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Degree Overview: Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degree Legal Secretary or Administrative Assistant

Majors Overview December 19, 2013

Those interested in assisting law office staff with various administrative tasks may want to look into an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program in legal administration. These programs will prepare students with the necessary skills and knowledge and can be completed in about two years.

A.A.S. Programs in Legal Secretary or Administrative Assistant

Students enrolled in an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree program in legal administration are typically imparted the administrative and secretarial skills necessary in giving assistance to legal professionals with various office duties.

Students hone writing, speaking, and interpersonal communication skills that are useful in interacting with clients and personnel. Typically, coursework focuses intensely on research methods, computer applications, document preparation and legal terminology that are useful to administrative assistants and secretaries involved with managing paperwork.

It takes about 60 to 70 credit hours of study to complete these programs. Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma.


Students enrolled in Associate degree programs in legal administration are typically trained for legal office settings involving office administration, word processing, and computer technology. Humanities and writing electives are augmented in coursework that includes:

•Computer applications
•Office procedures
•Ethics and law
•Business communications
•Keyboarding and word processing
•Business math
•Legal transcription
•Records management

Job and Wage Outlook

A job growth of 18% has been predicted for legal secretaries during the decade from 2008 to 2018 (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)). In 2010, legal secretaries took home an average annual paycheck of $41,500 (BLS).

Certification and Continuing Education Choices

Legal secretaries and administrative assistants can seek voluntary certifications such as Professional Legal Secretary (PLS) and the Accredited Legal Secretary (ALS) designations offered through organizations such as NALS, through passage of an examination.

The Certified Legal Secretary Specialist (CLSS) designation is offered in a variety of aspects of areas of legal expertise by the Legal Secretaries International – these areas include criminal law and intellectual property.

Completion of an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program in paralegal studies, or a post-baccalaureate certificate at a later stage of their academic career, will help legal secretaries with work experience to advance in their careers in the legal profession.

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