Home Study Paralegal Course and Degree Programs
Demand for the professional Paralegal is predicted to rise. As the practice of law expands, and as litigation increases, the need for paralegals tends to expand at the same time. And there doesn't seem to be any reduction in the need for paralegals on the horizon. And paralegals enjoy varied assignments and the confidence that comes with doing important work and doing it well. It's a great time to learn the paralegal field.
However, to begin a career as a paralegal working for a private law firm, corporate legal department, or government agency you'll need the right education. Our home study paralegal courses offer the training that can help you succeed. A few the topics you can expect to cover include:
- Legal terminology and the U.S. Court System
- How to conduct legal investigations and interviews
- Legal writing and legal research
- Paralegal ethics and professional responsibility
And best of all you can learn the paralegal profession from the comfort of your own home. You'll get information about the paralegal's role in civil vs. criminal litigation, the federal and state court system, case investigation, evidence and evaluation. So get started today by requesting a free information package today.
For more information on paralegal courses and degree programs click on a school name below:
- Kaplan University
- Keiser University
- Penn Foster Career School
Paralegals are responsible for a wide variety of duties within a law office and typically assist one or more lawyers as they prepare for upcoming cases. If you pursue a career as a paralegal, some of the duties that will be assigned to you include legal research, writing reports, drafting legal documents, obtaining affidavits and similar legal duties. You should have good organizational skills, enjoy administrative tasks, have a strong understanding of the law and the ability to communicate clearly with clients and attorneys.
If you are also considering working as a legal secretary, it is important to know the difference between the two careers. As a paralegal, you act more as an assistant to a lawyer than you do as a legal secretary. Although you will complete some administrative tasks, they do not comprise a majority of your day as they would in a legal secretary role.
What Kind of Education is Required to Become a Paralegal?
Most people who work as paralegals have an associate's degree from a community or technical college. The American Bar Association (ABA) has prepared a list of schools that have met its standards for quality in paralegal education. If you choose to attend one of these schools, it could increase your credibility with future employers. You also have the assurance of knowing that every school on the ABA list is accredited. You may be able to locate bachelor degree programs in paralegal studies via the ABA, although these programs aren't common. Once you have completed your formal education, you may seek voluntarily certification through an organization like the National Federation of Paralegal Associations. This will provide even greater credibility in your job search.
During your paralegal training, you can expect to complete coursework in business writing, legal research and specific areas of the law. These may include litigation, estate planning, personal injury, family law and more. If you have a strong interest in one specific area of legal practice, look for a program that focuses primarily on that specialty. Specialization can make you more valuable to certain types of law offices, but it may also limit your career options in a weak economy. An internship towards the end of your paralegal training program will help to give you practical experience in the field that you would otherwise lack.
What is the Job Outlook and Average Pay for Paralegals?
The median salary for paralegals across all experience levels was close to $47,000 in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Top wage earners reported salaries of more than $75,000 that year. People who earn the highest level of compensation as a paralegal are most often employed by large law firms in major cities throughout the United States.
The BLS anticipates an annual job growth rate of 18 percent, which is slightly higher than the average growth of all occupations. Part of the reason is that we live in a litigious society, and our citizens file more lawsuits than any other nation in the world. As the demand for lawyers increases, so does the demand for skilled paralegals to assist them. Another possible reason for the increased demand for paralegals is the pressure on law firms to cut costs. This means that legal offices may be willing to hire more paralegals and fewer lawyers. The BLS anticipates the demand will remain steady until at least 2020.