Paralegals are responsible for carrying out a variety of important tasks, many of which were carried out by lawyers themselves previously. The field of paralegal studies has evolved over the past few decades and many accredited institutions and schools now offer a variety of legal paralegal degree completion programs. With the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting a positive job outlook for paralegals and legal assistants with a 17 per cent employment growth rate from 2012 to 2022, it is a viable option to look into degree completion in legal paralegal programs.
Legal paralegals degree completion programs:
Paralegals are responsible for carrying out number of important duties, in setting such as law offices and corporate legal departments of organizations. Not only do they help attorneys with legal case by carrying out research and drafting documents, they also carry out other tasks to help lawyers as much as they can. These include maintaining and organizing files, writing reports and reviewing trial transcripts among others. To pursue a sound career as a paralegal, students need to have a well rounded education. Many accredited institutions offer certificate, associate, bachelors and masters level legal paralegal degree completion programs. These degree programs are available both full time on campus as well as online.
Associate degree programs can usually be completed in two years while bachelor’s programs mostly take up to four years to complete. In these programs, students usually study topics concerning legal research and legal application of completion of computers besides courses in civil litigation, family law, contract law, estate planning and probate administration and so on. Other subjects such as English writing skills and law office management practices may also be taught. The specific admission requirements for these programs usually vary from school to school, but generally, students need to have a high school diploma or a GED certificate in order to secure an admission in these programs.
Certificate programs can usually be completed in six months. People who hold college degrees in other subjects and career changers who wish to become paralegals can opt for these certificate programs which provide in depth paralegal training.
Many legal paralegal degree completion programs provide internship opportunities for their students. These allow prospective paralegals to gain on the job experience, by working under the mentorship of senior professionals in private law firms, government agencies, corporate legal departments and so forth. Internship experience not only inculcates valuable technical skills in students but also go a long way in improving future job prospects of prospective paralegals.
Online degree completion in legal paralegal:
Students also have the option of degree completion in legal paralegal studies through online education. Online learning is more convenient and flexible, in that students can study at their own will and at their own time, whenever and wherever they want to without disrupting their work routines. Online education is also more cost effective generally as students get to save on commuting costs.
According to BLS, there is a 17 per cent projected employment growth rate for paralegals and legal assistants. With regard to the pay, the median annual wage for paralegals and legal assistants was $46,990 in May 2012.