Paralegal: Certificates, Degrees, and Job Opportunities 

paralegal jobs

Paralegal: Certificates, Degrees, and Job Opportunities

A paralegal education can open doors to an exciting career with excellent pay. Paralegal jobs span a variety of opportunities from public service to private sector jobs, including non-profit and outreach programs.

A paralegal education is available as an associate or bachelor’s degree and as a postsecondary certificate program. Paralegals will learn how to effectively and efficiently conduct research; draft, edit, and fact check legal documents; manage correspondence, data, and documents pertaining to a case; and utilize computer software with other management systems to organize a case. Paralegals are trained to assist attorneys in legal services such as conducting investigations, and interviewing clients and witnesses. Paralegals may attend trials or hearings along with the lawyers and also help with administrative and clerical tasks.

A degree or certification in paralegal studies will qualify the recipient for a wide variety of opportunities. Paralegals can choose any number of specialties such as:

  • Family law
  • Juvenile justice
  • Legal aid/non-profit
  • Immigration law
  • International law
  • Environmental law
  • Real estate law
  • Intellectual property
  • Estate planning
  • Elder law

There is currently no national licensure or standardized requirement for paralegal certification. A well-qualified degree and/or certification program will more than adequately prepare a graduate for the paralegal job market. This is especially beneficial for military spouses, as they are certain to secure excellent job opportunities across their many moves with the proper education. Don’t forget about the MyCAA Program for military spouses; for more info click here.

Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies

An Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies is a great starting point for those interested in this career path. Don’t forget to look for certificate programs from reputable sources. Certifications from educational institutions are especially esteemed, as are certifications with criminal justice affiliations. Certifications can offer students an opportunity to fast track their education in specific areas while working and even gaining on-the-job knowledge to complement their academics. Keep in mind that the GI Bill can be used for non-degree seeking programs through approved institutions.

Jobs you can obtain with an Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies:

Legal Secretary– perform secretarial duties using legal terminology, procedures, and documents. Prepare legal papers and correspondence, such as summonses, complaints, motions, and subpoenas. May also assist with legal research. Median annual salary: $51,000.

Paralegal– perform a variety of tasks to support lawyers.  Median annual salary: $52,000.

Bachelor’s Degree in Paralegal Studies

Students can earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Paralegal Studies and choose to focus on municipal, state, or federal law. Alternatively, students can specialize in private sector interests such as corporate law or legal aid for disenfranchised populations. A Bachelor’s Degree in Paralegal Studies, often referred to as a degree in Legal Studies, will help students gain a comprehensive foundation of the US legal system. A bachelor’s degree will give students a considerable advantage in the highly competitive legal field.  The right degree and education can open doors and foster career advancement including supervisory positions and a significant pay bump from an associate degree.

Jobs you can obtain with a Bachelor’s in Paralegal Studies include:

Law librarians– often work in law firms or law school libraries. Median annual salary: $59,000.

Arbitrator or mediator– facilitate negotiation and dialogue between disputing parties to help resolve conflicts outside of the court system. Median annual salary: $63,000.

Paralegal Degree Programs

Ready to earn your degree in paralegal studies?

Check out these great programs available at our partner schools:

Bethune-Cookman University Offers an online Paralegal Certificate. Bethune-Cookman is a premier historically black university that participates in the Yellow Ribbon program.

Lone Star College Offers a stackable program with a Lone Star College does not participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Post University Offers a Certificate In Paralegal Studies, an Associate of Science in Legal Studies, and a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies. All programs can be found as a campus-based option or a fully online program. Post University participates in the Yellow Ribbon program.

>> For more programs, use the CollegeRecon School Finder to find Paralegal programs near you or online.

*All statistics and calculations from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For more information click here.

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