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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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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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Fort Lauderdale: 6301 Kaplan University Avenue Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309

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.

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Further your education and strengthen your skill set at Rasmussen College

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Topeka: 620 SW Governor View Topeka, KS 66606

Fort Myers: 9160 Forum Corporate Parkway Suite 100 Fort Myers, FL 33905

Wausau: 1101 Westwood Drive Wausau, WI 54401

Green Bay: 904 South Taylor St. Suite 100 Green Bay, WI 54303

Minneapolis: 4400 West 78th Street 6th Floor Minneapolis, MN 55435

Romeoville: 1400 W. Normantown Road Romeoville, IL 60446

Mankato: 501 Holly Lane Mankato, MN 56001

: 3500 Federal Drive , MN 55122

Tampa: 4042 Park Oaks Blvd Suite 100 Tampa, FL 33610

Aurora: 2363 Sequoia Dr. Aurora, IL 60506

Lutz: 18600 Fernview Street Lutz, FL 33558

Saint Cloud: 226 Park Avenue South Saint Cloud, MN 56301

Mokena: 8650 West Spring Lake Road Mokena, IL 60448

Lake Elmo: 8565 Eagle Point Circle Lake Elmo, MN 55042

Appleton: 3500 E. Destination Drive Suite 100 Appleton, WI 54915

New Port Richey: 8661 Citizens Drive New Port Richey, FL 34654

Circle Pines: 3629 95th Avenue Northeast Circle Pines, MN 55014

Moorhead: 1250 29th Avenue South Moorhead, MN 56560

Rockford: 6000 E State St 4th Floor Rockford, IL 61108

Ocala: 2100 SW 22nd Place Ocala, FL 34471

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

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Lynchburg: 1971 University Boulevard Lynchburg, VA 24502

Flexible career learning to fit your busy lifestyle - National American University.

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Sioux Falls: 5801 South Corporate Place Sioux Falls, SD 57108

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Lees Summit: 401 NW Murray Road Lees Summit, MO 64081

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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Melbourne: 900 S. Babcock St. Melbourne, FL 32901

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Fort Lauderdale: 1500 W. Commercial Blvd Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309

Orlando: 5600 Lake Underhill Road Orlando, FL 32807

Tampa: 5002 West Waters Ave Tampa, FL 33634

Sarasota: 6151 Lake Osprey Drive Sarasota, FL 34240

Fort Myers: 9100 Forum Corporate Parkway Fort Myers, FL 33905

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Miami: 2101 NW 117th Avenue Miami, FL 33172

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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Oklahoma City: 50 Penn Place Suite 305 Oklahoma City, OK 73118

Newburgh: 10999 Stahl Road Newburgh, IN 47630

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Indianapolis: 9511 Angola Court Indianapolis, IN 46268

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

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

Webster: 1001 Magnolia Ave. Webster, TX 77598

Greenfield: 6300 W. Layton Avenue Greenfield, WI 53220

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

Pensacola: 6913 North 9th Avenue Pensacola, FL 32504

Austin: 6330 Hwy 290 E Austin, TX 78723

Richardson: 2101 Waterview Parkway Richardson, TX 75080

Houston: 15621 Blue Ash Drive Houston, TX 77090

Duluth: 10700 Abbotts Bridge Road Duluth, GA 30097

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

Wichita: One Brittany Place, Suite 100 - 2024 N. Woodlawn Wichita, KS 67208

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

Columbus: 4717 Hilton Corporate Drive Columbus, OH 43232

San Antonio: 5700 Northwest Parkway San Antonio, TX 78249

Kennesaw: 1000 Cobb Place Boulevard NW Kennesaw, GA 30144

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West Jordan: 1902 West 7800 South West Jordan, UT 84088

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