Get information about a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program in Paralegal Studies and its coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree Programs in Paralegal Studies
Students enrolled in Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree programs in Paralegal Studies are taught about professional ethics and law office administration, in addition to ways of helping a lawyer to prepare for trials. Coursework examines legal studies, legal research, criminal law, and justice studies.
The program is devised to impart hands-on experience to students through the use of emerging technologies employed in legal settings; these include billing software and spreadsheets. Students become adept at analyzing and organizing information, drafting letters, and preparing estate plans. The American Bar Association is the approving authority for programs, and graduates of degree programs that carry such approval will enjoy better job opportunities.
Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma.
Core coursework includes subject areas such as social science, humanities, and science. Commonly offered courses include employment law, health care law, and bankruptcy. Core coursework may include additional topic areas, such as:
•Real estate transactions
•Legal writing and research
•Personal injury law
Those who complete the bachelor’s degree program can expect to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for assisting lawyers with trial preparations, administrative tasks, and research. They can seek employment in job settings such as government, legal departments, or private law firms. Paralegals may also seek freelance job opportunities. Typical job titles may include:
Job and Wage Outlook
A job growth rate of 18% has been predicted for paralegals and legal assistants over the 2010 – 2020 decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In 2012, these legal professionals brought home an average annual wage of $46,990.
Continuing Education Choices
Those who complete a bachelor’s degree program may choose to continue their education by earning a master’s degree in paralegal studies, which would allow them to seek careers in larger corporations or government agencies. Some may opt to join a law school in order to become lawyers. While certification is not mandatory for paralegals, earning a credential may enhance job opportunities (BLS).
The National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) is one of the agencies that offers paralegal certification based on experience and education. Passage of NALA’s certified paralegal examination will qualify a candidate for the Certified Paralegal credential. Passage of NALA’s advanced paralegal exam can help students obtain certification in a specialized field, such as Social Security disability.