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How Do I Become an Employment Law Specialist?

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  • Written By: Florence J. Tipton
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2016
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One way you can become an employment law specialist is to obtain a certificate in employment law. An advanced degree in employment law from an accredited university could help you become an employment law specialist. Pursing a law degree with a specialization in employment law rather than a certificate or advanced degree is another option to consider. Some law schools offer an employment specialization certificate as part of the legal degree.

There are several educational approaches to becoming an employment law specialist. The type of approach you select may depend on your previous work experience and education. Other things to consider are the structure of the educational program and how it fits your career goals.

Typically, an employment law certificate program is suitable for someone with an undergraduate degree. While nearly all advanced degrees and law degrees require an undergraduate degree, some certificate programs do not have educational prerequisites. Additionally, most certificate programs will grant admission even if your undergraduate degree is unrelated to employment issues.

Courses in the certificate program may increase your knowledge of various issues regarding the employee-employer relationship. Usually, courses are related to labor laws in your area and prepare you to become an employment law specialist. For instance, you may take courses on topics such as workplace discrimination and contract disputes.

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Most people select this educational approach because it is faster than completing a degree program. Generally, an employment law certificate program may last up to one year — or shorter — depending on the school. An advanced degree in employment law could take up to two years to complete, while completing a law degree might take three years or longer.

Even though an advanced degree takes longer, it might be an appropriate path if you already have a background in human resources. With an advanced degree, you could achieve academic validation that enhances your work experience. As a supplement to your work, an advanced degree in employment law may increase your career and promotion opportunities.

The types of programs associated with an advanced degree in employment law may also vary. Some advanced degree programs train you in the areas of law associated with hiring and termination practices. Others may offer a comprehensive curriculum in international employment law.

Based on your career goals, a law degree could also be an appropriate path to become an employment law specialist. Typically, most employment issues require the appropriate application of the law. This may require specialized training in certain areas of employment law that are best understood in law school. For example, you could pursue a law degree and concentrate on collective bargaining. You may study the local and regional laws that apply to collective bargaining rules in the workplace, which study might also include learning about contract negotiation skills.

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