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What Is the Difference Between a BA & BS in Paralegal Studies?

If you are interested in becoming a paralegal, there are two different degree programs that you can pursue: a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science. Read on to learn more about the differences between these two degree programs.

Overview of BA and BS Paralegal Studies Programs

The biggest difference between a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Paralegal Studies is the requirement of modern language study. The Bachelor of Arts degree courses for Paralegal Studies are selected from a variety of disciplines, and they have concentrations in one or two areas. Study in a modern language is required in order to earn the Bachelor of Arts degree in any field. A Bachelor of Science degree requires fewer electives than a Bachelor of Arts degree, and modern language study is not typically required. The following paragraphs detail some basic information and other distinctions between a BA and a BS as they apply to paralegal studies. Both types of programs prepare students for work as paralegals.

Important Facts About Paralegal Educational Programs

BA BS
Online Availability Available fully online Available fully online
Concentrations Legal studies, litigation/project management studies Nurse/health care studies, legal assistant
Continuing Education Certificate optional Certificate optional
Key Skills Technical skills, critical thinking skills Communication skills, critical thinking computer skills,

Bachelor of Arts

A typical Bachelor of Arts degree in paralegal studies may prepare students for positions as paralegals or legal assistants, and it provides a general liberal arts education that includes an extensive set of paralegal study courses. Courses may be offered in accounting, applied statistics and quantitative analysis and professional practice. Paralegal electives let students pursue a specialization. Areas of study include law and litigation, contracts and business organizations, legal research and writing. Students are encouraged to take an internship to further develop hands-on skills in the paralegal field.

Bachelor of Science

A Bachelor of Science degree in paralegal studies qualifies graduates for entry-level positions in offices, government agencies or independent dispute resolution operations. The Bachelor of Science program gives students a practical working knowledge of the use of legal databases and other methods used in dispute resolution. Areas of study usually include introductory classes in criminal law, legal writing and research, the laws of contracts and business organizations, litigation and legal ethics.

Earnings and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for paralegals and legal assistants was $50,940 in May 2018. Employment of paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow 15% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.