The Complete Guide
How to Become a Paralegal
Saving time and money on your certification online
Why We Love Paralegal
What if you could work in the legal field, helping clients get the counsel they need but you didn’t have to spend years in law school or take the Bar exam? What if instead you could begin this rewarding career in as little as 6 months?
A paralegal performs a variety of very important tasks for the lawyers they work with. Whether they work in a private firm, a government agency or within a corporate legal department, these professionals are the backbone of the legal industry. It’s no wonder demand for paralegals is booming!
If you think you have what it takes to become a paralegal, then keep reading to discover what this exciting career offers!
What Do Paralegals Do?
Paralegals help attorneys prepare for trials, hearings and corporate meetings.
Depending on the size of the firm and the industry they work in, the daily tasks can vary. But some of the general tasks they handle include:
- Conducting research on laws, legal articles and regulations
- Organizing and presenting information
- Maintaining data related to cases in computer databases
- Writing reports to prepare for trials
- Investigating facts of a case
- Drafting correspondence and documents such as contracts and mortgages
- Obtaining formal statements and affidavits
So let’s say you are working in a large, private law firm and they have assigned you to work on one specific case. You may spend your morning reaching out to witnesses to obtain formal statements regarding the case. In the afternoon you may spend an hour or two conducting some research on one particular facet of the case. Before you end your day, you enter new information you’ve gathered into the database so the attorneys have it at their disposal.
No two days are ever the same and the work you do is exciting and rewarding. Add to this the fact that demand for paralegals is booming and you begin to understand why so many people are drawn to this career path.
5 Reasons to Become a Paralegal
Here are top 5 reasons you should consider a career as a Paralegal:
1. No Prior Experience is Needed
Unlike other careers in law, you don’t need any prior experience or degree to begin your certification program. You could start towards a career as a paralegal in just 6 months.
2. Market Demand
As we already mentioned, there is a growing demand for paralegals so you have job security.
3. Competitive Salary
You’ll be happy to know that your starting salary as a paralegal is very good. How good? We’ll talk specifics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics in just a bit, so keep reading!
4. Great Launching Pad
A lot of people think they want to become a lawyer, so they put themselves through expensive law school, take the incredibly challenging Bar exam, work a few years in the industry, only to realize the career just isn’t for them. Becoming a paralegal is a great way to work in the industry and test the waters to see if a career as a lawyer may be in your future.
If you’re one of those people who would be bored out of your mind sitting in a cubicle doing the same old thing every day, then a career as a paralegal may be a great option. No two days are ever alike. In a single day you can find yourself conducting research, meeting with clients, and in the courtroom helping your legal team. You’ll always be busy, challenged and never bored!
How to Get a Paralegal Certification
Whether you work in a private law firm, an insurance office or a large corporation’s legal department, employers typically require candidates to hold certification and demonstrate their abilities to land a job in the field. So a certification may be the best way to get started in this exciting new career.
We recommend you take our certification savings quiz to get started.
Our quiz could help you save time and money on a certification program from an authorized school or accredited university – and it takes less than a couple minutes to complete.
5 Things to Look for In A Certification Program
1. Find an online Paralegal program from an authorized school or accredited university
Certification is invaluable and something that will help set you apart from other candidates.
2. Look for a discount, no upfront payment, and a low monthly payment plan
Don’t have an unlimited budget to put towards your education? No problem! That’s why OnlineDegree.com has made it our mission to help adult learners get huge discounts toward their certification!
3. Make sure an externship placement is included
Employers are not only looking for skills and education, but also for someone that has some hands-on experience in the field.
4. Look for an online, mentor supported course you can take at your own pace
An online education helps adult students learn at their own pace and on their own schedule.
5. Find out if textbooks are included in the cost of the program
Textbooks can be expensive! Make sure to find a program that doesn’t charge extra for books.
6. (Bonus!) Use our free quiz to find a certification program that meets all of this criteria
You can either research schools yourself or save time by using our healthcare quiz to get matched with the best certification programs. All programs meet this criteria and are chosen for you based on your career goals and life situation.
Paralegal Salary Data
How much do Paralegals make? Here is the salary and growth data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):
The median annual wage for paralegals was $51,740 in May 2019. This number is affected by a few different factors namely location, experience and certification. The industry you work in also plays a role in salary. For instance, paralegals working within the federal government had an annual salary of $67,080 in 2019, while those working in the insurance industry had an annual wage of $64,190.
Paralegal Job Growth Projections and Forecast
How fast is the Paralegal field growing? According to the BLS, employment of paralegals is projected to grow 12% from 2018 to 2028, which is a lot faster than the average for all occupations.
Law firms are always looking for ways to increase efficiency while reducing costs, and bringing on paralegals, instead of hiring more attorneys to pick up the slack, is one way to do this. In addition, many more large corporations are also increasing their in-house legal departments to cut costs. So demand for paralegals is definitely on the rise.
While job prospects are good across the board, those candidates who hold certification should have the easiest time landing a job. Luckily we can connect you with authorized schools or accredited universities that offer this training!
How to Find a Job as a Paralegal
Your first step toward your career as a paralegal is to complete the certification training program through an authorized school or accredited university. This will ensure a solid educational foundation and get you ready to enter the job market.
Next, you’ll want to determine what setting you’d like to work in. While many paralegals work in private law firms, they can also work in federal government agencies, real estate and insurance agencies, NGOs, large corporations and for judges. So it’s important to do some thinking about where your skills and personality might be the best fit.
Once you’ve determined your preferred work setting, your next step is to gain some critical hands-on experience before starting your job search. The good news is a quality certification program will include an externship so you can gain some hands-on experience!
Frequently Asked Questions
Additional questions and answers you may have about Paralegals.
Q: What Does a Paralegal Do Every Day?
A: Paralegals conduct important tasks for the lawyers they work with. Responsibilities will be based on who they work for and the kind of legal services offered by their employer. Some common responsibilities are:
- Offering behind-the-scenes support in the courtroom at hearings and trials
- Drafting legal documents including deposition notices, subpoenas, motions, certifications, contracts, briefs, and complaints
- Investigating the facts of a case and interviewing clients and witnesses
- Organizing and managing files, documents, and exhibits
- Filing documents with federal and state courts
Q: What is a Paralegal Certification?
A: This certification is a valuable asset to have as it shows prospective employers that you have the skills and knowledge to be a valuable asset on their team. This certification will help you stand apart from the crowd and hopefully get your resume to the top of the pile!
Q: What Skills Will I Learn in Paralegal Training?
A: You will get a primer in legal research and legal writing. You will also study topics such as tort law, civil law, and will & trusts and more!
Q: What Are the Prerequisites for Enrollment in a Certificate Program?
A: The only requirement for enrollment in these programs is a high school diploma or equivalent.
How to Start Towards a Paralegal Career In 6 Months
Even if you don’t have any prior experience or degree – you could start towards a career as a paralegal in just 6 months! That’s one of the greatest advantages of this profession.
So here’s what we recommend you do to get started: Take this quiz to see if you qualify for an online certification program from an authorized school or accredited university.
A veterinary technician certification is required or preferred by most employers. Plus, taking a certification program could be the best way to get your foot in the door, build your network, get training, and work experience.
Take this quiz to see if you qualify for:
- 10% Off A Certification Program From An authorized school or Accredited University
- An Externship For Real Work Experience
- $0 Upfront Tuition and Low Monthly Payments
- A FREE Laptop To Take The Course If You Don’t Have One
- No Extra Cost For Textbooks – All Included and Shipped To Your Door
- Online, Mentor Supported Courses You Can Take 24/7 At Your Own Pace
If you are ready to get started on an exciting and rewarding career in law, then take this short quiz to get started toward your dream!