Attending a good paralegal degree program can give your career the boost needed to break into or advance within the exciting legal profession. Whether at the associate’s, bachelor’s, or even master’s level, good paralegal programs will allow you to build the essential knowledge in law office administration, justice studies, criminal law, legal research, civil litigation, and professional ethics to help lawyers prepare for their trials. In fact, paralegal degrees can often provide the added qualifications for moving into the role of paralegal manager to handle the workflow, recruiting, training, and budgeting for the law firm. If you are starting your search, below are the top factors that you should look out for when choosing a good paralegal degree.
First and foremost, it is critical that you choose a reputable paralegal program that has been given the stamp of approval by the American Bar Association (ABA) for meeting their strict curriculum guidelines. Although there are around 600 paralegal degrees offered around the United States, only around 180 have been approved by the ABA, so placing this degree on your resume will likely help you stand out. Since life is too short to waste valuable time and effort in an unapproved program, make sure you focus in on schools that have been reviewed by the ABA to help facilitate the process of certification.
It goes without saying that a good paralegal degree program should be delivered by an expert, dedicated faculty with years of experience in the legal profession. Great paralegal programs should also provide students with a multitude of educational resources that will help them excel, such as a legal library, a writing center, career services, and computer labs. Whether you are planning to attend an on-campus or online paralegal program, do your research about the technologies utilized to organize classes to make certain there is a high level of student engagement and success. Only choose a paralegal degree that offers the content, instruction style, teaching format, and support services for meeting your own individual learning needs.
In the end, law firms and other employers of paralegals are the key to validating whether a paralegal degree is good or worthless. Therefore, it is suggested that you check with a school’s job placement rates to ensure you will be receiving paralegal training that will stand up in the job market. After narrowing down your choices, you may also want to speak with attorneys in your local area to gain their opinions about your prospective programs prior to enrollment. Look for paralegal degrees that integrate internships as well because gaining hands-on experience in the law field will definitely boost employability down the road.
Overall, the paralegal profession has been one of the fastest-growing in the United States for the past decade and will likely continue to be as employment is predicted to skyrocket by 17% before 2022. As a result, graduates from solid paralegal programs will be in higher demand to increase the efficiency of legal services and lower client billing costs. Choosing a good paralegal degree program with the above criteria is the best way to jumpstart a legal career, escalate your salary potential, and expand your job opportunities within the exciting world of law.