If you’re considering a career in law, it’s important to know what education you need to achieve your goal. Generally speaking, a degree from an accredited college or university is required to become a lawyer, though there are some alternative routes to becoming a lawyer that don’t require formal higher education qualifications.

A Bachelor’s Degree: No Specific Major Required

The American Bar Association (ABA) doesn’t currently recommend a particular undergraduate degree for law students, but many prelaw students gain admission to law school with degrees from nearly every academic discipline. Popular undergraduate areas of study include English, economics, political science, business, and philosophy.

Certificates Versus Degrees: What’s the Difference?

Certificate programs focus on developing core skill sets, while degree programs cover a broad range of subjects and often offer classes outside of the core curriculum. Whether you choose to pursue a certificate or degree will depend on your individual goals and objectives.

ABA-Approved Law Schools: The minimum educational requirement for practicing as a lawyer in New York is to earn a Juris Doctor degree from an ABA-approved law school. This is typically three years of full-time study.

While the majority of law school graduates earn a JD, there are several advanced degrees available that can help you develop your professional knowledge in specialized fields. One of the most common is a JD/MBA, which allows students to combine a law degree with a master’s in another field. These programs require approximately 124 credit hours and are generally offered as a dual degree.

Legal Apprenticeships: Substituting an apprenticeship for law school is a less traditional route to becoming a lawyer than the traditional method, but it can give you significant experience in the field of legal work that may be more valuable to some employers than name recognition from a traditional law school. The downside is that only a few states allow you to substitute an apprenticeship for law school. Recommended this site medical malpractice attorney .

California, Vermont and Virginia all allow potential law students to skip the traditional route and instead complete a legal apprenticeship. Those who do so must meet specific requirements, including receiving employment by a law office and completing some law courses.

Washington goes to extra lengths for apprentices, assigning supervising attorneys and judges to assist with studying and requiring that students finish six courses per year under direct supervision. They also assign a student-attorney liaison to monitor their progress and create monthly exams, which must be passed by the student and approved by their supervising judge or attorney.

In addition to a law degree, some law schools also require students to pass the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), which is a standardized exam used by many universities around the country to assess applicants’ qualifications for further education. The LSAT tests candidates in reading comprehension, information management, critical thinking and analysis, writing skills and reasoning ability.

The ABA recommends that prospective law students prepare for the LSAT as early in their educational career as possible, taking advantage of free or low-cost resources to aid in the application process. These resources can help you decide on a major, prepare for the LSAT, and gather letters of recommendation to support your application.