Get information on an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree in paralegal studies: legal secretary and its coursework, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.
A.A. Programs in Paralegal Studies: Legal Secretary
Students enrolled in an Associate of Paralegal Studies with a Legal Secretary concentration are given a solid foundation in the law and taught the elements necessary for running an office. Research, interpersonal and decision-making skills are developed by students who are also taught about the procedures and ethics of the legal system. They can expect to become adept at assisting attorneys with document preparation, legal filings and research. Technical schools and community colleges mainly offer this two-year program whose admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma.
Participants are taught through lectures, courses, and internships wherein practical training is imparted in workplace settings. Coursework typically includes topic areas such as:
•Law office technology
•Legal environment of business
•Computer information applications
•Keyboarding and document processing
•Legal research and case analysis
•Interviewing and investigating
•Law office management
Job and Wage Outlook
A job growth of 18% has been predicted for administrative assistants and secretaries during the period from 2010 to 2020 (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)). A faster-than-average growth rate is expected to be enjoyed by those who have specialized training, such as medical or legal secretaries.
In May 2011, legal secretaries earned an average annual wage of $42,400 (BLS). The salary range depends on a host of factors including office size, geographic location and skill level.
Continuing Education Choices
Those who successfully complete the program can expect to gain an in-depth understanding of the law and can choose to seek advanced-level jobs in legal office management or opt for continued education and eventually be employed as a paralegal. A legal secretary can leverage continued training and professional certification to showcase his or her skills and knowledge in the field to potential employers. Several associations offer certification for legal secretaries to benefit from.
Credentials are offered to legal secretaries – who qualify for such certification by passing an exam – by organizations such as the Legal Secretaries International, Inc., the International Association of Administrative Professionals and the National Association of Legal Secretaries (NALS). Completion of continuing education is usually required to ensure re-certification.