The Advantages To Earning A Paralegal Degree
Students interested in a career working as a paralegal gain the training and educational basis necessary for future career success through paralegal studies degree programs. As paralegals are considered vital workers within law and business industries, obtaining a degree prepares students necessary to propel personal, educational, and professional goals. As many individuals maintain work and family responsibilities while pursuing their degree, most colleges and universities have developed innovative online degree programs geared toward advancing educational goals.
Most online degree programs give students virtually the same educational experiences as their traditional, brick and mortar counterparts with the added benefit of flexible course scheduling. Online courses generally consist of groups of 25 students who have round the clock access to course information, materials, and instruction. Online courses provide students with one on one interactions between themselves, their instructors, and other students via Internet chats. Many students find online degree programs one of the most convenient paths to obtaining a degree.
What Students Learn Through An Online Paralegal Degree Program
Students enrolled within an online paralegal studies program gain the knowledge, experience, and skills necessary for future career success. Despite the fact that there is no academic standard required to perform work as a paralegal. Obtaining a degree increases job security and enhances employability. Many students begin preparation for a career as a paralegal by completing an associate’s degree in paralegal studies.
Courses include: introduction to the law; torts and personal injury; contracts; legal research, writing, and civil litigation; professional responsibility and legal ethics; criminal law; real property; business law and bankruptcy; wills, trusts, and estates; domestic relations; Constitutional law and criminal procedure; alternative dispute resolution; patents, trademarks, and copyrights; federal income taxation; employment law; environmental law; immigration law; laws of evidence; administrative law; public communications law; white collar crime; advanced legal analysis and writing; advanced civil litigation; drafting contracts and contract provisions; legal document preparation; economics; business writing; American government; principles of finance; principles of accounting; management information systems; comparative politics; introduction to sociology; and principles of accounting.
Graduates from an associate’s degree program may advance to entry level employment or bachelor degree programs. Courses at a bachelor level include: the paralegal profession; civil litigation; introduction to legal research; introduction to legal analysis and writing; legal ethics; real estate law; tort law; advanced legal writing; software applications; and introduction to legal technology.
Graduates from a bachelor degree program may advance to employment or a master’s degree program. Courses at a master’s level include: American jurisprudence; legal research and writing; litigation; corporations and contracts law; legal specialties; administrative law; government contracts law; elements of intellectual property law; prosecution and litigation in intellectual property law; international trade and finance; and international litigation. Graduates may advance to employment as experts in the field of paralegal studies or obtain a doctoral degree in law or related fields.
Prospective Jobs For Paralegal Studies Graduates
Graduates who complete a degree program in the field of paralegal studies generally work as paralegals for law firms, law offices, corporations, organizations, or independently as consultants. Graduates with paralegal studies degrees may work within title companies, court reporting companies, meditation instruction firms, legal services companies, bankruptcy firms, arbitration service companies, license service companies, abstracting companies, or public notaries. Paralegals perform research, analyze, organize and prepare information for hearings, trials, meetings, and other events. Paralegals also prepare arguments, documents, and contracts. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) reports that job prospects for graduates with paralegal studies degrees will be competitive yet favorable for individuals with formal degrees, specialized training, and related work experience. Graduates with paralegal studies degrees may find the best opportunities for employment within law offices or firms, courtrooms, community legal services programs, consumer organizations, and Federal, State, or local governmental agencies.
Salary Range For Graduates With Paralegal Studies Degrees
Graduates with paralegal studies degrees often have earnings that vary tremendously. Salaries for paralegals are dependent upon geographic location, the size and type of the organization of employment, educational level, training, and related work experience. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that the median salary for most paralegals ranges from $36,080 to $59, 310 annually. Paralegals who work within the Federal Executive Branch generally have earnings of $58,540 annually. Paralegals who work as managers within corporations and businesses have earnings of $55,910 annually. Paralegals who work for insurance carriers generally earn $52,200 annually. Paralegals who work within the field of legal services generally have salaries of $44,480 annually. Most paralegals also receive performance based bonuses and benefits like paid vacation, sick, or personal time, dental and medical insurance, life insurance, retirement and savings contributions, and reimbursement for continuing education. Some paralegals work as freelance legal assistance for attorneys and legal departments within corporations or other organizations upon earning relevant training, work experiences, and adequate funds.
Career Outlook And Advancement Opportunities For Graduates With Paralegal Studies Degrees
Graduates who obtain a paralegal studies degree gain the training, knowledge, and experience necessary for career stability and professional success. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) anticipates job growth in the field of paralegals to increase by 28 percent through the year 2018 at a faster than average rate in comparison to other occupations. The BLS reports jobs for graduates with paralegal studies degrees to be competitive. Candidates with formal training, related work experience, and those who specialized their skills are expected to be preferred over candidates with less training, experience, and specialization. Factors like an expanding population and changes within the criminal justice system are predicted increase employment opportunities for graduates with paralegal studies degrees.
Graduates who refine their education with specialization in medical malpractice, real estate, bankruptcy, and product liability may find more plentiful job prospects. Additionally, graduates who obtain training and education in fields like intellectual property, healthcare, international law, elder issues, criminal law, and environmental law may find increased employment prospects. Adversely, factors like economic downturns and trends in the criminal justice system to find alternatives to litigation may have a negative impact on the number of jobs available to graduates with paralegal studies degrees but the BLS reports jobs within this sector to remain stable. Work as a paralegal provides many opportunities for advancement for candidates who complete formal degree programs, continue education, and gain work experience. Paralegals are often given jobs with increased responsibility and less supervision as they gain work experience.
Many paralegals work their way up to supervisory or managerial positions or advance their education within higher degree programs to receive promotions, secure jobs with greater responsibilities, and increase earnings. Some paralegals upon gaining necessary work experience and funding open their own consulting businesses. Many paralegals advance to law programs and work as attorneys upon completing educational, licensing, and examination requirements.