Paralegal Studies Associate's Degree

In a paralegal studies associate's degree program, you'll learn how to work in a law office and help lawyers prepare for court cases. Research and writing are typically emphasized in these training programs. Learn what associate's degree programs in paralegal studies teach and what the employment outlook is for this career. Schools offering Paralegal degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What's an Associate's Degree Program in Paralegal Studies?

An associate's degree program in paralegal studies prepares you to work as a paralegal or to pursue a bachelor's degree in a related field. This 2-year program can be taken in person or online. In online programs, you submit work over the Internet, participate in online discussion forums and talk to your professors by email; some programs may hold online orientation sessions and provide access to Web-based tutoring.

Although not usually required, some schools request that applicants participate in an entrance interview. Taking courses in English, criminal justice, business law or computer science could be beneficial preparation for entry into this program.

Program LengthTwo years
Common CoursesLaw office management, accounting, constitutional law, legal research, information management for law
Median Salary$48,350 for paralegals and legal assistants
Continuing EducationBachelor's programs in criminal justice or pre-law

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Classes Could I Take?

Courses of study in this field train you in legal writing and research as well as theories of justice and the functions of a law office. You might also learn about administrative practices and various legal specializations, including business law, civil litigation, estate planning, real estate and family law. You could also take the following classes:

  • Accounting
  • Law office management
  • Information management for law
  • Criminal administrative protocols
  • Constitutional law

What Can I Expect From the Job Market?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that employment for paralegals is set to increase 8% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov), which is average. Employment for paralegal professionals is expected to be driven by law firms employing more paralegals, who can often do the work of lawyers for less cost. As of May 2014, paralegals earned a median annual salary of $48,350, according to the BLS.

What Are Employment Alternatives?

Instead of entering the workforce, you could continue your education at the bachelor's level in a related field, such as criminal justice or pre-law. These 4-year programs often accept transfer credits from your associate's degree, allowing you to complete them in less time.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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