Why Get an Employment Law Degree?

Created by Henry Steele

By Henry Steele - January 15, 2019
Reading Time: 5 minutes
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Given the growing complexity of employment law in our growing economy, students who want to gain from legal training but do not want to be attorneys can earn their Master of Legal Studies or MLS degree. With an MLS degree in employment law, students will gain a basic understanding of the US legal system. Almost all industries in the United States work in some capacity with employment law. It is often beneficial for professionals in organizations with a background in employment law to make better decisions at work and help their company with complex employment legal issues.

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Some of the occupations that can benefit from an employment MLS degree are:

  • Paralegals
  • Business executives
  • Compliance specialists
  • Lobbyists
  • HR professionals
  • Health care professionals
  • Government employees

Employment Law Degree Opportunity

Generally, with increased economic activity in the past three years, the US economy is stronger, and there is a higher demand for most types of legal experts, including those with skills in employment law. For example, the need for paralegals and legal assistants will increase by 15% by 2026. As law firms are trying to boost the efficiency of their legal services and cut costs, they are expected to be hiring more legal assistants and paralegals with skills in employment law.

Some of the benefits to consider with a paralegal career with this advanced degree are:

  • Rising pay with $50,000 tending to be a starting wage in many cities
  • Stable outlook for jobs: 15% growth is thought to be the minimum rate for the next several years
  • Easy to enter career: You can earn a master’s degree to become a higher level paralegal, and you do not have to pass the bar. This degree is only two years, while you must go through three years of law school and pass the bar to become a lawyer.
  • Rising prestige: Paralegals are not legal secretaries; they are doing more complex work. They have management roles in companies, leadership roles in top law firms and also entrepreneurial jobs in many paralegal businesses.
  • Client contact: Paralegals need to work under an attorney, but they can still have a high degree of client contact, which many professionals find rewarding.

Employment Law Degree Careers

An MLS degree can offer students the credibility and expertise they need to be successful in careers including:

  • Compliance officer
  • Corporate executive
  • HR manager
  • Legal assistant
  • Paralegal
  • Social worker
  • Police officer
  • Lobbyist

Employment Law Degree Salaries

The salaries with an MLS degree will vary widely depending upon the exact nature of the job chosen. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states the median wage for paralegals and legal assistants in 2017 was $50,400. The lowest 10% earned less than $31,000, and the top 10% earning above $81,100.

The median wages in these professions varied based upon the sector worked:

  • Federal government: $65,900
  • Finance and insurance: $60,700
  • Local government: $49,600
  • Legal services: $48,300
  • State government: $46,200

Employment Law Degree Employers

Professionals with an MLS degree can work for corporations, state and federal government, lobbying organizations, police departments, employment centers, HR departments and much more. Some of the other top jobs and employment opportunities for this degree are:

  • Paralegal or legal assistant
  • Legislative assistant
  • HR representative
  • Compliance officer
  • Accountant
  • Law enforcement officer
  • Real estate agent
  • Mediator
  • Law Librarian
  • Government relations officer

Online Employment Law Degrees

Hiring effective and high-quality personnel is vital to the success of every company. Only highly trained legal professionals grasp the complex regulatory and legal framework that affects hiring, recruitment, promotion, maintenance and firing of independent contractors and employees. Arizona State University has a unique online Master of Legal Studies (MLS) in HR and Employment Law that will help you to solve and identify the vital legal problems HR department face daily.

Students who earn their MLS degree come from a diverse area of backgrounds and want to move up the career ladder in their organization. The program explores the complex relationship between law and many topics that are important to companies, such as employment law and HR. International students have found the MLS degree to be an excellent resource to gain a good understanding of how the law in the US works, and how decisions are made in our legal structure.

Graduates that earn this ASU master’s degree will have a strong understanding of legal structures, US law, and legal reasoning. Also, graduates will be able to apply various aspects of federal and state laws to situations that affect their work situations, particularly in employment and HR law, in this case. This includes being able to understand when there is a legal issue that requires a licensed attorney.

Students who graduate with this master’s degree (not a J.D. degree to practice law) will have ample job opportunities in jobs such as:

  • HR leadership
  • Ombudsman
  • Company VP
  • Hiring manager
  • Labor advocate
  • Head hunter
  • Small business owner

Many law students consider ASU and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law to earn their degree in employment law due to its high ratings. Consider:

  • Rated as the #3 law school in the Western United States
  • #8 public law school in the US
  • #10 in career services for graduates
  • #14 in offering financial aid
  • #25 best law school in the US
  • Ranked as one of the most innovative colleges by US News and World Report in 2019

Employment Law Degree Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to this JD program at ASU in employment law, you should have the following materials available for submission:

  • Resume
  • Statement of purpose
  • Letters of recommendation
  • 0 GPA in undergraduate work
  • Work experience in the legal field may be required
  • Personal interview
  • College transcripts

Employment Law Degree Curriculum

For the MLS degree in employment law, the following classes are mandatory:

  • US Law and Legal Analysis
  • Contracts or Fundamentals of Construct Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Civil Procedure
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Constitutional Law II
  • Business Organizations
  • Intellectual Property

The remainder of the graduate courses in this MLS degree program are electives related to employment and HR law.

Employment Law Degree Financial Assistance

Arizona State University offers many grants and scholarships for legal students, including the following. Some of these may be only for J.D. earning students; check with the admissions office:

  • Ronald Jay Cohen Excellence in Advocacy Award
  • Rosette LLP Scholarship
  • Rex Lewis Scholarship
  • Sandra Day O’Connor Award
  • Simonson/Meyerson Family Scholarship
  • Snell & Wilmer Law Journal Awards
  • Snell & Wilmer Scholarship
  • Soroosh Davani Memorial Scholarship
  • State Bar Bankruptcy Section Scholarship
  • State Bar Criminal Justice Section Scholarship
  • State Bar Public Lawyers’ Section Scholarship
  • State Bar Real Property Section Scholarship
  • Stevens Center Scholarship
  • Sun Angel Scholarship
  • Ted Karalis Scholarship
  • Gordon Silver Scholarship
  • Gust Rosenfeld Scholarship
  • Harold and Lucille Dunn Memorial Law Scholarship
  • Harriett Freye Scholarship
  • Harris Powers & Cunningham Endowed Scholarship
  • Harry J. Cavanagh Scholarship
  • Hispanic Legacy Scholarship
  • William C. Canby Jr., Scholarship
  • John M. Gaylord Scholarship

Employment Law Degree Associations

Professionals interested in a career in employment and HR law may consider exploring these organizations:

Employment Law Degree Certifications

If you are not ready to earn your full degree in this field, you also can earn various certifications and certificates in employment law. Organizations that offer such options include The Center for Legal Studies, Washington University of Law, University Of Georgia, and the University of San Francisco.


Henry Steele
Managing Editor
Henry is Managing Editor of BusinessStudent.com. He is a seasoned business professional who regularly consults with local business's throughout Southern California. Henry pursued his undergrad in Business and Economics at the University of San Diego and gained valuable life changing experience through a unique internship upon graduation.

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