There are four ways to become a paralegal: (1) obtain a paralegal associates degree from a local community college or online paralegal
school; (2) obtain a bachelor's degree in paralegal studies; (3) if you already have a bachelor's degree, you can earn a certificate in paralegal studies from local
community colleges and several online schools; and (4) by what I like to call "baptism by fire" or on-the-job-training. There are schools that also offer masters degrees in
Certificate training focuses solely on paralegal studies whereas associate's and bachelor's programs involve other traditional areas of study such as humanities, sciences and etc.
The median paralegal salary in 2010 was $46,680.00 or $22.44 an hour. The employment of paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow 22% through 2016, much faster than the average growth rate for all occupations!
It's a tough job market out there today. If you already have a Bachelor's degree, use it. If your degree is in finance, you could be a corporate finance paralegal; business degree...corporate paralegal; RN or BSN...nurse paralegal. Be creative! Paralegal training is relatively inexpensive, it's less than $5,000.00 to earn a paralegal certificate.
The primary sources of paralegal employment are law firms (approximately 71%); corporate legal departments; and local, state and federal government legal departments. Paralegals are also highly sought after at financial institutions, such as in the trust and or real estate departments; insurance companies; title companies; international trade companies; professional sports teams; airlines; hospitality; and the entertainment business.