In today’s society, the criminal justice field is a popular choice for many people wanting to work in the legal community. There are a variety of jobs in the field, such as paralegals. Paralegals work closely with lawyers and other professionals providing legal services in both private and public divisions. Many individuals wanting to work in the legal fields often inquire if a paralegal is a good career choice.
Availability of Paralegal Education Programs
Since paralegal is a popular major, a wide array of institutions of higher learning offer paralegal training programs. The programs are typically offered at the certificate, associate degree, and bachelor’s degree levels, but some schools may also offer graduate degree programs. Many programs are accredited by the American Bar Association. The association guarantees that the paralegal programs meet high standards to provide students with quality and comprehensive education to prepare them for future careers. No certifications are required to work as a paralegal so graduates are able to quickly enter the career.
Positive Job Outlook
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the employment of paralegals is projected to rise by 18 percent by the year 2020, bringing nearly 47,000 new positions. This growth rate is deemed as fast as average for all careers. The demand for more paralegals is expected due to companies striving to reduce costs and enhance the effectiveness of legal services. Paralegals will likely find the most job opportunities with law firms and major corporations. Other top employers include government organizations, medical facilities, and collection agencies. The job prospects should be good, especially for paralegals with advanced training and significant work experience. Those who specialize in a specific area will also experience excellent job options.
The median yearly salary for paralegals is around $48,000, with the top 10 percent earning more than $60,000 and the lowest 10 percent making under $36,000. Actual wages for paralegals varies on many different factors, such as employer. Those working for large law firms will likely earn more than those working for government organizations. Education also influences salary, paralegals with bachelor’s degrees typically make at least $2,000 more a year than those with an associate degree. Other factors that influence salary include location, years experience, and size of company, specialty, and benefits.
Great Advancement Opportunities
Working as a paralegal offers a variety of opportunities for advancements. Individuals who decide to specialize in certain type of law, such as corporate law or family law, are able to apply for certification administered by the National Association of Legal Assistants. These credentials assist paralegals in advancing to higher positions. Some paralegals are offered management positions that involve more responsibility within a company. Paralegals have the ability to demonstrate their abilities as leaders and managers in a variety of situations. Additionally, some paralegals utilize their experience working in for a law firm or large corporation as a springboard for acceptance to law school.
The availability of paralegal education, positive job outlook, lucrative salary, and advancement opportunities are examples of why a paralegal is a good career choice. Individuals who are sure they will enjoy a job in the legal field should consider taking the steps to become a paralegal.