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Paralegal Trade Schools

Since paralegals and legal assistants help conduct legal research on relevant laws and regulations, draft documents, organize and maintain files, investigate facts of a case, take notes in trial and much more, it's clear that they play a vital role in the legal process. There are various areas a paralegal may specialize in, such as litigation and corporate law. Corporate paralegals, for example, help lawyers prepare everything from employee contracts to shareholder agreements. Paralegal school, or a program in paralegal studies at a vocational school or technical school, may be an important step in entering this sustainable, growing field.

Paralegal specializations

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov) lists several specializations paralegals can enter, going more in-depth on a few, such as:

  • Litigation -- conduct research for lawyers, maintain client documents and organize and retrieve evidence for use in trials and depositions.
  • Personal injury
  • Employee benefits
  • Intellectual property
  • Corporate -- help lawyers prepare everything from employee contracts to stock-option plans and review and monitor government regulations.

Paralegal certifications and degrees

Most paralegals and legal assistants, according to the BLS, have an associate degree in paralegal studies or a bachelor's degree in another field paired with a certificate in paralegal studies (since very few schools offer a bachelor's or master's in paralegal studies). Sometimes people with a bachelor's degree and no legal experience or education may be hired and then trained on the job.

You may expect to take courses in legal research and the legal applications of computers in associate's and bachelor's degree programs, the BLS states, and receive intensive paralegal training in certificate programs (which sometimes only take a few months to complete). Certificate programs are often geared to people who already hold college degrees in something else.

Certifications aren't required by most employers, according to the BLS, but could give a job applicant an edge sometimes in landing a job. Certifications usually consist of an exam. The National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) offers Certified Paralegal credentialing and continuing education opportunities.

Paralegal salary and career outlook

A paralegal career definitely has the potential to be sustainable. According to the BLS, the national mean annual wage of paralegals and legal assistants in the United States as of May 2013 was $51,170, with the lowest-paid 10 percent earning an annual wage of $29,740 and the highest-paid 10 percent earning an annual wage of $76,960.

Employment prospects are looking good for paralegals, according to the BLS. Employment of paralegals and legal assistants is expected to grow by 17 percent between 2012 and 2022, which is faster than the average of all occupations. And the states with the highest expected growth, percentage-wise, between 2012 and 2022, according to Projections Central, are:

  • Tennessee: 48.7 percent
  • Washington: 32.6 percent
  • Florida: 32.1 percent
  • Utah: 30.9 percent
  • Colorado: 29.9 percent

The paralegal field is one with many specializations, each of which the data suggests is sustainable and growing. After heading off to college, technical school or vocational school and earning a degree or certificate in paralegal studies, you can begin applying to join this vital profession.

Sources:

Certification, National Association of Legal Assistants, Accessed September 25, 2014, http://www.nala.org/Certification.aspx

Long Term Occupational Projections, Projections Central, paralegal and legal assistants, 2012-2022, https://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm

Paralegal and legal assistant, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm

Paralegal and legal assistants, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm

Paralegal Trade Schools
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Keiser University offers degrees in fields that are in demand and provides job placement assistance to all its students and alumni.

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Port Saint Lucie: 10330 South U.S. 1 Port Saint Lucie, FL 34952

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Hopkins: 10901 Red Circle Drive Ste. 150 Hopkins, MN 55343

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Wilmington: 5000 Market St Wilmington, NC 28405

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Scranton: Scranton, PA 18515

Kaplan University is focused on recognizing the achievements of military and veteran students and offers the flexibility of an online education.

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Are you interested in pursuing a high-tech career? Getting an education from ITT Tech is a great place to start!

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Duluth: 10700 Abbotts Bridge Road Duluth, GA 30097

Webster: 1001 Magnolia Ave. Webster, TX 77598

Greenfield: 6300 W. Layton Avenue Greenfield, WI 53220

Waco: 3700 S. Jack Kultgen Expy., Suite 100 Waco, TX 76706

Johnson City: 4721 Lake Park Drive, Suite 100 Johnson City, TN 37615

Lexington: 2473 Fortune Dr. Suite 180 Lexington, KY 40509

Indianapolis: 9511 Angola Court Indianapolis, IN 46268

Baton Rouge: 14141 Airline Highway, Bldg 3 - Suite K Baton Rouge, LA 70817

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Richardson: 2101 Waterview Parkway Richardson, TX 75080

Madison: 382 Galleria Parkway, Suite 100 Madison, MS 39110

DeSoto: 921 West Belt Line Road, Suite 181 DeSoto, TX 75115

Pensacola: 6913 North 9th Avenue Pensacola, FL 32504

Kennesaw: 1000 Cobb Place Boulevard NW Kennesaw, GA 30144

San Antonio: 5700 Northwest Parkway San Antonio, TX 78249

Phoenix: 1840 N. 95th Ave., Suite 132 Phoenix, AZ 85037

Myrtle Beach: 9654 N. Kings Highway, Ste 101 Myrtle Beach, SC 29572

Atlanta: Two Crown Center 1745 Phoenix Blvd., Suite 100 Atlanta, GA 30349

Newburgh: 10999 Stahl Road Newburgh, IN 47630

Columbus: 4717 Hilton Corporate Drive Columbus, OH 43232

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

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

South Portland: 265 Western Ave South Portland, ME 04106

Urbandale: 4655 121st Street Urbandale, IA 50323

Lincoln: 1821 K Street Lincoln, NE 68501

Cedar Falls: 7009 Nordic Drive Cedar Falls, IA 50613

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

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