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Online Bachelors Degree in Paralegal

As a paralegal, you work behind-the-scenes in law firms, government and businesses ranging from the entertainment industry to the financial district. Training for this specialization varies based on the position, duties and the type of paralegal or legal assistant job you're hoping to find.

Bachelor's degrees in paralegal studies typically combine targeted coursework with other academic subjects. General education classes can help you develop skills in communication, research and critical thinking that will be needed on the job.

Paralegal studies train you to prepare legal materials for purposes such as lawsuits, real estate transactions or criminal prosecutions. You can also learn to draft documents used in custody, separation and divorce proceedings. Other topics include case analysis, filing pleadings with the court and the ethical considerations of legal practice. Working paralegals need extensive knowledge of technology, such as document management software, information retrieval tools and specialized analytical programs.

Career outlook for paralegals

Paralegals earned median annual wages of $46,680 in 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Between 2010 and 2020, 46,900 job openings are projected in the field, with growth of 18.3 percent, outpacing the average growth for all U.S. occupations. The BLS expects formally trained paralegals with some related experience to see the strongest job prospects.

While an associate degree is often the minimum entry-level requirement, hiring managers for more competitive positions may require four-year degrees. The Department of Labor's O*NET website reports that 44 percent of paralegals have a bachelor's degree, compared to 30 percent with an associate degree. Among certification options, the National Federation of Paralegal Associations offers the Registered Paralegal exam for paralegals with a bachelor's degree and at least two years of work experience.

Advancing beyond bachelor's degrees in paralegal studies

Advancement for paralegals comes in many forms. After earning a bachelor's degree, you might go on to administrative or managerial positions, delegating assignments and supervising entry level legal assistants. You could also choose to move from a smaller law firm to a larger one with more responsibilities and a higher profile.

No matter what path you choose within the industry, a bachelor's degree in paralegal studies is a smart way to continue to develop your skills. Choosing online education means completing training on your own time, allowing you to keep your current job as you head back to school.

Featured Online Paralegal Degree Programs

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3 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Ranked among the Best Online MBA Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Founded in 1890, it has a campus in Waterbury, CT and offers online degree program in eight-week modules, six times a year.
  • About 800 students are enrolled at the main campus, and about half of them commute.
  • Online courses make it possible for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as 18 months and a master’s degree in 14-24 months.
Good for Working Adults
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  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
  • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
  • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
  • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
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  • Approved A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 1969.
  • Offers free refresher courses to alumni for any previously completed course.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
  • Online headquarters located in Tempe, Arizona, with additional ground campuses in Toronto, Canada and Los Angeles & Sacramento, California.
  • Established in 1940 as Bryan Stenotype School.
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  • Ranked among the Best Grad Schools for Physician Assistants in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Dedicated to delivering quality education and personalized attention to students since 1899.
  • Provides a range of campus experiences and services online including advising, tutoring, student community, and career services.
  • Offers counseling services and a 24/7 crisis hotline to students at no extra charge.
  • Gives students and alumni access to career assistants who help with resumes, cover letters, job hunting, and more.
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  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
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  • Transferable Credits
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