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Quick Facts: Paralegal Industry

Median Pay:   $48,350 per year | $23 per hour
Entry-Level Education:   Associate's degree

Paralegal Occupations:

  • Paralegals and legal assistants$48,350

Online Paralegal Diplomas

In every law firm, there are many people who work together to help protect the interests of their clients. Whether in family law, corporate law, child protection or small claims, people need the help of a law firm to represent them in and out of court.

While lawyers may be what you think of when you think of a law firm, there are countless other individuals who have to work hard to support them. Legal assistant and paralegals often take on the very same challenges in a law firm, but they will need significantly less education in order to begin working.

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Quick Fact
In 2017, workers with a bachelor's degree or higher had almost twice as much
median earnings per week than workers with only a high school diploma*.
*Bureau of Labor Statistics

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If you are interested in working as a paralegal, then read on to learn more about the various degrees, potential careers and what it takes to succeed in this field.

Would You Be a Successful Paralegal?

The most successful paralegals will have the ability to communicate well with a range of different individuals, will have compassion, will be able to work long hours, will have excellent reading comprehension skills and will be great writers.

Unlike lawyers, paralegals do not have to have the ability to take cases to trial or argue before a judge or jury. However, they will need to do much of the research and paperwork involved in many different kinds of trials and cases.

If you want to be successful in a particular area, you should have a specialization in an area like small claims, criminal law, family law, corporate mergers or real estate law.

Which Paralegal Certification is Best?

To begin working as a paralegal, you will need to have either a bachelor's degree in paralegal studies, an associate degree in paralegal studies or a certificate or diploma in paralegal studies.

A bachelor's degree in paralegal takes roughly four years to complete and will prepare students to immediately begin working as a paralegal in law firms or governmental agencies. A bachelor's degree will also allow you to learn a little about several different types of law, making it a great choice. An associate degree in paralegal studies covers many of the same subjects as a bachelor's degree, but it will only take two years on average to complete.

A certificate or diploma can take as little as six months to complete and will allow you to find work in entry level paralegal positions. A paralegal diploma can be added onto an existing bachelor's degree in any subject, or it can stand alone with a high school degree.

What Career Opportunities Will be Available?

Once you have received a diploma, certificate or degree in paralegal studies, you will be prepared to work in several different career paths. Qualified paralegals can work in private law firms, which are currently the biggest employers of paralegals in the United States. Paralegals can also find work in insurance companies, banks and large corporations as part of the onsite legal team. The market for paralegals will continue to rise as the law industry grows.

Is an Online Diploma a Good Idea?

Earning online paralegal diplomas are a great choice as they are more affordable, more convenient, more flexible and offer better variety than traditional brick and mortar college programs. Online programs can be completed at your own pace, and the work done whenever you have free time in your schedule. If you are interested in becoming a paralegal but don't have the income to stop working at your current job, an online degree will allow you to study and work full time at the same time.

If you are interested in pursuing a career as a paralegal, then consider earning an online degree or diploma to begin working sooner.

The paralegal professional is an essential and vital part of any legal team. An associate degree in paralegal studies will provide a solid foundation in law and paralegal skills. Once you have earned your paralegal degree, you may pursue career opportunities or job advancement in a legal environment such as a private law firm, corporate law department, or local, state, or federal agency where duties may include assisting with litigation preparation, document supervision, aiding attorneys in courtroom proceedings, and researching legal issues.

Related Article

How to Become a Paralegal

How to Become a Paralegal

Today's fast paced legal environment requires well-trained reliable paralegals to assist lawyers research and prepare their cases. Paralegals can choose the field of law that interests them most whether corporate, criminal or personal injury.

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