Graduates of The Paralegal Institute are eligible to seek certification from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) to become a Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) upon completion of NALA’s minimum course requirements.
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The Paralegal Institute also offers the Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies, accredited by the Distance Education Accreditation Commission (formerly Distance Education and Training Council). This paralegal degree program, along with the Certified Legal Assistant designation, offers our graduates a powerful tool for entering the job market and competing successfully among other paralegal graduates for the best jobs in the field.
The Paralegal Institute offers two paralegal programs:
Paralegal Certificate Program
The Paralegal Institute’s Paralegal Certificate program satisfies part of the educational requirements** of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). Through examination, NALA provides the opportunity for students to hold the distinction of Certified Legal Assistant (CLA).
Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies (ADPS)
The Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies offers an additional opportunity for you to add a competitive edge in your pursuit of the best available position in the Paralegal field. Students must successfully complete the same courses outlined in the Paralegal Diploma program, plus an additional five specialty courses of 15 credit hours.
More about Paralegals
Maintenance of a nation’s system of laws is a large and important responsibility that takes an ever-growing group of trained professionals. While lawyers have long had assistants who over time became familiar with the law, it was not until 1968 that the American Bar Association first officially recognized the paralegal profession.
The paralegal field began and grew for two main reasons:
There is a great deal of legal work that falls into the area of procedure, which paralegals may carry out, as opposed to substance, which attorneys must execute and for which they must take responsibility. There is a growing demand by individuals and businesses for more legal services at a lower cost. This is, in part, accomplished through the use of qualified assistants to attorneys: paralegals.
The paralegal provides a much needed service in an important profession. As a paralegal, you will enjoy the respect given to professionals who solve difficult problems in the lives of great corporations and ordinary people. You will be working with other like-minded and dedicated professionals in any of a variety of interesting and stimulating situations. You may research cases in a law library or on a computer network, gather information by telephone, establish case files, interview experts or witnesses, carry out investigations, or draft legal documents. Depending on where you work, you may travel state-, nation-, or world-wide.
What type of job could you get once you have completed one of our paralegal programs?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the paralegal profession will grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2014, which provides graduates from our Paralegal Diploma program to choose from any number of career opportunities in private practice, public government, courts, and freelance contract work. The following is a listing of some positions that may be appropriate for a graduate after completion of our paralegal program.
Private law firms specializing in:
- Administrative Law
- Civil Rights Consumer Law
- Contract Law
- Criminal Law
- Environmental Law
- Estate Planning
- Family Law
- Healthcare Law
- Immigration Law
- Labor Law
- Personal Injury
- Real Estate Law
- Corporate Legal Departments
- Human Resources Analyst
- Insurance Companies
- Real Estate and Title Insurance Firms
- Banks and Financial Institutions
- Community Legal Services
- Risk Management
- U.S. Department of Justice
- U.S. Department of Treasury & Defense
- Attorney General’s Office
- Copyright Examiner
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- Internal Revenue Service
- Security Exchange Commission
- Worker’s Compensation Commission
- Court Clerk
- Court Administrator
- Victim’s Rights Advocate
- Probation & Parole Supervisor
- Dependents & Estate Claims Examiner
- Municipal Courts
- State District Courts
- State Appellate Courts
- Federal Courts
- Bankruptcy Courts
- Freelance Contract Work depending on State laws
- Social Security Disability Document Preparation
- Court Analyst
- Criminal Investigator
- Nurse Paralegal/Legal Nurse Consultant
- Paralegal Placement Counselor
Employment of paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow 8 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. As law firms try to increase the efficiency of legal services and reduce their costs, they are expected to hire more paralegals and legal assistants. In these cases, paralegals and legal assistants can take on a “hybrid” role within the firm, performing not only traditional paralegal duties but also some of the tasks previously assigned to legal secretaries or other legal support workers. Law firms also are attempting to reduce billing costs as clients push for less expensive legal services. Due to their lower billing rates to clients, paralegals can be a less costly alternative to lawyers despite performing a wide variety of tasks once done by entry-level lawyers. This should cause an increase in demand for paralegals and legal assistants.
You could find paralegal jobs in the following settings:
- Law Firms
- Large Corporations
- Finance and Insurance Firms
- Consulting Firms
- Healthcare Providers
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, The median annual wage for paralegals and legal assistants in May 2015 was $48,810. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $30,670, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $79,010.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Paralegals and Legal Assistants, on the internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm.
**(e) A paralegal program which consists of a minimum of 60 semester hours (900 clock hours or 90 quarter hours) of which at least 15 semester hours (225 clock hours or 22.5 quarter hours) are substantive legal courses. Note: An applicant may combine college hours from more than one institution. The applicant must have graduated from a paralegal program consisting of a minimum of 15 semester hours (or 225 clock hours or 22.5 quarter hours.) Evidence of the minimum hours required under Category 1(e) must be provided with the application form. https://www.nala.org/certification/exam-application-and-qualifications