How to Become a Paralegal

If the world of law fascinates you and the idea of being paid to learn more about it sounds enticing, becoming a paralegal might be the ideal job for you.

Even though you won’t need to attend law school like attorneys, you will need to complete a few requirements before you can enter the paralegal field.

This mini guide will tell you everything you need to know about how to become a paralegal.

How to Become a Paralegal: 3 Things You Need to Do

Becoming a paralegal may be more of a reality than you might think.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that paralegal and legal assistant employment will grow as much as 15% between 2016 and 2026, which is a higher than the combined average for all occupations.

Truthfully, there’s no better time to consider a career as a paralegal. Here’s how you can start your journey:

Step 1 – Complete a Paralegal Studies Program

Before a law firm will consider hiring you, you will need to have a paralegal certificate, at the minimum. There are several options for completing paralegal program requirements, many of which can now occur completely online.

Some paralegals receive a certificate or associate’s degree, while others will earn Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees. Your choice depends on how much money you want to earn and how much you wish to advance your career.

Step 2 – Find the Right Employment

Becoming a paralegal in the field looks a bit different than it does in the classroom. Once you satisfy your program requirements and receive your certificate or degree, you’ll want to seek employment with a law firm that provides on-the-job training to transition you into a real paralegal role.

Step 3 – Earn Your Paralegal Certification

To become a fully certified paralegal, you will need at least one year of experience on the job and must be able to pass an accreditation test.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Paralegal?

Knowing how long it takes to become a paralegal depends on your career goals. Earning the minimum certificate will not take as long as completing a Master’s degree program.

In general, you can obtain a certificate in just a few months. An associate’s degree will require four semesters, while a Bachelor’s degree will take eight semesters from start to finish. If you decide to pursue a Master’s degree, you should tack on another four semesters.

In Closing

Becoming a paralegal can be an exciting, rewarding career. Take some time to review your options so that you can make the best decision for your future.

For more helpful insights into the legal field, visit our blog resources.