As many people can guess, the legal field is a growing one, with our extremely litigation prone society, combined with our complicated laws, creating a huge legal system that requires many people to keep it running at a variety of levels. In fact, the job of paralegal, an extremely interesting job in the field of law, is expected to grow tremendously over the coming years. People earning online paralegal degrees can get a great start on a lifelong career in law.
A Growing Field
When it comes to getting a job with an online degree, being a paralegal is a good choice. According to the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics, in 2008 more than 260,000 people were employed in the U.S. as paralegals and legal assistants. The Bureau expects this field to continue to grow, in fact growing by as much as 28% by the year 2018 - that means that nearly 350,000 people may work in this field by the end of this decade. Despite these staggering numbers, interest in legal assistant jobs means that competition will still be an issue. Thus, online paralegal degrees will become more important as assistants seek to develop their skills and set themselves apart from other applicants.
A Steady Job with Good Pay
As with most jobs, the exact pay of a paralegal depends upon the person's experience and skill, as well as their education and the company that they are working for. Most paralegals can expect to earn in the mid $30,000 range their first year on the job. Those working for the Federal Government can earn into the mid $50,000 range as their career progresses. While every job is different, most paralegals can expect to hit a pay ceiling in the $70,000 salary range. In fact, only the top ten percent of paralegals make over $70,000. But in large corporations and legal firms, if you have the experience, education and dedication, you can make a very good living as a paralegal.
Considering Online Paralegal Degrees
If you are really serious about a career as a legal assistant or paralegal, you should definitely look into online paralegal degrees. In a competitive market the right degree can both give you the skills to do well and the education to stand above the rest of the applicants. Furthermore, while many employers do not require a specific degree or any certifications for their paralegals, many are beginning to. Earning a certification could help you land a better job or simply get hired faster. When we talk about certification here we are not talking about the degree program you choose, but rather passing a personal certification.
What is a Paralegal Certification?
When considering online paralegal degrees you should really look at accredited degree programs, those with regional accreditation or which are accredited by the American Bar Association. Also, you should look for programs that will prepare you for personal accreditation. Many companies now prefer their paralegals to take an exam to become certified. The three most common certification organizations are the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) 2-day exam, the American Alliance of Paralegals', Inc., certification called the American Alliance Certified Paralegal (AACP) credential, and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations' (NFPA) Registered Paralegal (RP) designation.
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