What You Need to Know Before Applying for a Paralegal Degree

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University is incredibly expensive. Even if you are choosing to study an online para degree, which can be a cheaper alternative, it’s still a lot of money. So, you want to make sure you are making the right decision before you apply. An online paralegal degree is a challenging undertaking. You’ll need to develop many relevant skills, and an in-depth knowledge of the law. It isn’t going to be easy. However, it can lead to a long and rewarding career. Here is everything you need to know before you apply.

Career Options

Many people mistakenly believe that once you have graduate from a paralegal course your only option is to work as a paralegal at a law firm. However, this is not the case, which is fortunate, because it can be difficult to find work at a law firm straight out of school. Some other options include.

  • Finding work as a legal secretary, to gain valuable experience of working in a law office.
  • Working as an advocate. Using your advanced knowledge of the law to help others.
  • Real Estate paralegal. Many real estate offices now have an in-house law office. Become a specialist in property law.
  • Nursing paralegal. To do this job, you do also require nursing experience. Hospitals, to avoid expensive litigation, frequently employ an in-house team to protect their interests.

If you do find work within a law firm, there are many different areas or specialties you could work in. These can include:

  • Family law
  • Medical malpractice
  • Litigation
  • Immigration
  • Administration
  • Estate planning.

These lists are by no means exhaustive. As a paralegal, you can look forward to a long and varied career.

Skills Required

Paralegals require a huge range of skills, all of which you can expect to develop while studying for a paralegal degree. You’ll need to have fantastic research skills across all platforms, including books, files and online. You’ll need to be able to use these skills, as well as use your attention to detail, to find tiny snippets of information relevant to your case, as well as spotting sometimes hard to find patterns in the evidence. Communication is another essential skill, as you’ll need to relay all of this information back to lawyers and clients. Other skills you’ll need to have are a good sense of organization, teamwork, integrity and IT skills.

Future Job Prospects

The ultimate goal of many paralegal students is to work for a large law firm. This is a very real possibility for most, with the number of paralegal job openings expected to grow by up to 8% by 2024. Some then even decide to pursue a career as a lawyer and return to school. If you chose this path, the skills and knowledge you develop working as a paralegal could give you a huge advantage.

If you think this is the right career for you and you feel you have the skills required to become a successful paralegal, either working in law or another setting, apply for a course today.

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