How to Become a Paralegal
An education from a paralegal school is a great way to launch a career and begin assisting lawyers with preparing for trials, hearings, or corporate meetings. Paralegals often also provide assistance to legal and finance departments of medium and large corporations.
People interested in becoming a paralegal may take one of several paths. The most common way to become a paralegal is through a paralegal associate’s degree program. More than 1,000 colleges, universities, law schools, and proprietary schools offer paralegal studies programs and we feature top accredited paralegal programs. If you already have a college degree, you might want to pursue paralegal certification. Beyond formal paralegal training, paralegals must have a variety of office and “people” skills. They must exhibit attention to detail, be able to research and report on topics, understand legal terminology, and participate in continuing legal and paralegal education. Criminal Justice Degree Schools has a page featuring paralegal career, salary and job prospect information as well as a series of paralegal career articles if you would like more information prior to requesting free information from a few schools.
Becoming a paralegal can be a good fit for those who have a strong interest in the legal field but don’t care for the intense training or testing required to become a lawyer. A paralegal is, basically, an assistant to a lawyer. In the U.S., a paralegal is not considered an officer of the court and cannot offer representation for legal services under any circumstances. On the same token, paralegals are not subjected to the same rules of conduct by which lawyers are held accountable to.
First, if you are interested in how to become a paralegal, you should research our paralegal degree and career information.
Second, you will need the right degree and most law firms require an associates degree. In today’s economic environment and competitive culture, some paralegals are being expected to earn advanced degrees, such as bachelor’s. If you know a lawyer or paralegal, you can get his or her opinion. Criminal Justice Degree Schools features links to some top paralegal bloggers where you can read more and perhaps pose a question.
Third, you can and should get free information from a guidance counselor at a school offering paralegal or criminal justice degrees. You can pose questions and review free career materials they will quickly send you.
Fourth, you can narrow your focus if possible although you can pursue a general criminal degree. The law itself covers a wide range of subjects, from criminal law to corporate law, from patent and copyright laws to estates and wills. Depending on what you find most interesting, you will have a number of options within each of these fields to pursue.
Fifth, you should decide if you want to go to school full time or while working. The great news is that you can continue to work while pursuing your Paralegal career as many schools have specific online paralegal degrees to make getting a degree easier and to fit your work and family schedule.
Finally, be certain that the college or university you choose is accredited as all listed on this site are. In just a few quick minutes, you can review all you need on this site and request free, no obligation information that can get you started toward a new and rewarding career as a Paralegal.
Career Opportunities for Paralegal Degree Program Graduates
Individuals with a paralegal degree may also find themselves not working for an attorney at all. Corporate departments often have paralegals review purchase orders and contracts to ensure that the language contained is fair to both sides and leaves no liabilities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects much faster than average growth in the paralegal job sector with a projected increase of 28 percent in jobs from 2008-2018. Paralegal salaries can vary widely depending on location, years of experience and forum. According to the BLS, the middle 50 percent of paralegals earned between $36,080 and $59,310 in 2008.
If becoming a paralegal is of interest, taking the next step and requesting free information from a few schools that offer paralegal courses, paralegal classes or paralegal training may be a great course of action.
Online Paralegal Degrees, Schools, Paralegal Courses and Programs
- Certificate: Paralegal (Legal Studies)
- A.S. in Legal Studies
- B.S. in Legal Studies
- BAC-Paralegal Studies
- AS - Paralegal Studies
- CERT: Paralegal Studies
Penn Foster Schools
- Legal Secretary
Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific curriculum, and employment opportunities are not guaranteed.