Insurance Paralegal Career Outlook and Education
Insurance can be a difficult topic to navigate due to its complexity, but a paralegal program can teach you its nuances.
Insurance paralegals work in all types of insurance—auto, medical, homeowners, to name a few—and assist attorneys with investigations, case management and other tasks.
While an insurance paralegal isn't permitted to give legal advice to clients or practice law, they are taking on more responsibility as firms look for cost-saving methods.
Insurance Paralegal Job Duties
Insurance paralegals might work within a legal department of an insurance company, or for a law firm representing one. Their work usually revolves around personal injury claims or other issues covered by insurance, and they can help in every step during the process of insurance claims.
Duties often involve the following:
- Reviewing the insurance company's policies or pertinent medical information
- Interviewing witnesses and other people related to the case
- Gathering facts in a case
- Preparing documents or other paperwork involved in a case
- Trial preparation if necessary
Insurance Paralegal Education
Enrolling in a paralegal studies program is usually the best way to enter the profession. There are several ways you can do this and you'll want to consider your career goals and timeline. Certain programs will allow you to enter the field sooner than others.
- Associate's degree: Two years in length, includes liberal arts courses
- Bachelor's degree: Four years in length, includes liberal arts courses and in-depth paralegal studies
- Certification: Takes several months to complete, but is more intensive and sometimes requires a bachelor's degree.
Additional courses in specialty areas like insurance are often available as well.
Insurance Paralegal's Salary and Job Outlook
Paralegals and legal assistants earn a median national annual salary of $46,990, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook.
Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.
Because paralegals are able to handle many of the same duties as an attorney, an influx of jobs is expected to occur. The BLS projects job growth at 17 percent through 2022, which is faster than average for all occupations.
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