In a BS program in paralegal studies, students examine justice studies, criminal law, legal research and legal studies. They also gain hands-on experience using emerging technologies, such as spreadsheet and billing software. Programs may be approved by the American Bar Association, which can enhance graduates' employment opportunities. A high school diploma or GED is typically required for admission to these programs.
Bachelor of Science: Paralegal Studies
These interdisciplinary programs integrate studies in the sciences, humanities and social sciences. Bankruptcy, health care law and employment law are examples of courses that are typically offered. Additional course topics may include:
- Legal ethics
- Civil litigation
- Real estate transactions
- Personal injury law
- Legal writing and research
Popular Career Options
Graduates have the research skills and legal knowledge necessary to assist lawyers with research, administrative tasks and trial preparations. They may find work in private law firms, legal departments, government offices, or insurance companies. They may also find freelance jobs in the field. Possible job titles include:
- Corporate paralegal
- Litigation paralegal
- Legal assistant
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the employment of paralegals and legal assistants will increase by 8% from 2014 to 2024 (www.bls.gov). In 2015, these legal professionals received a median yearly salary of $48,810, as reported by the BLS.
Continuing Education Information
Those seeking careers in government agencies or larger corporations may consider graduate-level paralegal studies programs. Alternatively, aspiring lawyers may apply to law school.
Certification for paralegals is not required, but it may enhance employment opportunities, according to the BLS. Organizations like the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) offer paralegal certification based on education and experience. Those seeking the Certified Paralegal credential can take NALA's examination. Paralegals looking for certification in a specialized field, such as social security disability, may consider NALA's advanced paralegal examination.
By earning a BS in Paralegal Studies, students gain the legal knowledge they need for work as paralegals and for certification or advanced studies in the legal field.