Paralegal Schooling and Certification; Required in Today's Economy
The paralegal sector enjoys a strong job outlook, and while there is a lot of truth to that outlook, there will be a lot of competition for those seeking employment as paralegals (US Dept of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics). Although a legal assistant or paralegal is carefully defined as someone qualified through work experience to assistant an attorney, there is currently relatively little regulation of paralegals in the United States. That lack of regulation, together with the high income potential, drives competition in the niche to ever higher levels.
Opportunities abound for those who are in position to take advantage of them, and a strong résumé is key to being able to do so. It's interesting to note that CareerCast® ranked 200 different jobs based on stress, work environment, physical demands, income, and general outlook, ranking attorneys as 82nd in that list, with federal judges ranking 69th. Those working as paralegal assistants fared significantly better, ranking at 17th – with court reporters not far behind at 28th.
Numerous opportunities exist for paralegals, both in general practice and in specialties such as immigration paralegals or nurse paralegals. With the exception of those who are well connected, applicants are well advised to obtain certificates or degrees attesting to their capabilities.
This web site will explore some of the educational opportunities which are available for those considering becoming a paralegal and those who seek to advance their position or earnings, as well as some of the opportunities for scholarships. Various schools and institutes will be discussed, giving consideration to the typical cost to attend and time needed to graduate or attain a certificate. Their locations will also be given further consideration with regard to the quality of life in the area – either as a student or as an employee. Some may be drawn to NYC, the city that never sleeps, others may be drawn to Washington DC, the political center of the United States, while still others will seek an education and employment in smaller venues.
Many institutions offer online (or ‘distance') learning opportunities which can drastically reduce commuting time and associated expenses, and which can facilitate child care for those with children. In addition, the ability to study at your own pace and to optimize small time slots in your schedule which would otherwise be wasted.
Other institutions offer only on-site programs or a combination of on-site and online learning opportunities. While on site classes may not be as time or cost efficient as online programs, they do offer students the opportunity to meet in person with their instructors, confer with fellow students, and take advantage of institute facilities which are not available online. If you're looking for an ABA approved paralegal course of study, you'll be spending some time on campus. At the present time, there are no fully online programs which are ABA approved, although there are some approved online courses.
Your time is valuable; we hope you will find this site valuable in your research for a new job, a new employer, or an improved position with your present employer. Join us as we begin researching various certificate programs and degrees offered at schools and institutes throughout the Midwest, the Northeast, the Southern states, and the Western states.
Consider the possibilities an education may hold for your future.