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Bachelor's Degree in Paralegal: A Complete Guide (2024)

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See the steps to get a Bachelor's degree in Paralegal, covering what it is, the pros and cons, the process, program duration, online choices, what you'll study, and possible career paths.

Key Points

  • A bachelor's degree in paralegal studies prepares students for a career as a paralegal, supporting lawyers in various legal tasks.
  • The program covers topics such as legal research, writing, and analysis, as well as specific areas of law like civil litigation, contracts, and real estate.
  • Pursuing a bachelor's degree in paralegal can lead to a variety of career opportunities, including entry-level paralegal roles, graduate school preparation, and potential advancement to management positions.
  • The program typically takes 4 years to complete and involves a combination of general education courses and specialized paralegal coursework.
  • Graduates can expect to gain valuable skills in critical thinking, problem-solving, and attention to detail, which are highly sought after in the legal field.

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What is a Bachelor's Degree in Paralegal?

A bachelor's degree in paralegal studies is an undergraduate program that prepares students for a career as a paralegal, also known as a legal assistant. Paralegals play a crucial role in the legal system, supporting lawyers in various tasks such as legal research, document preparation, client communication, and case management. The program covers a wide range of legal topics, including legal writing, legal analysis, civil litigation, contracts, and real estate, among others. By completing a bachelor's degree in paralegal, students develop the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively assist attorneys in the legal profession.

Pros and Cons of Pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Paralegal

Pros

  • Prepares students for a stable and in-demand career as a paralegal
  • Provides a solid foundation in legal concepts and practical skills
  • Offers opportunities for career advancement, such as moving into management roles
  • Can serve as a stepping stone for those interested in pursuing a law degree or other advanced legal studies
  • Relatively shorter program duration compared to a law degree

Cons

  • The job market can be competitive, and some positions may require additional certifications or experience
  • The work can be high-pressure and deadline-driven, which may not suit everyone
  • The salary range, while generally good, may not be as high as that of a licensed attorney
  • The program may not provide the same level of depth and specialization as a law degree

How to Get a Bachelor's Degree in Paralegal

1. Meet the Admission Requirements: To enroll in a bachelor's degree program in paralegal studies, you'll typically need to meet the following requirements:

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Minimum GPA (usually around 2.5 or higher)
  • Submission of transcripts, test scores (SAT/ACT), and a personal statement
  • Possible prerequisite courses, such as English composition or introduction to law

2. Apply to the Paralegal Program: Once you've met the admission requirements, you can start the application process. This usually involves submitting an online application, paying the application fee, and providing any additional required documents.

3. Explore Financial Aid Options: Financing your education is an important consideration. Fortunately, there are several financial aid options available for paralegal bachelor's degree programs:

  • Scholarships: Both the school and external organizations may offer scholarships based on academic merit, financial need, or other criteria.
  • Grants: Federal and state grants, such as the Pell Grant, can provide need-based funding that does not need to be repaid.
  • Student Loans: Federal student loans, such as Direct Subsidized and Direct Unsubsidized Loans, can help cover the cost of tuition, fees, and other educational expenses.
  • Employer Tuition Assistance: Some employers may offer tuition reimbursement or assistance programs for employees pursuing a paralegal degree.

4. Enroll and Complete the Program: Once you've been accepted and secured your financial aid, you can enroll in the paralegal bachelor's degree program. The program typically takes 4 years to complete and involves a combination of general education courses and specialized paralegal coursework.

List of Online Bachelor’s Degree in Paralegal

For those looking into an online bachelor's degree in Paralegal, there are many choices available. Dreambound is a website to consider, offering a flexible and cost-effective Paralegal degree program.

Dreambound is an online education platform that partners with accredited universities to deliver top-notch, affordable degree programs. Their online bachelor's degree in Paralegal is designed for students needing a convenient and adaptable learning option.

Some of the schools and programs available through Dreambound include:

Liberty University Online

Program:

  • BS Paralegal Studies E Discovery
  • BS Paralegal Studies

Cost Range: $20,000 - $40,000

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Wilmington University - College of Law and Public Policy

Program:

  • BS Paralegal

Cost Range: $27,000 to $39,000

How Long Does it Take to Get a Bachelor's Degree in Paralegal?

A bachelor's degree in paralegal studies typically takes 4 years to complete when studying full-time. The program is designed to provide a comprehensive education in legal concepts, research, writing, and practical skills. During the 4-year program, students will complete a combination of general education requirements and specialized paralegal courses, such as legal research and writing, civil litigation, contracts, and real estate law. Some programs may offer accelerated or part-time options, which can shorten or extend the overall duration of the degree.

What to Expect from a Bachelor's Degree in Paralegal

A bachelor's degree in paralegal studies is designed to provide students with a solid foundation in legal principles and practical skills. The curriculum typically includes a mix of general education courses, such as English, mathematics, and social sciences, as well as specialized paralegal courses. These specialized courses cover topics such as:

  • Legal research and writing
  • Civil litigation
  • Contracts and real estate law
  • Criminal law
  • Family law
  • Intellectual property
  • Legal ethics and professional responsibility

In addition to coursework, students may also have the opportunity to participate in internships, where they can gain hands-on experience working in a legal environment. These internships can help students develop a better understanding of the paralegal profession and make valuable connections in the field.

Throughout the program, students will develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills, all of which are essential for success as a paralegal. Graduates will be prepared to assist attorneys in a variety of legal settings, including law firms, government agencies, corporations, and nonprofit organizations.

What Can You Do with a Paralegal Bachelor's Degree?

A bachelor's degree in paralegal studies can open up a variety of career opportunities for graduates. Here are some of the paths you can pursue:

Graduate School Preparation: For those interested in further legal education, a paralegal bachelor's degree can serve as a stepping stone for pursuing a master's degree in legal studies or a Juris Doctor (JD) degree, which is the professional degree required to become a licensed attorney.

Entry-Level Paralegal Roles: The primary career path for paralegal bachelor's degree holders is as an entry-level paralegal or legal assistant. In this role, you'll assist attorneys with tasks such as legal research, document preparation, client communication, and case management.

Career Opportunities: With a paralegal bachelor's degree, you can also explore opportunities in various legal settings, including:

  • Law firms (small, medium, or large)
  • Corporate legal departments
  • Government agencies (federal, state, or local)
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Real estate firms
  • Financial institutions

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary for paralegals in the United States was $60,970 in 2023, and the job outlook is projected to grow 4% from 2022 to 2032, which is faster than the average for all occupations.

Final Thoughts

A bachelor's degree in paralegal studies can be an excellent choice for individuals interested in the legal field who do not wish to pursue a law degree. The program provides a comprehensive education in legal concepts, research, and practical skills, preparing students for a variety of career opportunities as a paralegal or legal assistant. Whether you're interested in supporting attorneys in a law firm, government agency, or corporate setting, a bachelor's degree in paralegal can be a valuable asset in your professional journey.

Should this guide not quite live up to your expectations, explore the other guides below to pinpoint one that's more in line with what you're looking for:

Vduani Martinez
Written by
Vduani Martinez

Vduani Martinez is a part of the Growth team at Dreambound. She creates and fixes workflows and automation to guarantee seamless operations. On top of that, she manages databases to ensure all information is up to date. Vduani is a licensed Electronics Engineer who loves coffee and is a travel enthusiast. Out of the office, she enjoys going on road trips and discovering new cafes and restaurants.

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