What Are the Types of Paralegal Degree and Certificate Programs?

Paralegal programs provide students with the opportunity to make a good living in the legal field without having to go through an expensive law school experience. Students who want to become paralegals must understand the various options at their disposal. There are many different programs that can lead a person into the paralegal field, and each of these programs has advantages. From associate degree programs to graduate programs and certificates, students can choose the paralegal degree path that works best for their budget.

Associate Degree Programs Provide A Quick Solution

Some students do not have the time to invest in a full, four-year university. For these people, associate of arts degree programs offer a paralegal focus. Associate degrees are cost-effective, and they generally have fewer of the general education requirements that make four-year programs less cost-effective. On the associate degree track, a student will only have to complete around 70 hours, and most of those hours will be directly related to paralegal training. This is a great option for people who want to learn while they are working a full-time job, and it’s good enough to give you a leg up on paralegal jobs at most firms.

Bachelor Degree Programs For Prestigious Firm Opportunities

If you want to work at large firms, where the salaries are higher and the hours are longer, you might invest in a four-year degree. Many universities offer students the opportunity to choose a paralegal studies major. As the NALA notes, many colleges provide the opportunity to specialize in paralegal studies within another major. No matter which of these options you choose, you will learn the skills that are needed to be a paralegal at a major firm. You will learn how to research, and you will learn how to use modern technology in the legal setting. This can improve your earning capacity and give you the ability to advance in the field. Some white shoe law firms will only hire people who have studied in a four-year university.

Master’s Degree Programs To Learn Specialized Skills

For people who want to learn how to make the best use of technology, a master’s degree program might be the best option. In these programs, you will go beyond the basic education that paralegals get. You may come out with knowledge of modern video technology, and you would ideally be able to step right into a law firm without much trouble. Many firms will pay for their paralegals to get a graduate degree if that degree will benefit the firm. This is an option to consider for those who are serious about turning their paralegal job into a career.

Certificate Programs To Get Started

For people who don’t have the time or money to go to school, certificate programs are a good option. These are good options for people who have already gotten a college degree in another field, and they are commonly offered through community colleges and technical schools. These certificates can give you an opportunity at a small law firm.

Many paralegal degree options exist for people who are serious about the field. Whether you want to spend time at a university or you just need a bit of training, you can find some program to get started. Choosing the right program depends upon your funding, your availability, and your career goals.