Online Paralegal Bachelor’s Degree
Earning a bachelor's degree in paralegal studies online prepares learners for careers as paralegals and legal assistants. Within the legal profession, there are a variety of law fields in which paralegals can specialize, which is why students should choose a program that aligns with their career goals. For instance, candidates interested in family law can select a program with coursework that strongly addresses this area.
This page examines the field's versatility, occupations, and earning potential for graduates, along with the skills students develop during paralegal programs.
What is Paralegal?
A paralegal assists attorneys by preparing legal documents and performing research. Paralegals, however, do not hold the qualifications to function as attorneys.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), paralegals and legal assistants earn median salaries of $50,410, and the field is projected to grow 15% by 2026, which is much faster than average. Students who earn bachelor's degrees in paralegal studies online can obtain entry-level positions in the industry.
The curriculum for a paralegal bachelor's also equips learners with skills that can be applied to other professions. For instance, the best paralegal studies bachelor's degrees train students to perform heavy research. This process involves determining a source's value, interpreting documents, and delivering conclusions. Careers in history, sociology, and computer information require this skill set.
Students also explore legal concepts that relate to consulting and marketing positions. For social media marketers, understanding trademark laws can prevent unlawful use of another company's logo. Knowledge of specific law categories can also assist realtors (property law), business owners (contract law), politicians (constitutional law), accountants (bankruptcy law), and social workers (family law).
Coursework for a paralegal bachelor's degree may also involve legal writing. This skill relates to many occupations, including technical writers who earn a median pay of over $70,000. Other program topics include technology, communication, and reasoning, all of which prove useful in speechwriting, management, and information technology careers.
What Can I Do with an Online Paralegal Bachelor’s Degree?
Paralegal degrees prepare learners to explore legal processes before, during, and outside of court hearings. Graduates, however, can also pursue careers in other fields because of the skills they develop in research, client interaction, organization, and administrative tasks. Each potential career includes distinct responsibilities and average earnings, some of which we outline in the upcoming sections.
Skills and Knowledge Gained
A top bachelor's degree in paralegal studies educates students on multiple types of law, such as immigration law, cyber law, environmental law, and health law. Paralegal graduates should understand the legal system for entry-level positions in the industry. Bachelor's degrees also prepare learners to pursue advanced law degrees for higher-level positions.
A bachelor of paralegal studies often addresses categories of law that relate to careers outside of legal professions. Consequently, learners should choose programs with coursework that complements their personal interests. For example, a candidate who wants to work in real estate should select a degree that explores property law and real estate legality.
Students can also prepare for nonlegal careers through elective courses. A student interested in cyber law can take technological courses as electives, while a student pursuing a career in environmental law may take elective coursework in environmental protection. This degree personalization allows paralegal students in the same program to prepare for different careers outside of the legal discipline.
Candidates can pursue a minor in addition to a bachelor's degree in paralegal studies online. Students looking to pursue a career in immigration law can minor in a second language, and this supplementary area may appear on the learner's transcripts and degree. This method, then, allows future employees to quickly recognize the secondary level of expertise by looking at the applicant's credentials.
Students can also participate in internships that relate to their preferred industry, particularly if the bachelor's curriculum includes fieldwork. Through these experiences, students can work toward an accredited bachelor's in paralegal studies while building networking connections and experience for other professions.
Students who consider different career options before entering a paralegal bachelor's program can select a degree that uniquely suits their needs.
Careers and Salary Potential
Classes in paralegal programs touch on outside disciplines like healthcare, business, technology, finance, political science, and communication. This course diversity makes the paralegal degree applicable to careers in various industries, each with its own salary expectations, growth potential, and responsibilities. Students should explore possible careers to determine which profession fits their interests and then select a program with curriculum that complements their choice.
The following legal subfields highlight prospective careers for paralegal graduates:
- Legal Services: A bachelor's in paralegal studies covers many legal concepts. For instance, one program may cover civil litigation, personal injury law, real estate law, and laws related to wills and trusts. This diversity prepares graduates to perform legal tasks for a variety of clients.
- Government: Paralegal studies coursework covers diverse topics relating to legislative and administrative functions, which prepares students for work in the public sector.
- Finance and Insurance: A paralegal studies curriculum often includes bankruptcy law and legal guidance on personal assets, such as estate laws. Students may also explore legal ideas about labor, employment, and contracts that is relevant to work in the finance and insurance industry.
Paralegals and Legal Assistants
Annual Median Salary: $50,410
These workers assist attorneys, pre-trial, by maintaining files, researching laws, creating documents, and managing evidence. They also help with presentational materials during the trial and make records of court proceedings.
Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators
Annual Median Salary: $60,670
These professionals help people resolve legal issues outside of the courtroom. This process involves organizing meetings, researching relevant laws, and creating settlement agreements.
Annual Median Salary: $59,564
Contract specialists find the best financial avenues for obtaining products and services. Tasks include overseeing contract bids, negotiating lower prices, encouraging professional relationships with product/labor deliverers, writing contracts, and dealing with legal breaches.
Annual Median Salary: $42,243
Legal assistants help attorneys by reviewing evidence, drafting documents, and managing interviews. These professionals may also perform administrative duties at law offices and deliver relevant research for cases.
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