What Are Popular Jobs and Career Options for Paralegals?

A person trained as a paralegal has several options to choose from other than working in a law office. These options range from working as a law clerk to working in the insurance industry. This article discusses popular jobs and career options for paralegals. Schools offering Paralegal degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

As law offices try to restructure their staff to create lower costs and higher efficiency, paralegals have become increasingly important. With increased demand, paralegals now have multiple career paths and are no longer limited to law firms. Paralegals may find work with corporations, private offices, or the government, and job duties and responsibilities vary with each work environment.

Important Facts About Paralegals

Median Salary (2014) $48,350 per year
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 8% growth
Key Skills Interpersonal Communication, Organization, Time Management, Reading and Writing
Work Environment Office Setting

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Popular Jobs and Career Options for Paralegals

A paralegal works in a legal office performing many of the same tasks lawyers do. Lawyers depend on paralegals to identify statutes, caselaw and issues relevant to an assigned case. As a paralegal, you'd have an extensive understanding of the law and would be skilled in research. You could transfer these skills to a number of distinct fields.

Law Clerk

A law clerk works with judges and lawyers researching and preparing legal documents. A law clerk often meets with clients and assists judges and lawyers in a courtroom setting.

Title Examiners, Abstractors and Searchers

A title examiner, abstractor or searcher examines or summarizes real estate records, titles and insurance documents. In this field, you may work for law firms, title insurance companies or real estate agencies.

Claims Adjusters, Appraisers, Examiners and Investigators

Claim adjusters, appraisers, examiners and investigators typically work in the insurance industry. In this field, you'd usually work for property and casualty insurance companies. You'll investigate claims, negotiate settlements and authorize payments for insurance claims.

Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians

Occupational health and safety specialists and technicians are trained to prevent harm to workers, property and the environment. These specialists and technicians may design safe workplaces, inspect machinery or test the quality of the air in the work environment.

Education Requirements

To become a paralegal, you'd most likely enroll in an associate's degree program or, if you have a bachelor's degree, a certificate program. Though rare, bachelor's and master's degree programs in paralegal studies are also available. Your courses could include legal terminology, legal analysis, discovery preparation, legal research skills, litigation stages and law office ethics. An internship is often required to graduate from a paralegal studies program.

Though not required, earning voluntary certification could improve your job prospects, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Certification is offered by several professional organizations. Though requirements vary, you may need to pass an exam and/or meet certain education and experience requirements to become certified.

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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