How Do You Become a Paralegal in the US?

Woman working with a laptopThere’s a long list of benefits in becoming a paralegal. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts its demand to reach 15% until 2026. It grows much faster than other types of occupations. The 2017 median pay was over $50,000.

There are many opportunities for professional growth, and paralegals work not only in law firms. They can be in banks, armed forces, and other industries. It’s also one of the fastest ways to proceed to a law degree. The question is, how do you become a paralegal?

The Pathways to Being a Paralegal

Those who want to become a paralegal can choose among the different education programs. These can include associate’s, bachelor’s, and masters.

An associate’s degree can last for about a year while the bachelor’s degree can reach four years. The advantage of the latter is the chance to land a full-time job. You may not need to undergo an internship to start an entry-level work.

When you want to specialize in a field, such as corporate, you can proceed to a master’s degree. You may need to spend one or two years to complete this.

Like any other program, becoming a paralegal requires commitment. It might be difficult to do so when you have a job. What you can do is to enroll in online paralegal degrees. You can learn at your own pace and anywhere.

Materials come in various forms, such as DVDs, online lectures, and Internet quizzes. You will still receive the certificate you’re looking forward to.

Getting Certification

In some cases, you may work as a paralegal even without the education requirements. It illustrates the strong demand for the job. But if you want a more stable career, you need to supplement your learning. You should also obtain certification.

It means taking an exam, such as the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (PACE). It’s one of the most popular types of certifications. Businesses, therefore, are more likely to recognize it quickly. Note, though; there’s no limit on the number of certifications or exams you can take.

Whether you’re looking for a new career or like to learn more about the law, paralegal work is what you need. Choose the path you want to pursue today.