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Obtaining a Paralegal Degree Online: Everything You Need to Know Before You Enroll

The first step to eventually working as a paralegal is to enroll in a paralegal school to get the right skills and credentials. You’re interested in paralegal schools online, but you’d like more information before you decide. What will you learn during your time in academia? How long will an online program take?

Enrolling in a paralegal college online will teach you valuable skills you’ll use in your future career, including legal office management, civil litigation, criminal law, and more. An online education can fast-track you through the program so you’ll be prepared to begin working as a paralegal as soon as possible!

This guide will provide all the information you’re looking for as you decide where to enroll for your online paralegal education. We’ll talk about what you may learn in an online program, how much time you’ll spend earning your degree, and what the current paralegal career outlook is.

Earning Your Degree Through an Accredited Paralegal School – What You’ll Learn

Should you choose a paralegal college online, you’re very interested in what the curriculum would entail.

Although it varies by college, if you become a student at an online accredited paralegal school such as Bryan University, here is what your education would cover.

Civil Litigation

Civil litigation is a legal process that’s determined in a court of law.

Your online paralegal education would cover the rules and processes of civil litigation so that when you finally begin working as a paralegal, you’d have the confidence and competence in this important area.

Contract, Family, Civil, Criminal, and Business Law

You’ll also learn about an assortment of laws as a student through an online paralegal curriculum, among them contract, family, civil, criminal, and business laws.

Contract law revolves around resolving legally-binding contract disputes. Family law entails familial legal processes like child custody, divorce, marriage, and child adoption.

Those who commit crimes and are legally punished are on the receiving end of criminal law. With that knowledge as a paralegal, you’d be a valuable resource in the criminal justice process.

Finally, there’s business law. You’d be able to assist business people with all the legal aspects of creating, running, transferring, and closing a business.

Legal Research

Compiling documents, doing professional writing, and performing legal research are also important job responsibilities of today’s paralegals.

An accredited paralegal school will teach you which tools you need to do legal research as well as how it’s done so you can always find the court opinions, regulations, and/or statutes you need for an ongoing case.  

Database Management

Past and present cases are stored in a database, which can be electronically online. You’ll become well-acquainted with all things legal database management so you can search for the required files as the need arises.

Investigative Research

Legal research and investigative research are not quite the same. The latter encompasses the methods and techniques that researchers use to find obscure and sometimes even hidden data. You can then use this information to help in a case or investigation.

Certification

Depending on the paralegal college online that you enroll in, you could receive training and preparation to take the Certified Paralegal or CP exam as issued by the National Association of Legal Assistants or NALA.

This nationally-recognized exam can help set you apart when you're ready to apply for jobs as a paralegal. Your online college might pay for your first instance of taking the test, which is what Bryan University does.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Paralegal?

Should you decide to pursue a paralegal degree online, how long would it take you?

Well, you will likely start with an associate degree in the law field to help you become ready for an entry-level paralegal position.

It might take you upwards of 20 months to earn that degree, but again, this depends on the online college you select.

Some paralegal schools online such as Bryan University fast-track your education so you complete in the shortest amount of time possible so you can to begin your exciting, rewarding career as a paralegal sooner.

For more advanced paralegal opportunities, you may wish to obtain your bachelor’s degree after graduating with your associate’s degree. This can add up to another 18-20 months of education on top of your associate degree.

Some paralegal positions also offer in-house training, which can last upwards of six months to two years.

Other Considerations for Becoming a Paralegal

You’ve just graduated with your associate’s or bachelor’s degree (congratulations!). Before you begin applying for paralegal jobs, you’ll want to also consider the following.

A Specialty

The legal field is a vast one, so new paralegals entering the workplace may want to specialize in an area of the law.

Here are some specialties you might consider:

  • Labor laws: As a labor law paralegal, you’d work closely with employees and employers to determine when working conditions are poor. You’d advocate for these parties to improve workspaces for all.
  • Probate and estate planning: When a family death occurs, it’s heartbreaking enough. Matters can become confusing as well when it comes to who will manage the estate. As a probate and estate planning paralegal, you’d speak with families, trustees, and tax auditors to make the best decisions about who gets what property.
  • Government: Government paralegals partner with politicians, law enforcement, and regulatory agencies to drive lasting change.
  • Litigation: From the pleadings to the discovery in a trial, you’d be in the courtroom working with trial attorneys as a litigation paralegal.

A Certification

We mentioned already the CP certification through NALA, which is a good one to start with as your paralegal career gets underway.

You can also eventually test for the Advanced Certified Paralegal or ACP certification, which NALA offers as well.

State Requirements

Do you live in Utah, Texas, Florida, or California or plan to work in one of these four states as a paralegal?If so, then you may be subjected to additional laws. We encourage you to conduct research into additional requirements to work as a paralegal in these states.

For example, in California, you need to have obtained a paralegal certification and enrolled in a school for paralegal studies in a state-accredited school such as Bryan University.

What Is the Career Outlook for a Paralegal?

Before you enroll in an accredited paralegal school, what is the career outlook for this field?

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS, between 2020 and 2030, paralegal jobs will grow by 12 percent, with a predicted 41,400 jobs to be added. That’s a faster than average growth rate.

Looking for Paralegal Schools Online?

If you’re ready to kickstart your career by enrolling in a paralegal college online, Bryan University could be just the school you’re looking for.

Our Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies and Litigation Technologies program will teach you skills such as managing electronic databases, preparing and indexing legal reports and documents, coordinating and directing law office operations, preparing materials for a trial (including evidence), conducting investigations, and managing attorneys.

You could be hired by government agencies, insurance and finance firms, professional service firms, corporate legal departments, and international or local law firms looking for a paralegal like you.

Some of the career opportunities that could await you include titles such as litigation clerk, legal assistant, legal support specialist, legal analyst, discovery paralegal, litigation paralegal, and corporate paralegal.

Bryan U’s Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies and Litigation Technologies program is the next step after graduating with your associate’s degree. You’ll be prepared to take your NALA CP exam to earn your paralegal certification.

You’ll also further your skills in database management, investigative research, civil litigation, paralegal science, and contract, family, civil, criminal, and business law.

As a student in the bachelor’s program, you’ll utilize our E-Discovery Lab for Software, Simulation & Applications or ELSSA lab where you’ll get to use industry software to solve real-world legal scenarios.

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