While it's not necessary to have a Bachelors degree to become a paralegal, it is typically necessary to have taken some kind of advanced course work in the field. Becoming a paralegal usually mandates that you have a certain understanding of the law beyond what you learned in high school. This course work provides you with the general knowledge of law and completing paperwork to be a successful paralegal. Some business schools will offer a program in paralegal studies - a program well suited to your needs, if you desire to become a paralegal.
Some law offices will require that your education or study work has been completed by a American Bar Association certified school or training facility. Be sure to explore a paralegal course that is ABA approved paralegal program. Paralegal study and paralegal training is not a difficult program to pursue. It does, however, require a special kind of person. The ideal paralegal will be highly organized, incredibly meticulous, and a borderline perfectionist.
A paralegal certification program is not required to obtain a position, but is generally preferred. If there is an opening in a law office, and you are the only applicant without your paralegal certificate, you most likely will not be considered. Take the time to become certified - it can only help you obtain and hold a successful position. A paralegal certificate program can be offered through your program of study.
Some colleges offer a paralegal degree, although it is by no means required for employment. Certification is generally all that is needed to prove to a law office that you would be a good candidate. By showing you've been certified as a paralegal, you've already done the necessary work to show your fundamental skill set and knowledge. Certification also assures your employer that you've done a certain level of hands-on work that would be expected of you at the law office. There is no such thing as paralegal schools, per say, but there are many Associate programs or technical schools that offer ABA approved paralegal programs.
In addition to getting your initial paralegal education, your employer may ask that you seek continuing education through the course of your employment to stay current and up to date on pertinent law issues. If the law office does not set these up for you, check with your school of certification or local trade schools for the availability of CE paralegal courses.
As technology progresses, we are lucky enough to have access to things that professionals in years past did not. One of these things is an online paralegal education. You can take a course or several courses to take the necessary steps to become a paralegal. Many different recognized programs offer online paralegal training and also set you up to receive an online paralegal certificate or degree.
Start by doing a basic search on the internet for "Online paralegal school". You should get a variety of options to request more information. Carefully weigh your options, however, as some internet courses are not 100% legit. Make sure your online paralegal program is ABA recognized, and that the course work is leading you in the right direction of obtaining your certification.
Now that you've taken the steps to begin your paralegal career, you need to find a job. This should not be too difficult a task - law offices are always looking for organized, meticulous, perfectionist types to fill their paralegal jobs.
You may be lucky enough to get a paralegal internship during your training. That may be an automatic "in" for you upon your certification. If not, job websites and classifieds have openings for paralegal employment on a constant basis.
If you made any contacts during your stint as a paralegal student, don't be afraid to use them! Networking is a fantastic way of getting a job. Ask any law offices you may have been in contact with if they have an open paralegal position.
The national average paralegal salary for a mid-level position is roughly $47,000 a year. The starting paralegal salary typically starts in the high 20's to lower thirties, and some senior level paralegals are making as much as $80-90,000. Remember, paralegal pay wages depend on the branch of law you're working in, the region and city you're working in, and the hours you're dedicating the job.
The job outlook for paralegals is consistent - and good. Law offices are always looking for good researchers, good organizers, and people will an extended knowledge of the law to help.