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The legal assistant profession is projected to grow by 33% during the first 10 years of the 21st century, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Employment Projections. Compared with other occupations, this is an above average growth rate. So why wouldn't you want to be involved in a career that has such terrific prospects for growth, reliability and stability.

Wondering what being a Paralegal is all about? Here are some simples FAQs to help you sort through the maze of information that can be found about becoming a Paralegal.

Do I need a paralegal certificate?

If you have a college degree and decent grades, then you immediately become qualified to be an entry-level paralegal. Some paralegal positions do require a paralegal certificate. You can also undertake studies in a diploma if you choose to, but these kinds of certificates are mostly for people who wish to be career paralegals. <

What are the benefits of being a paralegal?

Firstly, the experience may help you figure out what to do with your life if you are not totally committed to a career yet. It might help you decide whether you want to be a career paralegal, whether you want to go to law school or whether you want to do something different. Secondly, being a paralegal might help you get into law school. Admissions officers often look upon existing paralegals favorably. Thirdly, being a paralegal may help you obtain another job within your firm - the opportunities for promotion in major corporations are extensive.

What will I earn and how many hours do I need to work?

The starting salary for a Paralegal (inexperienced and untrained) is $21,000 - $22,000. This is a base salary for working from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with a one-hour lunch break, Monday through Friday. However, sometimes you will have top work extra hours (for no extra pay) if there is work to be done on an important deal or trial.

What should I study?

Today, there is an estimate of 600 paralegal education programs in the United States. Various institutions offer paralegal education, including community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, business colleges and proprietary institutions. These various institutions make it possible for persons with diverse backgrounds to enter the profession. The most common types of programs are an Associate Degree Program, a Bachelor Degree Program, a Certificate Program and Master's Degree Programs.