Paralegal Office Management Bachelor's Degree
Paralegals perform many duties in a law office, including interviewing clients and performing legal research. Find helpful info for selecting a school, degree options and employment projections.
Why Do I Need a Paralegal Office Management Bachelor's Degree?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that you may be able to secure an entry-level position as a paralegal or legal assistant by earning an associate's degree or a post-baccalaureate paralegal certificate. A bachelor's degree in paralegal studies may prepare you to complete additional duties as a paralegal and make you more attractive to employers. However, the BLS goes on to state that paralegal bachelor's degree programs might be difficult to find.
You may be able to find resources to help you locate schools that offer appropriate bachelor's degree programs through the American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE). In addition, the American Bar Association (ABA) maintains an online directory of schools that offer approved paralegal education programs.
|Degree Options||Associate's or bachelor's degrees, 2 + 2 articulation options, online program availability|
|Common Courses||Law office administration, legal research and writing, client interviewing, civil litigation; externships often included in the curriculum|
|Certification||Optional certification available from a few different organizations|
What If I'm Already a Paralegal?
Associate's degrees in paralegal studies are much more common than bachelor's degrees. However, in addition to traditional bachelor's degree programs, there are opportunities for you to participate in 2 + 2 or degree-completion programs.
Sometimes these programs are completed by way of an articulation agreement between two schools. You earn your associate's degree at a community college and then transfer to a 4-year school to complete the requirements for a bachelor's degree.
What Are Some Program Details?
Typical courses you might encounter include legal research and writing, software applications and keyboarding, law office administration, legal transcription, constitutional law, administrative law for paralegals, civil litigation and interviewing. Often, you'll have the opportunity to complete an externship at a school-partnered law office or agency.
You may have the opportunity to complete all or part of a program online. If an externship is involved, you'll have to complete it in a live setting. Other programs may simply contain a number of on-campus requirements. You communicate and submit assignments in online courses by way of a course management system such as Blackboard.
An online program is generally more flexible than an on-campus program. You're permitted to access courses 24/7 at your convenience, though in order to maintain a recommended pace, you may be required to log-in a specified number of times per week. By offering courses throughout the entire year, schools may give you the chance to complete a 4-year degree in three years.
What Are Some Employment Projections?
Though certification is voluntary, you'll find that it can enhance your employment and advancement potential. Depending on the professional organization, you may qualify to sit for a certification examination by meeting education and experience requirements. Organizations administering exams include the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) and the American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc. (AAPI).
The BLS projected that employment opportunities for paralegals and legal assistants will increase 15% from 2016 to 2026, which is higher than the average for all occupations. The BLS also reported that competition for paralegal and legal assistant jobs will be strong and that formal paralegal training will increase job prospects. In May 2018, the BLS determined the median annual wage for paralegals and legal assistants to be $50,940 .