Legal and Paralegal Degrees & Careers
One of the foundations of American society is our commitment to the rule of law. Whether a criminal breaks the law or there is a legal dispute between people or companies, our court system is there to determine guilt and innocence, and then settle conflicts or punish offenders.
There are many different jobs in the court system. Of course, you could become a lawyer, but lawyering isn’t for everyone (lawyer jokes aside). Many people become paralegals, legal assistants and court reporters, and these are three really great careers that don’t require a law-school education.
If you’d like to work in the legal system, check out what it’s really like and learn what training you need to enter this rewarding field.
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Here's The Breakdown
Skills You'll Need
Paralegals are well-compensated for the work they do, but you'll need the following skills and qualities to succeed:
- Close attention to detail
- Computer and technology savvy
- Excellent research and writing skills
- Good interpersonal skills
- Hard working
- Highly organized
Meeting your paralegal degree requirements gives you the knowledge and skills to succeed in the workplace. They are offered at community colleges, colleges, universities and specialty schools across the country.
Wherever you study, and whether you earn your paralegal degree online or in a classroom setting, your teachers will be lawyers with years of experience who love what they do and want to share what they’ve learned so that you can be the best paralegal you can be when you enter the job market.
Below are some of the required courses you’ll take in most paralegal programs.
- Intro to Law and the Legal System
- Business Law
- Civil Procedure
- Criminal Law
- Employment Law
- Immigration Law
- Intellectual Property
- Law Office Technology
- Legal Research and Writing
- Torts and Personal Injury
There are many ways to get your paralegal training. Some people do an associate’s degree (two years) or a bachelor’s degree (four years) in paralegal studies.
If you already have a bachelor’s in another area and want to become a paralegal, a paralegal certificate is a custom-fit option. Paralegal certificates vary in length, but generally you must earn about 40 credits, which can take as little as nine months (even if you’re working during the day) or as much time as you need to complete your studies.
If you have questions about specific programs, contact each school’s academic advisor.
Now that you’ve got an overview of what paralegal careers and studies are all about, why not take the next step? Find schools near you—or online—and get the training you need to find a job in this growing field.
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Program outcomes vary according to each institution's specific curriculum and employment opportunities are not guaranteed.
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