What Are the Education Requirements to Become a Paralegal?

Formal training is not required to land a job as a paralegal, but applicants can enhance their employability through a training or certificate program. Learn more about education options, required skills and career info below. Schools offering Paralegal degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career & Education Information

Paralegals, otherwise known as legal assistants, help attorneys and lawyers by performing duties that might include legal research, interviewing witnesses, organizing the evidence and drafting documents. They might maintain information databases, prepare briefs for court or even help during a trial. Other tasks vary depending on the law firm and its speciality, which might be an area such as business law, civil or criminal litigation, or family law.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), reports that formal training is not required to enter this career; however, most entrants into the paralegal field have an associate's degree in paralegal studies or a bachelor's degree combined with a certificate. The most common training leading to an associate's degree is through a community college program. Applicants who already hold a college degree need only earn a certificate in paralegal studies.

Important Facts About Paralegals

Online AvailabilityFull programs are available online
Continuing EducationRenewal required every five years to maintain a certificate
Common CoursesLaw and litigation, criminology, corporate law, international law
Similar OccupationsLawyer, administrative assistant, claims adjuster

Certification

Earning a voluntary certification from a professional society enhances an applicant's opportunities in the labour market. The National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) established certain standards for certification. A student who meets its standards is eligible to take a 2-day examination. Passing this examination allows the student to use the credentials of a Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) or Certified Paralegal (CP). The American Alliance of Paralegals offers a voluntary certification program that leads to the credential of American Alliance Certified Paralegal (AACP). Five years of paralegal experience is required to take the examination.

Job Skills

Skills that can serve a paralegal well include attention to detail, persistence and organization, especially because they do a great deal of work with examining and creating documentation. They must also be able to communicate well, both in person and in writing. Finally, computer skills are also helpful in this field.

Occupational Statistics

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the median annual salary in 2018 for paralegals and legal assistants was $ 50,940. The BLS expects that paralegals and legal assistants will see an increase of 15% in job opportunities between 2016 and 2026, which is faster than average compared to all careers nationwide (www.bls.gov).

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Saint Leo University

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    Popular programs at Saint Leo University:

    • Doctoral
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    Popular programs at Liberty University:

    • Master

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    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master

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    • Master

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  • Post University

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    Popular programs at Post University:

    • Bachelor Degrees
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  • Colorado Christian University

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    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

    • Master
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  • Penn Foster

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    • Certificates

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  • Penn Foster High School

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  • Regent University

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    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Master
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