Have you considered a new career as a paralegal? If so, it can certainly be a wise decision to make. Based on reports from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the paralegal field is anticipated to grow at a significant rate through the year 2018. The rate of growth for this field is anticipated to be higher than average for many other occupations. As a result, many paralegal schools and colleges have begun to make even more paralegal study programs available. If you are considering making the move toward a career in the paralegal field, it can be helpful to have an understanding of the types of programs that are offered to students as well as the types of courses you can expect to take.
Paralegals are also sometimes known as legal assistants. Although they typically work in law offices, paralegals may also be self-employed and perform freelance work. Most paralegals obtain a two year associates degree. Such degrees are available from paralegal colleges and vocational schools. Persons that already have a four year degree may wish to attend a paralegal certificate program. If you are interested in pursuing this career field, you should know that most paralegal schools offering two year programs require incoming students to have either a high school diploma or the equivalent to a high school diploma. In some cases legal experience may also be substituted for this requirement. A certificate program may require incoming students to have a bachelor's degree in order to be admitted. Certificate programs can vary in terms of length as well as level of intensity.
Due to the fact that legal research is heavily computerized, in most paralegal programs there is a strong emphasis placed on using databases, software and research techniques. Documentation skills, legal terminology and current law are also common courses that are taught at most paralegal colleges. Some schools will also offer internships that provide students with hands-on learning experience as they work in government offices, law firms or corporate legal offices.
There are now many online paralegal programs offering courses that can allow you the opportunity to train for a new career right from the convenience of your own home. Some types of online paralegal study programs can be completed in a relatively short time, such as six months, while others can take up to four years to complete. Online paralegal colleges offer program completion through written coursework as well as email, reading assignments, virtual lectures and online chats. There are many different types of programs available, allowing you to choose one that will best suit your needs and goals.
There are also some paralegal programs that have received approval through the American Bar Association. It is not necessary to have approval by the ABA, but this can provide further employment opportunities. Now is an excellent time to consider your options and begin pursuing a new career by attending one of the top paralegal schools available. Are you ready for a new career as a paralegal?