete internship or work co-op components.

Am I Certified Upon Graduation?

Certification is not automatically conferred once you graduate. While voluntary, you may find that certification will enhance your advancement possibilities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in order to be eligible to sit for a certification examination, you must present evidence of a specific amount of work or educational experience, or a combination of both (www.bls.gov). Certification examinations are administered by a professional organization such as the National Association of Administration Professionals, National Legal Secretaries Association or Legal Secretaries International, Inc.

What Is the Occupation Outlook?

The BLS projected that employment for office administrators would increase 3% from 2014-2024. Opportunities for legal secretaries were projected to decrease 4% over the same time period. The BLS's latest salary figures are from May 2014. At that time, the median annual wages for legal secretaries were $42,770. The salary for general administrative assistants was $35,970.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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