Online Paralegal Degree Programs

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BASICS OF ONLINE PARALEGAL DEGREES

Paralegals primarily serve in a support role to lawyers. However, their help is often critical to a successful outcome in a case. While much of their work consists of organizing files and conducting legal research, a great portion is also spent doing the exact things lawyers do every day. They look for the facts of certain cases, while studying relevant laws and regulations. They write reports for review and prep for lawyers trials, and they draft legal documents – such as contracts – among other things.

Here are some things to consider when you choose an online paralegal program:

  • Professional paralegals do not require any specific certification for hire. However, a certain level of education is often demanded by employers, according to the U.S. BLS.
  • There are often three routes to becoming a paralegal. Some pursue paralegal studies, receiving an associate’s, bachelor’s or even master’s degree before seeking employment. But, others pursue a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field and may pursue a cert in paralegal studies. Finally, some go for a job with no experience, choosing to receive on the job training instead.
  • There are some local and national organizations that offer paralegal certifications for individuals that pass an exam or meet certain educational or experiential criteria.
  • Before you sign up for online courses, make sure the work you do preps you for certain exams and consider reaching out to possible future employers to inquire about the value of an online degree in regards to the professionals they hire.
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IS AN ONLINE PARALEGAL DEGREE PROGRAM FOR YOU?

With online paralegal schooling, you may learn what it takes to pursue a career prepping lawyers for trial, conducting legal research and constructing legal documents. Moreover, online programs often allow students to learn at their own pace and on their own time. This ensures that the subject matter can be analyzed thoroughly and that your schedule can be matched to suit your needs.

WHAT DO ONLINE PARALEGAL DEGREE PROGRAM COURSES LOOK LIKE?

Whether you are looking for an entry level job or to advance your career, a paralegal degree will give you the tools you need to increase your experience as well as your potential to earn more. This degree can help get you ready for many different careers in the field, such as a legal or admin assistant. And, because there are a wide range of roles and careers in this field, you can find a job that is a good fit for your interests, skills and income goals.

Some common courses include:

Intro to Paralegal Studies: This intro course may cover the basics of the paralegal role. You could study things from common tasks to ethical duties.

Paralegal Real Estate Law: Paralegals often have to do special tasks when real estate is bought and sold. This course could cover the laws and methods you need to know!

Criminal Law: Paralegals may need to know local, state and federal laws that deal with crime. This course could delve into these laws, how to apply them, and how they’re enforced.

Employment Law: This course may be all about the relationship between workers and the companies that hire them. You could learn both the key laws in this field and the paralegal’s role.

Juvenile Justice: Learn how young offenders are handled in the justice system. This course may explore police courts, probation, and how to prevent youth crime.

PARALEGAL CAREER PATHS AND POTENTIAL SALARIES

While you may assume the natural path for a paralegal is a future in law school and to become a lawyer – and while this may not be far from the truth – there are other career paths that may be open after taking online courses to pursue a career as a paralegal. Consider these options with stats compiled by the BLS.

PARALEGALS AND LEGAL ASSISTANTS

These pros are charged with helping lawyers in any way necessary for upcoming court cases. While they cannot practice law, they compile research, draft documents, organize files, gather and arrange evidence and do anything else that is needed to assist other legal pros.

According to 2020 BLS data:

Median Salary: $51,740 per year

Job Growth Through 2029: 10% (Much faster than average)

Typical Entry level Education: Associate’s Degree

ARBITRATORS, MEDIATORS, AND CONCILIATORS

Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators facilitate negotiation and dialogue between disputing parties to help resolve conflicts outside of the court system.

According to 2020 BLS data:

Median Salary: $63,930 per year

Job Growth Through 2029: 8% (Faster than average)

Typical Entry level Education: Bachelor’s Degree

SECRETARIES AND ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANTS

Secretaries and admin assistants perform many similar tasks. However, there normally is not a focus on the law. Instead, they organize schedules, files, draft messages and perform other duties to assist the pros they work for. Duties often vary by employer.

According to 2020 BLS data:

Median Salary: $38,880 per year

Job Growth Through 2029: -9% (Decline)

Typical Entry level Education: High School Diploma or equivalent

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Sources for school statistics is the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

Disclosure: EducationDynamics receives compensation for the featured schools on our websites (see “Sponsored Schools” or “Sponsored Listings” or “Sponsored Results”).  So what does this mean for you? Compensation may impact where the Sponsored Schools appear on our websites, including whether they appear as a match through our education matching services tool, the order in which they appear in a listing, and/or their ranking.  Our websites do not provide, nor are they intended to provide, a comprehensive list of all schools (a) in the United States (b) located in a specific geographic area or (c) that offer a particular program of study.  By providing information or agreeing to be contacted by a Sponsored School, you are in no way obligated to apply to or enroll with the school.

This is an offer for educational opportunities, not an offer for nor a guarantee of employment. Students should consult with a representative from the school they select to learn more about career opportunities in that field. Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific program curriculum. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. The financial aid information on this site is for informational and research purposes only and is not an assurance of financial aid.

1 You must apply for a new loan each school year. This approval percentage is based on students with a Sallie Mae undergraduate loan in the 2018/19 school year who were approved when they returned in 2019/20. It does not include the denied applications of students who were ultimately approved in 2019/20.

2 This promotional benefit is provided at no cost to borrowers with new loans that disburse between May 1, 2021 and April 30, 2022. Borrowers are not eligible to activate the benefit until July 1, 2021. Borrowers who reside in, attend school in, or borrow for a student attending school in Maine are not eligible for this benefit. Chegg Study® offers expert Q&A where students can submit up to 20 questions per month. No cash value. Terms and Conditions apply. Please visit http://www.chegg.com/legal/smtermsandconditions for complete details. This offer expires one year after issuance.