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Is a Paralegal Certificate Worth It? How to Get Started, Careers Available, and More

If lawyers are doctors, then paralegals are nurses. In other words, paralegals are the backbone of a law firm. Without them, the law firm wouldn’t be able to function as effectively or efficiently. Paralegals offer much-needed support to lawyers and assist law offices in providing exceptional services to their clients.

There has never been a better time to join this exciting and rewarding career! In fact, the paralegal industry is projected to see unprecedented growth over the next eight years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, paralegal jobs are expected to grow much faster than average – at a growth rate of 11% or higher through the year 2031 with projected job openings of 45,800 in the United States.

Whether you want to change careers without having to spend years in school or plan to pursue your Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree(s) in paralegal studies in the future, now is a great time to transform your life and career trajectory through earning your paralegal certificate

Through completing your paralegal certificate, you will gain the confidence and the basic skills to start work in the legal industry.

Below, you will find many of the benefits of becoming a paralegal. If you’re wondering “Is a paralegal certificate worth earning?”, the answer is yes.

What Does a Paralegal Do?

Before diving into the benefits of obtaining a paralegal certificate, it is important to know what a paralegal does. Generally speaking, paralegals support attorneys with their workload and assist in managing busy legal office environments. While paralegals often work in law firms, they can also work for businesses, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and courts.

Here’s an overview of what many paralegals are responsible for during their day-to-day: 

  • Preparing legal documents that the lawyer needs to file
  • Answering questions and communicating with clients
  • Drafting legal documents
  • Making phone calls on behalf of the lawyer/client
  • Researching cases 
  • Collecting information, including documents, from the client
  • Recording notes for the lawyer during a trial 
  • Drafting court motions
  • Fact-checking information
  • and much more!

Law firms need paralegals. Many law firms have specialty areas, such as personal injury, family law, criminal defense, property law, etc. Based on your interests and experiences, you will be able to explore which practice areas fit you the best for your career. While some law firms provide representation for personal injury law, others solely offer criminal defense or family law services. 

Reasons to Earn Your Paralegal Certificate 

Starting in your first course, you can start to explore career options to find a good fit so that you can start work immediately after you complete your paralegal certificate.

You can earn your paralegal certificate in as little as 10 months and be on a fast track to a new and fulfilling career.

The ability to fast-track your career is one of the top benefits of earning your paralegal certificate. However, it’s not the only one. If you are still wondering, Is a paralegal certificate worth earning? and What are the benefits of becoming certified as a paralegal? The answer is yes!

Here are some of the additional benefits of earning your paralegal certificate: 

You’ll Earn a Higher Income

Every company that’s looking to hire a paralegal will have its own minimum qualifications. Some will look to hire entry-level candidates who only have a high school diploma, while others will look to hire individuals who have paralegal experience or have earned a paralegal certificate. If you’re hired by one of those companies looking to hire the latter, you’re likely going to make more money. This is a huge reason to earn your paralegal certificate. 

The median income for paralegals in the United States is $57,525 per year. However, once you earn your paralegal certificate, you could be making an additional $5,000 a year. This can be a huge bonus and can be even higher if you’re working in an area that pays more.

The U.S. cities where paralegals are not only in most demand, but make the most money, include Washington DC, Phoenix, AZ, New York, NY, and Denver, CO. The average salary in these cities ranges from $67,023 – $77,698 per year. 

It Helps You Stand Out Among Other Applicants

Today’s job market is competitive, so if you want an advantage over other applicants, having earned your paralegal certificate will help. 

Not only does this accomplishment represent your knowledge in the industry, but it shows your potential employer that you took the initiative to advance your career. Earning your paralegal certificate puts you halfway to your Associate’s degree, so it’s easy to advance your education to continue honing your legal skills once you do get hired. 

Employers often prefer hiring a candidate who demonstrates an initiative to work in the legal field over one who didn’t because it both shows your interest in the legal field and provides assurances that you are likely to perform your duties accurately and to the satisfaction of your client/attorney.

It Looks Better for the Law Firm 

On the surface, this may seem like an odd entry. After all, why should you think about how your education will affect your potential employer when considering “Is a paralegal certificate worth earning?” 

Law firms operate just like any other business. They want clients to retain their services and leave them glowing reviews that will bring in more business. Having an experienced, compassionate, and reliable team is part of this retention rate and customer loyalty.

A law firm is more likely to benefit from hiring paralegals who earned their paralegal certificates and having them on staff because it makes the firm look good and increases trust among their clients. This gives you an edge over your competition and will make it more likely that you are hired. 

While this isn’t an exhaustive list, it does show you some of the larger benefits of earning your paralegal certificate online. 

Where Do Paralegals Work? 

As referenced above, paralegals can work in many different settings including government agencies, insurance companies, and even non-profit organizations. 

For example, paralegals are often in demand at real estate companies. In this setting, the paralegal becomes familiar with the local property laws and prepares real estate contacts between buyers and sellers. 

Paralegals can also work in a corporate setting. In businesses, many paralegals work closely with human resources. It is important that paralegals who work for corporations understand legalese, local laws and regulations relating to the industry, and compliance standards for each department. The corporate environment often gives paralegals more flexibility in their day-to-day activities than work at a traditional law firm, which may only deal with a very specific type of case and have a very rigid schedule. And speaking of flexibility, some employers are even looking to hire paralegals who work remotely!

Regardless of which setting you choose, the good news is that paralegals often have their pick of different industries and schedules, making it a flexible career for anyone who has an interest in the law. 

What to Expect When Pursuing Your Paralegal Certificate

Typically, it will take anywhere from six months to a year to earn your paralegal certification. This time frame depends on how often you’re able to take classes. 

At Bryan University, we offer a paralegal certificate that will earn you 30 credits. The courses you’ll take to earn your paralegal certificate include: 

  • Introduction to Paralegal Sciences
  • Torts
  • Legal Research and Writing
  • Civil Procedure
  • Criminal Law and Procedure
  • Student Success and Technology Foundations in Paralegal Studies
  • Introduction to Law Firm Technology
  • Family Law 
  • Business Law 
  • Contract Law

These courses are all meticulously designed to offer you the most extensive knowledge of the paralegal industry, as well as give you hands-on experience for your job as a paralegal. In fact, our simulated law office assignments and activities that are embedded in all courses utilize industry software and actual legal templates, so you’re a step ahead when you start work. 

Enroll in Bryan University and Begin Your Rewarding Career as a Paralegal Today!

Are paralegal certificates worth it? The answer is yes. Earning your paralegal certificate fast-tracks you to a rewarding career in as little as 10 months while also putting you in a higher income bracket than those with just a high school diploma. 

The courses offered at Bryan University set you on a path to success in the legal support industry, whether you are a paralegal, litigation clerk, e-discovery expert, legal assistant, legal analyst, or legal secretary.

You no longer have to turn to Google to type in “Is a paralegal certificate worth earning?” Instead, call the admissions team at Bryan University to request information. One call is all it takes to get started in this important and fast-growing field: 1-888-768-6861

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