A paralegal is a legal assistant that helps a lawyer with specific tasks. These tasks may include research as well as interacting with clients. Just as with lawyers, these legal assistants can choose different specializations. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a significant increase in employment opportunities for paralegals over the next few years as well. As such, thereâ€™s obviously a growing market for this position. Some of the top benefits for doing paralegal work include:
Getting to help others
These legal assistants will get to talk with clients and answer questions. They will also likely be able to brainstorm with a lawyer and give input on solutions to legal problems. During this time, they will be able to support clients and walk them through the entire process. As such, paralegal work is a great option for those who thrive on challenging yet rewarding work involving cooperation with others.
Choosing which area of law to work in
There are paralegal jobs in family, probate, and bankruptcy law, among plenty of others. This means that people interested in this career-path will likely find a specialization that suits their own interests and experience.
Working in a professional environment
Educational training prepares individuals for working as a professional. Paralegals will generally work in an office where professional clothing is required.
In addition to this work environment, there are also professional organizations that paralegals can join. These organizations include the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, the National Association of Legal Assistance, the National Association of Legal Secretaries, and the Association for Legal Professionals. Joining these organizations will allow people to make professional connections with others who work in law.
Earning a great salary
The median pay for a paralegal is just over $50,000 a year. The pay rate depends on the location of the job, the job experience of the paralegal, the area of law, and the employer.
Receiving plenty of benefits
In addition to great pay, paralegal jobs generally come with other benefits as well. Health and dental insurance for the individual and family, life insurance, and retirement plans are usually provided. Depending on where someone works, employers may offer other benefits.
Working the first shift
It all depends on the specific law firm or corporation, but most paralegals work first-shift hours. The actual hours vary, as does the length of the shift, but often they will be home before dinnertime.
Growing employment opportunities
Lawyers will always need a qualified individual to assist them, so there will never be a lack of jobs in this field. There are even work-from-home options as well if interested individuals are willing to do freelance work.
While anyone can get a paralegal certificate or graduate from a two or four-year program, the best course of action is usually to obtain a four-year degree. The degree can be in any subject, but individuals must have 24 or more credits in legal courses. There is also an option for earning a certificate after earning a four-year degree in a different area. Online institutions are popular options for obtaining paralegal degrees and certificates.
Getting an Online Paralegal Degree
Finding an Online College
Before committing to an online institution, interested individuals will need to make sure that it is an accredited program. The online program should be accredited by the state and local bar associations or regional accrediting bodies.
How Long Does It Take?
As stated above, getting a degree as a paralegal is a much shorter process than someone might imagine. People can earn paralegal certificates in about seven months, while Associateâ€™s degrees takes just 15 months. If people want Bachelorâ€™s degrees, they would have to be in legal studies or business administration; hardworking individuals could finish their degrees in less than three years.
What Is The Cost?
The cost of getting an online paralegal degree varies based on the institution and type of degree. It can range from $5,000 to $23,000 or more.
There are so many benefits to becoming a paralegal, including the job outlook, the salary, and the work environment. The process to become a paralegal is straightforward and interested individuals can earn a degree online in a short amount of time.