How many years does it take to become a paralegal? Or how long does it take to become a paralegal? Well, that is the question that we aim to answer today. The criminal justice system is ever expanding so it comes as no surprise to anyone that the need for paralegals is going up with time. So it stands to reason that the demand for paralegals is also going up. One may also visit our page online law degree for a detailed information and to clear relevant queries.
Over the years, paralegal programs have become more and more widespread. In fact, if you are someone with time or financial constraints, then there are a lot of places to get paralegal degrees online. But what is the cost of becoming a paralegal and what are the courses to become a paralegal? All of these burning questions will be answered in due time.
Also, while we are doing that, we will also touch upon the prospects and jobs after becoming a paralegal. And before you ask, what to choose between online and traditional classes, remember, all of these online courses carry the same weight and offer the same courses. The only sticking point is your preference. More on that later.
With all of this being said and the demand for paralegals at an all time high, let us take a deeper look at the whole scene. What all is required, what the training will entail and what is the scope of this whole thing. So with that being said, let us begin.
How Many Years Does It Take To Become A Paralegal and Its Cost
The first and most natural question is regarding the cost of becoming a paralegal. The cost varies quite a bit if we are being honest. What you will have to shell out ultimately depends on the courses to become a paralegal you opt for.
As stated above, getting paralegal training online is quite cheap when compared to its more traditional counterpart. On top of being cost effective, it also lets you choose your own hours and allows you to get the necessary training irrespective of time or health constraints. With that being said, here is a quick comparison for you –
- Associate’s Degree
- Traditional schooling – 21,700 USD (average)
- Online schooling – 5,000 USD (average)
- Bachelor’s Degree
- Traditional Schooling – 42,000 USD (average)
- Online schooling – 8,000 USD (average)
So as you can see, online schooling is proving to be quite the cheap alternative to the more traditional ways. Before admission, all you need to do is make sure that it is properly accredited and certified.
Paralegal certificate – How one can get?
As well as knowing how many years does it take to become a paralegal, we have talked about the cost of education and briefly touched upon the courses themselves, let us now dig a little deeper. An associate’s degree is usually of about 2 years and is the bare minimum that one needs in order to be properly recognised and certified as a paralegal. Keep in mind, that there are no standards set to begin with.
How to become a paralegal with a bachelor’s degree?
How many years does it take to become a paralegal, is a question that one may ask oneself. However, a lot of places require the applicant to have a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree is of 4 years compared to the usual 2 years fare at the associate’s program. As a result, it allows for a more in-depth study and analysis of the course matter.
What is as important as education however is experience. Since paralegals are expected to operate as backups to lawyers etc., an inexperienced paralegal might cause a lot of trouble. In order to combat this, it is advised to do internships etc. to gain some much needed experience and paralegal certificate.
Internships offer the training required and helps one gain experience in order to advance their fledgling careers. More importantly, internships provide some much needed job opportunities to the interns. A lot of the firms offer jobs to their interns since it saves them time and money in the form of recruitment drives etc. Here is your answer to the question how to become a paralegal with a bachelor’s degree?
All in all, a good education along with some experience as an intern will provide you with all the training you will need in order to become a paralegal. Your answer on how many years does it take to become a paralegal, is here, keep reading.
How long does it take to become a lawyer in terms of scope?
Let us be clear about one thing, becoming a paralegal is the start of the journey. No one in their right mind aims to be a paralegal for the entirety of their careers. So, with that being said, let us take stock of some of the avenues that will open up to you once you do decide to go down this career path –
- Courtroom scribe
- Forensics experts
There is a whole slew of other career opportunities out there for those aspiring to be paralegals. However, since there are too many of them, we have just listed some off the top of our heads.
Once you are done with your training as a paralegal and have gained the experience necessary to advance your career, the world is your oyster.
Paralegal salary – State wise
As stated before, becoming a paralegal is just the start of the journey. So the salaries are slightly ranging but modest. With that out of the way, here is a quick rundown –
- 1 year of experience – 40,000 USD per year (average)
- Intermediate experience – 50,000 USD per year (average)
- Professional – 58,000 USD per year (average)
If you are planning to become a paralegal and thinking how many years does it take to become a paralegal,One thing to keep in mind here is that the salaries vary by state quite a lot. So if you want the best possible income, a move to a state with higher salaries won’t be a miss. Here is a state by state breakdown of the paralegal salary earned by paralegals as per the Bureau of Labor statistics –
|Rank||State||2018 Average Salary||2017 Average Salary||2016 Average Salary||2015 Average Salary||2014 Average Salary||5-Year Change|
So as can be observed from the presented set of statistics, the average salary of a paralegal has mostly been increasing over the years. However, there are a few curious trends worth noting here.
As you move towards the centre of the country, there is a somewhat steep decline in the average earnings of the paralegals. This is mainly because these states, often referred to as the rust belt, are relatively crime free due to the nature of their communities and scaled down nature. So, there is no need for lawyers let alone paralegals.
Conversely, the average salaries of paralegals with
within them is quite high compared to the national average. This can once again be attributed to cities attracting more criminals and hence more work for both lawyers and paralegals. However, it is worth mentioning that despite this, there will be a lot of variation within states as well.
For example, paralegal salaries within the district of New York City will be considerably higher than the salaries of the paralegals practicing within the outskirts of the city. This can be attributed to both the high crime rates as well as the higher cost of living. So, the attraction of higher wages can be a double edged sword.
How much do paralegals make
One more thing rather than thinking of how many years does it take to become a paralegal, we have talked about salaries as a paralegal, let us take a look at what you might be expected to earn in case you do decide to branch out. One thing to note here is that since there are too many career options, we will only be covering those which we have touched upon before. So, let us get cracking.
- Lawyer – 120,000 USD per year (average)
- Judge – 100,000 USD per year (average)
- Courtroom scribe – 75,000 USD per year (average)
- Forensics expert – 80,000 USD per year (average)
Again, these salaries will differ along state lines. Some will pay more and some will pay less. However, pay everywhere is guaranteed. This is because the criminal justice system is independent of market fluctuations. So there is an unprecedented job and financial security in this sector. So you won’t be losing your job as long as you are competent enough.
Plus, there is more than enough scope for growth and to branch out. Paralegals are, as mentioned before, just starting out in their professional careers. So there is immense scope in the entirety of the field. Even after branching out, there is great growth to be seen.
For the sake of argument, let us assume, you are a paralegal and decide to become a judge. Once you have set down that path, you can climb through the ranks and easily earn your way to becoming a state court judge or even a federal court judge. With each rank you climb, there will be a pay bump as well.
So, if you are wondering how many years does it take to become a paralegal, it is easy to see that even once you have decided on an alternative path, you will still find a lot of growth within those fields as well. All that matters there is your aptitude for the job and your dedication towards it. Because once again, these jobs are within the criminal justice system. So, the job security blanket is applicable here as long as you are competent enough.
With all of this being said, make sure you get the required paralegal training in order to set down this path. The financial gains and career scope are immense and the job security unmatched. The costs of education are relatively low and online degrees are a viable option as well. In fact, they are projected to overtake traditional graduation degrees in the near future.
So if you are looking for a long and satisfying career within the criminal justice system, then this is just the avenue for you. And in case you need any assistance to go down this path, feel free to contact us. We are always here to help in any way, shape or form should you need. So don’t think twice before seeking us out! For more information about how many years does it take to become a paralegal, you may visit our website https://onlineschoolsnearme.com