Paralegal Bachelor’s Degree
Paralegal educational programs generally come in three options – Associate’s degrees, Bachelor’s degrees, and paralegal certificates. Although paralegal Bachelor’s degree programs generally take the longest to complete, and may have the highest cost, having a Bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies can be a major benefit when job-searching, and some large law firms don’t hire paralegals who don’t have a Bachelor’s degree.
The National Federation of Paralegal Associations recommends that aspiring paralegals obtain a Bachelor’s degree education, as it enhances the overall credibility of the field and increases the quality of the paralegal candidate pool. In a 2010 survey by the National Association of Legal Assistants & Paralegals (NALA,) 42% of the paralegals who responded had a Bachelor’s degree (although not necessarily in a paralegal-related field.)
What Does Paralegal Bachelor’s Degree Entail?
The admission requirements of Paralegal Bachelor’s degree programs can vary, but a High School diploma or GED is nearly always required. Some paralegal Bachelor’s degree programs accept nearly everyone who applies (and meets this requirement,) while others have more competitive admissions standards. For this reason, it’s a good idea to apply to more than one program. Most programs provide information regarding their admissions requirements and statistics on their website.
Most who are pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies will be eligible for some form of financial aid. This could include grants, scholarships, and various types of student loans. Almost all paralegal schools will have a financial aid office to assist prospective students with the financial aid application process.
The majority of paralegal Bachelor degrees are designed to take around four years to complete, but students may be able to complete them in lesser time if taking a heavy course load. If classes are taken on a part-time basis, the program could take longer than four years to complete.
Bachelor’s degree programs are designed to provide a broad base education as well as courses specific to the chosen major. The exact requirements vary by school, but in general, those pursuing a paralegal Bachelor’s degree will be required to take general math, science, and English courses as well as legal courses including legal writing, legal research and litigation. Normally, paralegal students get to choose a set number of elective courses, depending on what their specific interests are. These could include courses in real estate law, estates & probate, employment law, bankruptcy law, administrative law, and many other areas.
Can I Complete a Paralegal Bachelor Degree Online?
Although not as popular as online paralegal Associate’s degrees or paralegal certificates, there are a number of paralegal Bachelor degrees that can be completed entirely online. These can be a great option for students who need the flexibility and convenience that online classes offer, due to other work or family commitments.
The exact format of online courses varies by program, but in general they entail things like interactive discussion boards, video lectures, online quizzes, and assignments which are submitted online.
To pursue online paralegal studies, you’ll need to meet certain technology requirements. Most schools will provide a list of these before enrolling in their program, but the requirements usually include a computer with a reliable internet connection, a webcam and/or microphone, and sometimes, specific software.