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Paralegal Schools and Programs

Paralegals provide essential support to a wide range of professionals that work in our legal system. They investigate facts for lawyers and consultants, conduct research, gather and arrange evidence, and perform a wide range of administrative tasks that keep law offices and court rooms functioning. If you're interested in joining this fast-paced career, paralegal schools can prepare you for the task.

Paralegal Legal Assistant

Some paralegals work in smaller firms and perform a wider range of functions, or focus on one case from start to finish. Those who work in large firms may only focus on a particular stage of each case. Some paralegals may also focus on a specific type of case, whether it be corporate law, litigation, personal injury, bankruptcy or another area.

Paralegal Specializations

Paralegal schools offer specialized training in every aspect of this field. And no matter what area interests you the most, paralegal schools provide the instruction that is required if you want to be adequately prepared. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the following paralegal specializations are the most common in the workforce today:

  • Corporate Paralegals focus mainly on corporate activities such as employee contracts, shareholder agreements, and financial reports, while also ensuring a corporation remains in compliance with the law.
  • Litigation Paralegals perform a wide range of tasks that pertain to litigation and trials, collect evidence, prepare reports, and perform administrative tasks.

Paralegal Certifications and Degrees

According to the BLS, there are many possible routes to become a paralegal. Most get started in the field by earning an associate's degree in paralegal studies, or they start with a bachelor's degree in another field and attend paralegal schools in order to earn certification. Employers may also hire you without paralegal certification, so long as you have a bachelor's degree in a related field.

Although certification is not required by states and may not be required by employers, many paralegals seek out voluntary certifications through national and local paralegal organizations. Courses included in these programs can include subjects such as:

  • Legal research and writing
  • Pleadings and motions
  • Torts
  • Communication skills and legal ethics

As part of the program, many paralegal schools also provide opportunities for paralegal internships. Those internships help students learn many of the hands-on aspects of this job.

Paralegal Salary and Career Outlook

As law firms look for ways to cut costs for their clients, many have begun using paralegals for some of the administrative tasks that were previously performed by highly paid lawyers. This has meant a relative boost for employment for paralegals nationally, as more of these workers are hired to perform more job functions than they did in the past. The future looks bright for these professionals as well. According to BLS figures, employment for paralegals is expected to increase 17 percent nationally during the decade leading up to 2022. This is much faster than the average for all occupations.

Some states are expecting more demand for paralegals from 2012 to 2022, including the following:

  • Tennessee: 48.7 %
  • Washington: 32.6 %
  • Florida: 32.1 %
  • Utah: 30.9 %
  • Texas: 29.8 %
  • Arizona: 28.4 %
  • Colorado: 29.9 %
  • North Carolina: 27.2 %
  • Georgia: 24.7 %
  • Montana: 23.3 %
  • Kansas: 22.1 %

Along with healthy job prospects, paralegals should also expect a relatively high salary. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for paralegals was $45,570 nationally in 2013. Meanwhile, the top ten percent of earners brought in an average of $76,960 that year. Several states saw paralegals earning more than the average in 2013 as well, including the following:

  • District of Columbia: $73,350
  • California: $60,060
  • Alaska: $60,020
  • New Jersey: $58,830
  • Oregon: $56,760

Paralegals earn relatively high wages, enjoy plenty of demand for their skills, and also have the opportunity to work in the fast-paced fields of criminal justice and law. They work with lawyers and other legal professionals in an ever-changing work environment that is both stimulating and rewarding. With those benefits, it's no wonder so many students are choosing paralegal schools to help them launch a successful new career.

Sources

Paralegals and Legal Assistants, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm

Paralegals and Legal Assistants, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm#tab-1

Projections Central, Long-Term Projections, http://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm

Paralegal Studies, San Francisco State University, http://www.cel.sfsu.edu/paralegal/

Legal Schools
 
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At Fortis Institute, you may get the skills and training you need to prepare for a career. * Programs vary by location * Please contact each individual campus for accreditation information Please call on  844-252-4552 to talk to a respresentative.

Programs : Paralegal, and more.

Campus Locations :

Dayton: 555 E. Alex-Bell Road Dayton, OH 45459

Advance your career with our affordable, self-paced, career-focused distance education programs.

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Campus Locations : Online

Start the next chapter of your life with an Associate or Bachelor degree from Miller-Motte College Online Division.

Programs : Paralegal - Associate of Applied Science, and more.

Campus Locations :

Fayetteville: 3725 Ramsey Street Fayetteville, NC 28311

With more than 300 online and residential areas of study, Liberty offers programs from the certificate to doctoral level.

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Campus Locations : Online

Westwood College is dedicated to preparing students with the knowledge, skills and training needed for meaningful employment. Through education, we create opportunities, change lives and impact futures. Please call 855-816-4009 or fill out the form!

Programs : Paralegal (A), and more.

Campus Locations :

Denver: 7350 North Broadway, Suite 1200 Denver, CO 80221

Anaheim: 1551 S. Douglass Road Anaheim, CA 92806

For more than 35 years, Keiser University has provided student-centered, career-focused education in fields such as health care, business, criminal justice and information technology. 

Programs : Paralegal Studies, AA, Legal Studies, BA, and more.

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Orlando: 5600 Lake Underhill Road Orlando, FL 32807

Berks Technical Institute (BTI) can help get you from here to a new career!

Programs : Paralegal - Associate in Specialized Business, and more.

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Reading: 2205 Ridgewood Road Reading, PA 19610

At Kaplan University, we offer over 180 degree and certificate programs.

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Davenport: 1801 East Kimberly Road Suite 1 Davenport, IA 52807

Cedar Rapids: 3165 Edgewood Parkway SW Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

Mason City: 100 1st Street NW Mason City, IA 50401

South Portland: 265 Western Ave South Portland, ME 04106

Lincoln: 1821 K Street Lincoln, NE 68501

Cedar Falls: 7009 Nordic Drive Cedar Falls, IA 50613

Omaha: 5425 N. 103rd St. Omaha, NE 68134

Augusta: 14 Marketplace Drive Augusta, ME 04330

Hagerstown: 18618 Crestwood Drive Hagerstown, MD 21742

Urbandale: 4655 121st Street Urbandale, IA 50323

Lewiston: 475 Lisbon Street Lewiston, ME 04240

Discover the power of ONE COURSE A MONTH® to fit education into your busy life.

Programs : Certificate in Paralegal Assistant, Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal, Associate of Science in Paralegal, and more.

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Greenville: One Liberty Square, 75 Beattie Place,Suite 100 Greenville, SC 29601

Louisville: 3605 Fern Valley Road Louisville, KY 40219

Birmingham: 105 Vulcan Road, Suite 100 Birmingham, AL 35209

Atlanta: 4370 Peachtree Road N.E. Atlanta, GA 30319

Boise: 9050 W. Overland Road, Suite 100 Boise, ID 83709

Oklahoma City: 7101 Northwest Expressway, Suite 800 Oklahoma City, OK 73132

Merrillville: 1000 East 80th Place, Suite 205M Merrillville, IN 46410

Get a quality technical education and prepare for a better job at TCI College of Technology in New York City.

Programs : Paralegal Studies, and more.

Campus Locations :

New York: 320 West 31st St. New York, NY 10001

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