Becoming a paralegal is not as dauting as you may think.
In fact, given the salary paralegals enjoy through the course of their careers, more people should really consider this high paying and always in demand profession.
This article will show you how long it takes to become a paralegal, how to prepare for this career path as well as key insights for specific states requirements.
What does a paralegal do?
Paralegals work requires a good understanding of the Law even though they cannot practice law.
They have a critical support role for the attorneys who they work with in a team effort to satisfy their clients.
To give you an idea of some of the tasks performed by paralegals, here is a non-exhaustive table.
|Preparing contracts, wills, mortgages and case documents||Drafting motions, writings reports or plea deals|
|Background Research on attorney cases||Briefing attorney on the facts of a case|
|Documents gathering and organization||Interviews with witnesses and clients|
|Legal cases research to find precedent||Communication Interface between attorney and Clients|
Paralegals are in high demand
I often look at the professions around law as an evergreen industry.
This is because when there is a conflict between two parties, lawyers are involved.
That tis how most people think of the law.
However, lawyers are always needed in good times for merge r and acquisitions for instance, a living will or any business transaction that require legal documents.
Therefore, it is not a surprise that as of 2022, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that paralegal profession will grow 12% through 2030.
Such a rise is much higher than the national average.
How long does it take to become a paralegal
Your path to become a paralegal depends on your current starting point.
For most paralegals, an associate degree in paralegal studies will take two years after your high school diploma.
The next level of entry is with a bachelor’s degree in legal studies which will take you four years to complete. More and more employees in this field are making this a requirement.
Lastly, if you already hold a bachelor’s degree, you should consider a master’s degree in legal studies (MLs). Several schools offer Online Master of Legal Studies program that take between 12 months and 16 months in average according to our analysis of such programs.
Here is a summary table of how many years it takes to become a paralegal as a function of your current education level.
|If you currently have a High School Diploma||if you currently hold a high school diploma||if you currently hold a bachelor’s degree|
|Degree to become a paralegal||Associate Degree in paralegal studies||Bachelor’s degree in legal studies||Master’s degree in legal studies|
|Years to become a paralegal||2 years||4 years||12 -16 months|
Paralegal certificate vs degree
A paralegal certificate is the document that you will receive after completion of one of the three degree we mentioned above.
Getting a paralegal certification is not a requirement to get a job in this field.
However, it will go a long way in demonstrating your expertise.
Often, organization that offer paralegal certifications may require that the candidates maintain a continuous level of education.
How long does it take to get a paralegal degree?
We learned that it could take you as little as one year to get a paralegal degree (Master of Legal studies)
or as many as 4 years if you are starting with a high school diploma and want to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Legal studies.
The above 5-step process showcases the full path to becoming a profession in the field of paralegals which can land you a job in law firms, nonprofit organizations and even governmental agencies.
How much does it cost to become a paralegal?
How long does it take to become a paralegal in California?
The duration of your education to become a paralegal is really not regulated at the national level.
A few states such as California, Florida, Texas and Utah may have a few requirements.
However, your potential employers will decide on what you need to become one of their supporting staff members.
How to become a paralegal in California
- Potential candidates need a paralegal certificate from a school approved by the American Bar Association (ABA)
- Complete some semester hours in paralegal studies from an institution accredited by the State of California
As you can see, the first requirement is not much of a big deal because any of the three degrees mentioned above provide you with a paralegal certificate already.
Furthermore, if you obtain your paralegal certificate from a school located in California, you have a high probability of fulfilling the second requirement as well.
Typically, people who may hold foreign degrees are the ones who must start from the initial steps when trying to become a paralegal in California.
How long does it take to become a paralegal in Texas?
In Texas, there exists a Paralegal entity within the State bar of Texas and certification is voluntary through the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
The timeline we provided earlier do not differ that much in Texas.
It is always a good idea to check updated information as the law
How long does it take to become a paralegal in Florida?
No minimum requirements needed in the State of Florida.
The best practice when looking for a job as a paralegal is to ask the hiring company of the requirements before you apply.
Quick Facts on Paralegals and Legal Assistants
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
- 2021 Median Pay: $56,230 per year | per hour
Hold a Master Degree in Electrical engineering from Texas A&M University.
African born – French Raised and US matured who speak 5 languages.
Active Stock Options Trader and Coach since 2014.
Most Swing Trade weekly Options and Specialize in 10-Baggers !
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/SuccessfulTradings
Other Website: https://237answersblog.com/
Twitter: (1) Successful Tradings (@GangstaTrades) / Twitter