Online Paralegal Courses and Certification
Learn about the types of degree programs offered in paralegal studies and what classes are available online. Continue reading to learn about certification and what the requirements are.
What You Need To Know
A variety of degrees are available for you to choose from on your road to becoming a paralegal. If you're just beginning your college career, you can earn an online Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Paralegal Studies in as little as 15 months. Online bachelor's completion programs allow you to transfer college credit from an associate's degree or prior study to earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Paralegal Studies online in two years.
|Degrees||Associate's degree required, with a bachelor's degree preferred|
|Responsibilities||Conduct research for cases, organize evidence for supervising attorney, assist lawyers with various trial and complete office duties|
|Salary (2017)||$50,410 (Median for paralegals and legal assistants)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics'
What Will I Study?
In online paralegal courses, you'll learn everything you need to know to assist attorneys and help prepare legal documents. Coursework will introduce you to various areas of law to prepare you for employment in a variety of legal settings. You could examine the following areas of law:
- Corporate law
- Constitutional law
- Criminal law
- Employment law
- Family law
- Health care law
- Immigration law
- Public communications
- Real estate law
- International law
What Courses Will I Take?
Paralegal coursework is supplemented with general education classes for the A.A.S. and B.S. degree programs. You'll also learn how to conduct legal research and analysis. Online courses in paralegal studies cover:
- Paralegal roles and responsibilities
- Introduction to the legal system
- Legal terminology
- Legal ethics
- Civil litigation and procedure
- Legal research and analysis
- Patents, trademarks and copyrights
- Laws of evidence
- Intellectual property
What Are the Requirements for Certification?
The National Association of Legal Assistants awards professional paralegal certification upon successful completion of the 2-day certification exam. Certification is voluntary and represents that you have met the national professional standards for paralegals, a credential recognized by the American Bar Association. In order to be eligible, you must have graduated from an approved paralegal program or otherwise possess an acceptable combination of education and professional experience.
What Other Programs Are Available?
If you already have a bachelor's degree and are considering a career change, you may acquire a post-baccalaureate certificate to become a legal assistant in less than one year. Undergraduate certificates may also be available.
What Are My Job Prospects?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the job growth for paralegals and legal assistants will increase 15% from 2016- 2026. This is good news for potential paralegals, as the median salary was reported at $50,410 in 2017. Increasing your proficiency with computers and database management may increase your chances of being hired.