Examining The Pros And Cons Of A Juris Doctor Degree

If you are considering a career change, you will need to know what type of education will be required. If you are interested in the legal or political fields, you will likely need to earn a Juris Doctor degree. 

The Juris Doctor (JD) degree is awarded to graduates by American law schools. The technical name of the degree is the Doctor of Jurisprudence and is required to become a licensed attorney in every state. The Juris Doctor degree was created at the turn of the last century to standardise the education requirement for those in legal practice.

While a Juris Doctor online or in-class degree won’t limit you to becoming an attorney, it will require a large commitment in time and money. It will take an average of three to four years to complete your programme and pass the bar exam in your state. Most JD students incur over $100,000 in student debt by the time they graduate. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of earning a Juris Doctor Degree.

Pros Of A Juris Doctor Degree

Career Versatility

While it’s true that most JD graduates go on to practice law, that’s not your only career option when you complete your degree. The focus of the Juris Doctor programme is to teach students how to search complex problems for logical and legal solutions. This type of skill set takes many students into other career fields like politics, finance, education, and public relations. 

Earning Power

Earning your JD degree can open up many high-end earning opportunities. Most graduate lawyers start their salaries at under $150,000 per year and slowly increase their salary rate as they gain experience. With a JD degree, you will have the opportunity to earn more with the doors that are opened due to your high level of education. 


As a JD student, you will be required to do a lot of legal writing. These seemingly endless assignments will quickly turn you into a talented composition writer. This is a valuable skill in the legal, business, or education professions. Much of your JD training will focus on building your critical thinking skills, making you a valued employee in any field.

Cons of a Juris Doctor Degree

Career Competition

The legal field suffered a massive blow after the recession that started in 2008. While there has been a slow recovery arch, most legal firms are still enabling a hiring cap. Earning a Juris Doctor degree at this time won’t necessarily guarantee you a position with a firm. You will face significant competition from your fellow graduates. 


Unless you have won or earned a full-ride scholarship that includes a graduate degree, pursuing your JD will likely be very expensive. Private schools will run you over $60,000 per year for a minimum of three years. State schools are a bit less expensive but you can expect to pay over six figures for your full education. 

If you dream of a legal career, you can pursue a Juris Doctor degree as part of your journey towards success. 

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