Business law is a field perfect for those who are interested in both the business world and the legal world. While students of business law must come in with a foundational knowledge of law in America, they will go on to specialize in law pertaining to corporations. A typical career path for a business law graduate is to become a business attorney or a paralegal, although graduates may go on to become law professors and teach their knowledge as well.
Students who enter a business law program may be required to already have their Juris Doctor (JD). A JD is the basic degree required to practice law in the U.S., and it provides students the necessary background in concepts and theories of the U.S. legal system. A master’s in business law is an advanced law degree, and students may take specialized classes in business organization, entertainment law, and real estate law, among others. Ultimately, students will graduate with an understanding of how corporations are structured and of how they function under the law.
Since a master’s in business law is a specialized degree, starting salaries for graduates are relatively high. This degree also allows graduates to immediately enter mid-level jobs instead of starting at the bottom in their chosen specialization. In short, a master’s in business law can lead to a fulfilling, lucrative career for anyone interested in the legal side of business or the business side of law.
What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s in Business Law Program?
An online master’s in business law program emphasizes legal issues in the business world. Your degree can help you advance your career to the next level, especially if your job requires you to regularly interact with lawyers or involves a highly regulated industry. Full-time graduate students and working professionals benefit from online courses that often allow them to work at their own pace or at an accelerated rate to finish quickly. Choose online master’s programs from accredited educational institutions to receive the same degree of quality and professionalism as programs held on campus.
Concentrations Offered for an Online Master’s in Business Law
Graduate students completing their business law master’s degree online learn a blend of legal and business principles that can be applied in a wide range of careers in almost any field. Due to this versatility, earning your degree offers you numerous career paths. If you’d like to pursue a career in a specific industry, choose a concentration that aligns with this vocation.
|CONCENTRATION||DESCRIPTION||POSSIBLE CAREERS THIS CONCENTRATION PREPARES FOR|
|Environment and Natural Resource Law||An online master’s in business law with a concentration in environmental law focuses on issues dealing with conservation and could include courses on public policy, land use, pollution and climate change.||Conservation lawyer, business compliance officer, resource protection manager|
|Entertainment Law||A concentration in the entertainment industry covers contracts and laws in the film, radio, movie, television, music and publishing industries, including intellectual property rights and celebrity privacy laws.||Celebrity attorney, in-house legal adviser, legal consultant, entertainment counsel|
|Real Estate Law and Business||Concentrations in real estate law focuses on listing, purchase and sale agreements between property buyers and sellers.||Real estate attorney|
|Human Resources and Employment Law||Master’s in business law programs with a concentration in employment law focus on hiring, firing, promoting and training employees and can cover finance, insurance and health care topics.||Personnel or human resources manager, training and development manager, compensation and benefits analyst, labor relations lawyer|
Curriculum for an Online Master’s in Business Law
Online master’s in business law programs are designed to provide you with the knowledge to address a wide variety of legal issues that impact a business’ performance, including financial regulations, compliance and risk management. Many programs are offered 100 percent online for maximum convenience to working professionals, but some require an end-of-program research project or thesis that may entail some work on campus. Each program offers its own unique curriculum, but some common courses you might take include:
|Business Organization||Prepares graduates to work as legal consultants and examine the laws that govern businesses, especially corporations, including the foundational concepts, structures and functions of various entities.|
|Corporation and Limited Liability Company||Cover common laws governing these types of businesses, including related securities laws and the rights and legal duties of the owners, shareholders and corporate officers.|
|Regulation and Compliance||Explore the laws that affect individuals and businesses, including safety, health, environment, employment and consumer protection statutes.|
|Contract Creation||Delves into how to read and write binding and nonbinding contracts and other legal agreements.|
|Risk Management||Business strategies and risk management, including focusing on specific business goals and how to reach these goals in the current marketplace.|
How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master’s Degree in Business Law?
On average, full-time students can complete an online master’s degree in business law in two years, with programs requiring 24 to 32 credits covering a variety of topics. Depending on the exact type of business law degree you’re pursuing and your enrollment status, completing your master’s can take as little as nine months for accelerated programs or as long as four years when attending part-time. If your career requires passing the state bar exam, most states require you to obtain a juris doctor degree, which can take three years on top of the time it takes to complete your master’s in business law.
Certifications and Licenses an Online Master’s in Business Law Prepares For
|Business Attorney||A master’s in business law can help prepare you to take the state bar exam, which is required to practice law. However, many states require you to complete a juris doctor degree before sitting for the bar. Some online programs offer a dual degree in business and law, often a JD/master of business administration program, that meets education requirements.|
Accreditation for Online Master’s in Business Law Degrees
Accreditation is the evaluation process that ensures a college or university meets high academic standards. The most prestigious form of accreditation is regional accreditation, but schools can also have national accreditation. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation oversees agencies that provide national accreditation to ensure compliance with specific standards, as does the Department of Education.
To practice law in most states, the American Bar Association (ABA) requires a juris doctor degree, which you can obtain through online programs. However, the ABA doesn’t currently accredit any juris doctor or master’s in business law programs that are completely conducted online. Since online-only master’s in business law programs are typically not intended for those seeking to become an attorney but rather for those wanting to gain legal knowledge to excel in their chosen careers, choosing schools with regional or national accreditation should suffice.
Employment Outlook for Master’s in Business Law Graduates
Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s
Earning an online business law master’s degree can put you on a fast track to advancement in your chosen career with a higher starting salary. Your degree may even allow you to skip over entry-level positions and immediately enter mid-level jobs related to your business law concentration. This is especially true for graduates pursuing careers in business management who have a master’s in business law that makes them a more desirable candidate in highly competitive fields.
Once you’ve completed your online business law master’s program, you’ll have extensive knowledge of the laws, policies and practices that apply in a business environment. Many companies show preference to applicants with advanced degrees, and every industry benefits from a staff member with legal expertise. Understanding the legalities that impact a business puts you in a prime position for jobs in compliance, risk, regulation and personnel management jobs like these.
Median Salary for a Variety of Business Law Positions
Source: O*NET OnLine sponsored by the US Department of Labor
The legal field is lucrative, even in lower-level positions that still require advanced knowledge of business law. Completing your online master’s in business law can prepare you to be a legal assistant in a variety of industries, and the industry you work in can affect your salary, as demonstrated below.
All types of businesses rely on employees with legal expertise who can help guide their company through contract negotiations, labor relations, compliance issues, risk management and various legal issues. Your online master’s in business law can prepare you to succeed in a wide array of occupations including these:
|JOB TITLE||JOB DESCRIPTION||MEDIAN SALARY||PROJECTED GROWTH RATE|
|Paralegal||Paralegals work in law firms assisting business lawyers in most tasks or work for large corporations providing legal advice and support through their in-house legal department. Some duties of a paralegal include legal research, contract creation and negotiation, managing business correspondence and file maintenance.||$50,410 per year||15%|
|Regulatory Affairs Specialist||Working in regulatory positions requires precise coordination and documentation of the internal regulatory processes of a business, which may include internal audits, license renewals or registrations.||$67,870 per year||7%|
|Compliance Manager||Compliance managers ensure businesses remain compliant with all laws and regulations governing their operation, including ensuring compliance in contracts, licenses and permits.||$105,610 per year||7%|
|Risk Management Specialists||Risk managers analyze and manage any area of potential risk to the assets, earning capacity and overall success of a business, including recommending ways to better control or reduce risks in various scenarios.||$69,520 per year||12%|
Joining professional organizations helps graduates with a master’s in business law connect with peers, stay current on legal issues in their field and pursue educational, occupational and certification opportunities that help hone their skills and advance their careers. Highlighting your membership to national and international organizations in your field also shows potential employers your dedication to your career and desire to continually improve your skills. These are a few of the organizations that may be of special interest to business law professionals.
National Human Resources Association: A nonprofit organization for business law graduates in human resources, members take advantage of professional networking, professional development and leadership opportunities. It also offers career services to help in your job search and access to a range of training events held nationwide.
American Bar Association Business Law Section: A global network for business law professionals that allows them to expand their knowledge and careers through peer-reviewed scholarly journals, business law content, practice-specific committees, annual meetings, networking and job listings.
International Bar Association Corporate Law Section: An international organization that provides information, industry updates, news and other resources relevant to corporate law, plus internship programs, training courses, online CLE programs and a huge network of professional contacts.
Financing Your Online Master’s in Business Law
While online degree programs are often less expensive than their on-campus counterparts, many graduates find they still require financial aid. Your first step should always be filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which provides access to the largest sources of financial aid from the federal government. Many states and universities also use your FAFSA application to determine your eligibility for their financial aid programs. Graduate students should also seek funding through grants, loans and other financial assistance options.
Jack M. Wilson Presidential Scholarship Fund
Eligibility: Graduate students who demonstrate academic excellence and are enrolled in six credits in any academic program through UMassOnline.
Brown PC National Business Law Scholarship
Eligibility: Full-time law student with a demonstrated interest in business law. Award paid directly to the student to pay for any expenses related to legal education.