In AS and AAS programs in paralegal studies, students learn legal terminology, and they are trained to practice litigation and draft legal documents. They also gain hands-on experience using legal technologies related to law offices and court systems. Some of these two year programs require students to participate in an internship prior to graduation.
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Associate of Business Science in Paralegal Studies
In AS and AAS programs in paralegal studies, students can expect to learn about legal issues and ethics, industry regulations and judicial decisions. They are trained to prepare cases and maintain files in order to assist attorneys with legal proceedings. Students may also become familiar with different areas of law, including family, personal injury and real-estate law. Participants also build skills in computer literacy, organization, writing, time management, finance management and client contact. Students may take courses that address topics such as:
- Legal ethics
- Legal analysis
- Dispute resolution
- Personal injury law
- Intellectual property law
Popular Career Options
Graduates are prepared to take on roles in legal offices working under attorneys. Individuals can find entry-level careers with law firms, legal departments, government agencies, corporations and insurance companies. Graduates can find positions as:
- Legal assistants
- Trust officers
- Contract clerks
- Title examiners
Job Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that job opportunities for paralegals and legal assistants would increase by 8% during the 2014-2024 decade (www.bls.gov). According to May 2015 estimates from the BLS, the median wage of these legal professionals was $48,810 a year.
Students who are interested in continuing their educations can transfer to four-year programs in the field. Bachelor's degree programs in legal or paralegal studies offer individuals the opportunity to further develop the skills required to succeed in the legal world. Students who continue their education to the bachelor's degree level are likely to gain more knowledge in legal research, writing, systems and procedures. Individuals that hold bachelor's degree in one of these fields may be assigned administrative duties in the workforce.
While aspiring paralegals are unlikely to find ABS programs in the field, AS and AAS programs are readily available and provide students with the basic legal training they need to start working in law offices or transfer to bachelor's degree programs in legal studies.