Want to beef up your business résumé with a law-related degree or certificate? There are a range of practical online options designed to fit your busy lifestyle. Whether your sights are set on a paralegal certificate or a master of laws (LLM), an online law degree will equip you for success in the business world and beyond.
Online Associate's Degree: Paralegal Studies
Just starting out in your business career? Prepare for an entry-level position in banking, insurance, healthcare administration, real estate or law with an online associate's degree or certificate in paralegal studies. Paralegals work as key members of legal teams, supporting attorneys by performing clerical work, research and trial preparation.
Depending on your educational history, a paralegal program can take from six months to two years to complete. Many schools will require that you get hands-on experience through an internship in order to earn the credential.
Typical online paralegal coursework also includes classes such as:
- Legal research and writing
- Legal terminology
- Professional ethics
- Legal databases and IT
Online Bachelor's Degree: Legal Studies
Whether you're planning to go into business administration or preparing for an advanced credential, a bachelor's degree in legal studies will provide you with the analytical skills and perspective to thrive in a business career.
A bachelor's program can require up to four years to complete—less if you already have some college credit under your belt. Some schools will accept transfer students who have completed their associate's degree in paralegal studies. Consider your long-term goals when researching your bachelor's degree options; the curriculum for a pre-law degree will differ significantly from a paralegal program.
Coursework for the online bachelor's degree in legal studies with a business emphasis generally includes:
- Law and society
- Legal analysis and writing
- Legal research
- Political science
- Corporate law
- Contract law
Online Master's Degree: Master of Laws (LLM), MA or MS
How does the shifting U.S. legal and regulatory landscape affect fields such as healthcare, education, high tech and more? Working business professionals explore this question via advanced online degree programs in business law. Requiring one to three years to complete, the master's in legal studies is also an attractive degree option for licensed attorneys seeking to specialize in a specific area, such as patent or telecommunications law.
Be aware that, in order to practice law in most states, the American Bar Association (ABA) requires that you graduate from an on-campus program with a Juris Doctorate degree. The ABA doesn't currently accredit any programs conducted completely online. Online-only master's programs are intended not for would-be attorneys, but for business professionals who need to gain legal savvy to excel in their careers.
The master's curriculum generally includes core courses such as:
- Anti-trust and regulation
- Bankruptcy law
- Institutional economics
- Community and economic development
- International business transactions
- Investment law
Take the Next Step
After earning an online degree in business law, your career options will expand enormously—from joining a corporate legal team to creating your own business. Start your journey by examining (and cross-examining!) your degree choices now.