The fast growing field of legal assistant and paralegal is opening many doors for new people to enter the legal world. However, this growth also has some of you wanting to jump into the field as quickly as possible, capitalizing on a solid base pay rate in the $30,000 range - a great starting pay for many people in our challenging economy today. This desire to run out and start working quickly has some people considering fast paced paralegal classes that can get them out of school and into the job market quickly. This begs the question, is a paralegal bachelors degree online really necessary?
To Degree or Not to Degree
Simply put, a paralegal bachelors degree online is not a requirements for most paralegal jobs. In fact, most paralegals have a simple two year associate's degree and are doing just fine in their chosen field. Actually, some people think that to become a paralegal online degrees are worthless; you need just drive and experience. As being a paralegal is mostly a research based job, any program that gives you the basic research and writing skills necessary will provide ample foundation for you to build your skills and work your way steadily up the career ladder. Of course, this website is about learning, and as such we obviously value learning; as a college professor I would like to see everyone earn a degree and I feel that education is never a waste. But I have to admit that, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, most working paralegals have only a certificate or associate's degree. And while a paralegal bachelors degree online can help you make more money initially, in the end it seems to be experience and skill that is the biggest factor in how successful you can be as a paralegal.
Do Your Own research and Learn that Certifications Can Help
Now, I have just written that you do not have to have a paralegal bachelors degree to get a good legal assistant job. However, this is a generalization and it can vary depending upon the area of law you wish to work and the type of practice you want to assist in. So, before you embark on a simple paralegal certification program do some research on specific jobs in your area. Check Monster.com or other job search sites, even call around to law firms that you know you are interested in, and ask if they have a minimum education requirement for applicants. Also, ask if they require certifications. Read more about how you can become personally certified as a legal assistant or paralegal in our article, "How Much Money Can You Earn with Online Paralegal Degrees?" These certifications can be impressive on your resume.
So, What Do I Do?
Well, we already told you to conduct the research - that is the most important step, to understand what the employers in your area will want to see on your resume. After that, it is up to you to decide what seems to best fit your personality and ambitions. If you know that you want to make a lifelong career out of being a paralegal, a paralegal bachelors degree is probably a good starting point. But, if this is just something you are doing temporarily, or perhaps while you study to become a lawyer, then just start working as quickly as you can.
What do they tell you is the minimum education required to be a paralegal?