You may be able to find a position in a law office at some level with an associate’s degree in paralegal studies. With an associate’s degree, you will be exposed to general education classes that will improve your communication and writing skills, as well as help you feel more comfortable in a professional setting. An individual with an entry level position at a law office that doesn’t necessarily require training, might be able to take on a more critical role with an associate’s degree. There are also certificate programs available that can offer the basic preparatory training for a paralegal’s job.
There is an online associate’s degree program in paralegal studies available through Kaplan University. The classes required under this program provide a comprehensive background in liberal arts as well as classes that focus on specific skills that paralegals will need. Courses include writing and composition, basic mathematics, history and social science. With this degree, you will have a more well rounded education than with a certificate program.
This course of study that Kaplan University offers also provides in-depth classes that introduce law and the business of law. Classes cover various issues that a paralegal may encounter on the job such as legal research, civil rights, and criminal law. Some tasks that a paralegal may be required to do while assisting an attorney may be drafting trial arguments, interviewing a client, preparing and filing court documents, writing a court pleading, or perhaps interrogating on behalf of counsel. Anything that takes place in a law office can be handled by a paralegal, but they would not represent a client in a courtroom.
Are you interested in an online associate’s degree program in paralegal studies? Here is an outline of how the course of study might run:
First Semester: Introduction to Business, Paralegalism I: Business Communications, Paralegalism II: Business Law
Second Semester: Personal Finance Torts, Business Communications II, Civil Litigation, American Government
Third Semester: Business Mathematics, Introduction to Psychology, Law Office Management, Criminal Law and Procedures, Real Estate Law
Fourth Semester: Introduction to Computers, Family Law Administration of Wills, Trusts and Estates, Income Tax Fundamentals, Legal Research and Writing
As you can see, there is a mix of general education classes and legal issue related courses. The length of time each semester takes will depend on which online institution you are enrolled in. There are some programs that move at a much more accelerated pace than others.
The job description of a paralegal is far from uniform, and can vary from place to place. Some paralegal degree or certificate holders may run a law office or serve as a clerk for a judge. Other paralegals may focus on handling trial pleadings and arguments. There are many different career paths to take with an associate’s degree in paralegal studies.