There are a lot of reasons becoming a paralegal is both a smart career strategy and an exciting job prospect. It is possible to get the education and credentials necessary to start in a professional position relatively quickly and
What Does a Paralegal Do?
Paralegals work behind the scenes supporting the work of lawyers. Some of their common responsibilities include drafting documents, completing forms, conducting research, assisting investigations, and working on special projects. In many ways, they are the unsung heroes of the justice system because they perform the kind of detailed, specialized work that enables a lawyer to do his or her job well in and out of court. The specifics of a paralegal’s duties will vary depending on where they work, what kind of credentials they possess and which specialty they focus on.
Where Does a Paralegal Work?
How to Become a Paralegal
Paralegal salary seems even more appealing when you consider how low the barrier to entry is for new professionals. Most states do not have formal requirements for practicing paralegals, though employers will want paralegals to have formal education and training.
There are lots of options for becoming qualified, including these types of education programs:
- Online certificate programs can take a few months to a year to complete and provide an in-road to entry-level paralegal jobs.
- Associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs can take two to
four-yearsand offer a solid foundation to build a career on.
Once in the profession, paralegals who seek out professional development opportunities, such as professional credentials, and engagement within the field can move into more prestigious roles, or join the ranks of lawyers if they decide to pursue law school. A big part of the appeal of a paralegal career is that it quickly opens a lot of doors while giving new professionals flexibility to direct their own career paths.
What is the Paralegal Job Outlook?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (
How Much Do Paralegals Make?
The median annual pay for a paralegal is estimated to be $50,940, says the BLS, with the top 10 percent in the industry earning over $82,050. Those in this tier usually have specialized skills, have
Median Annual Pay for Paralegal
A big contributing factor to salary is location, and those working in major metropolitan areas generally earn more. Other factors that influence salary include
Search for your state
|State||Median Annual Wage|
|District of Columbia||$80,030|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook
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