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paralegal associate degree

Paralegal Associate Degree

completing an partner’s degree in paralegal studies may be the first step toward a career inside the tough felony subject. paralegals, additionally known as prison assistants, normally paintings as a part of legal groups and assist with research, interviewing, management, and preparation. at the same time as there aren’t any formal necessities to end up a paralegal, an partner’s degree provides a wide basis of wellknown education topics, such as communications and english, in addition to legal systems. the specified paralegal content in an accomplice’s degree application does not vary substantially from that of a foundational paralegal certificate. as a substitute, the companion’s degree curriculum consists of greater standard education necessities which might be vital to hold to paralegal research at the bachelor’s diploma level and beyond. the paralegal associate’s diploma takes about two years to complete.

paralegals can discover work in a variety of environments but usually paintings in private felony corporations beneath the supervision of legal professionals as paralegals are prohibited from supplying criminal recommendation themselves. according to the bureau of exertions statistics, paralegals earned an average income of $49,500 and a mean revenue of $fifty three,a hundred and eighty in 2016.1,2 growth inside the paralegal job market become projected at 8% through 2024, which was common compared to other forms of professions inside the u.s.a..1

Admission Requirements

the minimal admission requirement for paralegal partner applications is most customarily a high school diploma or equivalent. a foundational paralegal certificate or preceding post-secondary education is not required. some colleges can also offer transfer credit for general or paralegal coursework completed at some other institution, which include  paralegal certificate program. colleges may require a minimal grade point average (gpa) of three.0 or higher, however the gpa requirement varies for every college. a minimal gpa is also required once a student is formally admitted into the paralegal software for guides completed towards the diploma. candidates typically want to publish excessive faculty transcripts, software forms, a statement of reason, and letters of recommendation from teachers or employers.

Core Concepts and Coursework

direction topics range in associate degree packages in paralegal research. maximum packages would require a few foundational standard schooling coursework in english, math or technology, and communications to fulfill preferred university degree requirements. for the paralegal most important content, some establishments offer the equal guides as their paralegal certificate programs while others may additionally provide a extra breadth of paralegal subjects and electives to associate diploma students. it is always an amazing idea to test course services when you have a selected location of interest. some examples of required publications in paralegal partner diploma applications encompass:

  • advent to regulation
  • us prison structures
  • paralegal research
  • felony ethics
  • organizational law
  • contracts, torts, and wills
  • commercial enterprise communications
  • estate regulation
  • advanced prison studies
  • work experience/internship

Paralegal Associate Degree Learning Goals

1. Understand of the roles and responsibilities of the paralegal profession.

paralegals work with clients, lawyers, and other legal and administrative professionals on a day by day foundation. paralegal associate degree programs put together new graduates to work as a part of this professional team by using developing and applying their prison talents.

2. Gather and analyze detailed information.

every legal case is specific and requires a custom designed approach; consequently, paralegal college students discover ways to acquire statistics through various studies and interview approaches. college students also learn how to investigate related cases and develop creative arguments in collaboration with the prison team.

3. Gain hands-on experience in a legal environment.

many partner diploma applications in paralegal studies offer internship or paintings placement possibilities. this “actual international” experience helps students practice lecture room know-how beneath the steerage of an skilled mentor.

Traditional Paralegal Associate’s Degree Programs

many colleges provide on-campus paralegal partner diploma applications. codecs, observe options, and route topics vary so be sure to test path records in case you are interested by a particular location of law. we have provided statistics on several programs that are accredited with the aid of the yankee bar association (aba) and offer foundational coursework for individuals with out a earlier paralegal enjoy.

Essex County College (Newark, NJ)

Essex County College gives an aba-accredited partner in technology (as) in paralegal research that may be completed on a full-time or component-time basis. this system teaches students about the role of a paralegal inside the legal machine and the essential competencies to begin a profession in various regions of law. the program calls for sixty three-sixty six credits and can be completed in two years or less if taking summer time publications. up to 15 credit can be transferred from a comparable, aba-approved software. college students take standard education and foundational paralegal guides in the first yr and specialized paralegal publications inside the 2nd 12 months. some examples of course titles consist of advent to law for paralegals, contracts, and administrative regulation. at the same time as the university does no longer provide a bachelor’s degree in paralegal research, this as diploma does goal to put together college students to pursue better education inside the future if preferred.

Chattanooga Community College (Chattanooga, TN)

At Chattanooga Community College, college students can earn an aba-approved accomplice of applied technology (aas) in paralegal studies in years of full-time observe. college students whole 60 credit throughout more than a few disciplines, including english, politics, felony research, and technology; but, at the least 36 credits need to be finished within the paralegal foremost. paralegal route topics consist of prison ethics, legal research, and litigation abilities. the direction shape follows the semester model with courses supplied in fall, spring, and summer time phrases. this application may appeal to students who plan to finish a bachelor’s degree as the college has a 2+2 settlement with the university of tennessee at chattanooga’s prison assisting program. the college additionally gives a 21-credit put up-baccalaureate paralegal certificate open to applicants who already have a bachelor’s diploma in any situation.

Spokane Community College (Spokane, WA)

The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) – Legal Administrative Assistant program at Spokane Community College prepares graduates to perform an expansion of functions as part of a criminal crew. the school follows a quarter calendar and students need to complete 95-103 zone credit to graduate with this aba-authorised degree. start dates are offered in the fall, winter, and spring. this system may be completed in as little as 18 months via complete-time examine even though no longer all guides are provided every 12 months. students are recommended to meet with instructional advisors prior to selecting courses to make certain they complete this system in a timely way. required courses include introduction to regulation, law office approaches and generation, and criminal ethics. specialised electives consist of principles of accounting, creation to probate, and employment regulation. college students ought to additionally complete a work revel in. most lessons are presented within the evenings to house working professionals. it is also viable to organize an internship as a part of this system. the college also offers a certificate application to college students who’ve already completed an accomplice’s or bachelor’s diploma in paralegal studies.

Online Paralegal Associate’s Degree Programs

if you are working or have a busy time table, you may be interested in completing your complete paralegal accomplice’s degree on-line or via a hybrid of on line and on-campus instructions. we’ve supplied records on numerous online applications for people who want to pursue a career within the paralegal subject.

Clayton State University (Morrow, GA)

Clayton State University offers an aba-authorised companion of implemented technology (aas) degree in paralegal studies thru the branch of social technology. the program curriculum calls for students to finish the same range of paralegal publications offered in the certificate application along with widespread schooling courses for a complete of sixty one-63 credits. college students can graduate from this system in as little as years. the general public of the route necessities can be met on-line, despite the fact that some courses may best be supplied within the evening on-campus. paralegal guides include prison research & writing, regulation workplace competencies, and criminal studies capstone and fashionable education necessities include english, math, and communications. college students can examine full-time or element-time and might switch credit score in the direction of the finishing touch the college’s bachelor of arts (ba) in paralegal research diploma at a later date if preferred.

Liberty University (Lynchburg, VA)

Liberty University is a personal christian group that offers an partner of arts (aa) degree absolutely online thru the college of regulation. this system incorporates 60 credit of take a look at and accepts up to 45 switch credit from other faculties. college students whole 36-39 credit of trendy training along with crucial wondering, christian lifestyles & notion, and math, technology, & era. the paralegal predominant includes 21 credit and 3 extra credit may be taken as electives. examples of paralegal publications encompass foundations of regulation and criminal practice and techniques. this on line software makes use of blackboard on line mastering generation that may be accessed by means of college students at any time. students can have a look at both complete-time or element-time and finish this system in as little as years. graduates also can pick out to keep into liberty’s on line bachelor’s diploma in paralegal research if favored.

Rio Salado College (Tempe, AZ)

The online Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree at Rio Salado College is a sixty four-credit score degree program that takes years to complete thru full-time study, despite the fact that component-time examine is also possible. multiple start dates are provided for the duration of the yr and guides are offered in 8-week blocks. students whole the 36-39 credits required for the paralegal certificate first and then pick six to nine extra electives along with company regulation for the paralegal, paralegals and immigration law, and us charter. the ultimate 19 preferred training credit are made from english, math, and electives. internship possibilities also can be organized in the college students’ neighborhood area. upon commencement, students are offered both a certificates and an accomplice’s degree in paralegal research.

Paralegal Certification with an Associate’s Degree

paralegals do now not need to be certified or licensed to paintings in this profession and employers range with reference to educational requirements. california is the most effective country which specifies that individuals the use of the term “paralegal” in their work have to meet positive training or work experience necessities, but there are no regulating bodies liable for making sure consistency in the country.3

completing an non-compulsory certification or expert examination via an employer together with the countrywide affiliation of prison assistants, the national federation of paralegal assistants, or the affiliation for prison professionals may additionally cause extended task resources or networking possibilities however are typically not specially required with the aid of employers.

different non-compulsory certification tactics might also awareness on skills and packages used on-the-process. as an instance, lexisnexis offers a paralegal scholar certification of mastery masking lexusadvance software and litigation tools for paralegal college students. this system is created from five modules that help college students learn how to excellent utilize this specific software for felony studies. additionally, thompson reuters westlaw gives webinar schooling for which can benefit paralegals who use their felony research software within the place of work. students must entire 3 modules and pass an online quiz to earn the certification.

some schools are searching for software certification from the american bar affiliation to focus on that their software meets established requirements, but that is elective and lack of certification does now not necessarily imply a software is sub-par.

Jobs with a Associate’s Degree in Paralegal Studies

  • administrative assistant
  • court docket reporter
  • government assistant
  • generalist paralegal
  • law clerk
  • legal advise
  • prison assistant
  • legal researcher
  • prison secretary
  • paralegal
  • expert paralegal
  • transcriptionist

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the associate’s degree in paralegal studies compare to the bachelor’s degree?

because the accomplice’s degree software is designed to be completed in two years, it teaches students foundational statistics approximately the law and the felony machine. whilst maximum companion programs permit students to choose some electives, bachelor’s degree applications allow students overtime to gain in-depth understanding of specific areas of the regulation. both applications can even have fashionable education necessities.

Can I earn credit for my associate’s degree towards a bachelor’s degree in the future?

normally, yes. most institutions imparting 4-year bachelor’s ranges in paralegal studies will evaluate the courses you have already taken to reduce redundancies. a few institutions even have a formal arrangement that permits students to seamlessly transfer from an partner’s degree application to a bachelor’s degree program inside the equal region.

Do I need to complete an ABA-approved program to work as a paralegal?

no. aba accreditation is absolutely optionally available and some colleges choose not to use for this distinction. those colleges may additionally nonetheless offer great applications which might be acceptable to employers. if you plan to pursue a profession with a particular company or in a selected area, you can desire to check whether they have got any unique requirements.

How long does it take to complete a paralegal associate’s degree?

if you plan to take a look at full-time, you can typically entire the program in as low as 18-24 months. in case you plan to examine part-time or take positive terms off, which includes summer season, it may take you longer. most schools require college students to finish the partner degree application inside five years of the start date.

Should I complete my paralegal associate’s degree online?

deciding on whether or not to complete your diploma on line or on-campus relies upon on different factors. in case you are a disciplined and unbiased student, an online layout may work well. on-line applications also are more flexible and may work well for college kids who paintings full-time. on-campus packages provide the advantages of face-to-face engagement with school and co-workers. both kinds of programs are to be had for paralegal companion’s ranges as well as hybrid applications.

What Can My Salary Be With a Paralegal Associate’s Degree?

paralegals help attorneys by means of accomplishing basic prison studies to help them put together for upcoming trials. as an example, they search case law for precedents which can affect the case handy, reap sworn statements from those involved inside the case and keep records prepared. in step with the u.s. bureau of exertions facts, paralegals earned a mean of $50,220 according to yr as of 2012. in its annual survey of paralegal salaries, the national association of prison assistants and paralegals found that paralegals earned a mean revenue of $fifty four,376. numerous elements have an effect on the anticipated salary of paralegals, consisting of their stage of schooling.

Pay by Education

according to the nala, paralegals who preserve an accomplice’s degree in paralegal research earned a mean salary of $53,399 in keeping with yr as of 2012. this turned into higher than the stated common earnings of these with a bachelor’s degree, which changed into $50,387 in keeping with 12 months. folks that held a publish-baccalaureate or undergraduate certificates earned a median of among $fifty six,000 and $fifty seven,000 in line with yr, even as those with a grasp’s degree mentioned the highest common salary, $62,203 consistent with yr.

Pay by Geographical Area

region can have a giant impact upon the expected earnings of a paralegal. consistent with the 2013 nala survey, the best common profits was said within the a ways west, where paralegals averaged $60,371 in step with yr. those inside the southwest were additionally high earners, averaging $fifty eight,110 per 12 months. at an average of $48,876, paralegals within the terrific plains states earned the least. as of 2012, the bls discovered that the district of columbia turned into the very best-paying state, at $sixty eight,850 in keeping with 12 months, at the same time as paralegals in arkansas earned the lowest average salary, at $38,290.

Other Factors

other elements impact paralegal pay, particularly years of revel in. in step with the nala, new paralegals start off incomes a median of $37,949 in line with 12 months at some point of their first two years, whilst people with 25 or extra years of enjoy earn a mean profits of $61,058 consistent with yr. kind of employment also can make a difference; the bls observed in 2012 that those employed in non-public corporations averaged $48,a hundred and seventy consistent with year, at the same time as kingdom authorities paralegals averaged $forty four,570, nearby government people $50,540 and federal government paralegals $sixty five,660.

Benefits and Bonuses

in addition to a normal profits, many paralegals get hold of bonus pay and advantages. as of 2012, paralegals suggested an average annual bonus of $4,501 to the nala. individuals who held an associate’s diploma in paralegal research said an average annual bonus of $three,014. the nala also reviews that 89 percent of paralegals receive either complete or partial health insurance via their activity, 66 percentage get hold of some shape of dental coverage and 79 percent participate in a place of job pension or retirement plan.

2016 Salary Information for Paralegals and Legal Assistants

paralegals and criminal assistants earned an average annual revenue of $49,500 in 2016, in step with the u.s. bureau of hard work data. on the low give up, paralegals and prison assistants earned a twenty fifth percentile salary of $38,230, that means 75 percentage earned greater than this quantity. the 75th percentile income is $63,640, meaning 25 percent earn greater. in 2016, 285,six hundred human beings have been hired within the u.s. as paralegals and felony assistants.

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