Students who are preparing to begin their journey into college and secondary education are always searching for up and coming career opportunities that will potentially be profitable and secure when they complete their education. One of the reliable fields students may wish to pursue are paralegal careers. The paralegal field is an excellent career choice in today's atmosphere of employment. A paralegal is essentially assist attorneys with legal documentation work such as drawing up contracts, creating financial reports, analyze legal material that may be used in litigation, and other various duties involving a legal firm.
Paralegal Requirements and Certification
Paralegal careers require students to complete specialized programs or degree coursework in order to gain entry into the paralegal field. Many law firms and legal offices prefer training and at least an associate's degree in paralegal studies in order to qualify for a position in the legal field. Most law firms and legal offices prefer bachelor's degree holders as job candidates. There are approximately 1,000 colleges and schools that offer programs for paralegal studies in the United States alone. One of the most important certification that a paralegal must hold is that of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). Nala certification requires a combination of educational tools and training for students to prepare for a 2-day examination for legal certification.
Training To Become A Paralegal
The American Bar Association recognizes over 260 paralegal programs that are currently offered to students. The training that is involved in paralegal studies usually consists of on-the-job training as an intern or other entry level positions prior to becoming a paralegal. A number of certification programs also offer training and certification to students.
Para Legal Courses And Schools
A few of the colleges and technical schools that offer degree programs for paralegal studies are: Kaplin University Everest University Rasmussen College South University The average coursework for the majority of paralegal programs vary to a small degree. Most of the courses follow paralegal guidelines set by the American Bar Association. Certain programs offer job placement services for students who are nearing the completion of their coursework. Essential courses in paralegal studies include:
- Introduction to Law
- Legal Research Writing
- Legal Ethics
- Criminal Law
- Real Property
- Constitutional Law
- Domestic Relations
- Employment Law
- Immigration Law
- Legal Document Preparation
The list of courses above is only a short mention of a variety of areas of study involving paralegal careers. Depending on the type of paralegal work the student may be interested in, there are course-specific options available as well. Paralegal careers are highly competitive and dynamic. Within this field there exists a sub-category of specialties that include corporate, litigation, criminal, and estate paralegal positions. The American Alliance of Paralegals (AACP) is a voluntary certification that adds credence to a paralegal's future resume. This certification is available for paralegals with a minimum of five years experience in the field.
Paralegal Job and Employment Opportunities
Employment positions in the paralegal field tend to be largely sought after by a very qualified set of candidates. Students desiring to enter this field must concentrate on the points in their training, education, and certification in order to stand out in this competitive career. While paralegal job positions are available in the private sector such as with a law firm or legal office, many positions are also available through the federal, state, and local government. There is also the opportunity for freelance legal work. Paralegal careers tend to be affected by the economy in a direct manner. The heavier the volume of clients and cases available, the higher the demand for paralegals to fill these positions.
Paralegal Wages and Salary
For an entry level paralegal employment position, the average salary is approximately $29,000 per year. The average salary for an established paralegal can range from $36,000 to $59,000 per year. There are top paralegal earners who have been known to gross as much as $73,000 per year. The potential for excellent earnings in the paralegal field depends largely on the size of the law firm or company that provides the employment. Federal workers tend to have a middle income bracket of $58,000 per year. For any student who may be pondering a career in the legal field, a degree and certification as a paralegal provides an excellent atmosphere of growth and opportunity.