The education law degree is a professional degree that typically requires three years of study beyond an undergraduate program. A student who successfully completes law school with a concentration in education law earns the Juris Doctorate (JD) and can seek employment in the education law field. In addition to coursework in education law, clinical programs and legal journals can provide students with more opportunities to gain practical experience in the field prior to graduation.
The first step toward completing an education law degree is earning the JD by finishing a three-year law school program. Law school candidates are required to have completed an undergraduate degree, but it can be in any field. Many law school students have also completed a graduate degree, such as a master's or doctorate.
A strong undergraduate grade point average and an exceptional score on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) are also crucial for admission. Most law schools will require transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement as part of the application process. In some cases, candidates for admission will also be interviewed in person.
The LSAT is a standardized test that takes half a day to complete. There are five multiple choice answer sections. It is administered four times every year throughout the world. The maximum score is 180.
Once admitted, law school students take a series of core courses about topics like legal research and writing, criminal law, and torts. Students who want an education law degree should also enroll in courses that focus on this area of law. The majority of law schools will have at least one faculty member with experience in the field of education law.
In addition to coursework, students interested in earning an education law degree can participate in clinical programs or serve as editors on a scholarly legal journal devoted to the field. A clinical program will provide an opportunity for students to gain practical experience and work with real clients. Potential employers often view such experience favorably when considering candidates.
Lawyers with an education law degree often focus on the rights of parents and students as well as those of school employees and school boards. Practice can entail the legal reform of how schools are administered. Education law attorneys may also defend students and their parents or school employees. School districts may have education law attorneys on staff who review documents and provide legal advice.