The benefits of studying for a paralegal masters degree are many, including increased knowledge about legal issues and the law as well as increasing career opportunities. Before highlighting the advantages of obtaining a Paralegal Masters degree, let’s take a look at this occupation. What is a paralegal? Paralegals, also called legal assistants, have many of the same jobs as attorneys but they are not qualified to actually practice law.
Paralegal Masters Education and Training
In general, masters degrees in paralegal studies are rare, and legal studies programs more common. They are commonly offered a the associate degree or bachelor degree level. For those who wish to study law but not necessarily to practice as an attorney or lawyer, a common path is to complete a degree in legal studies, where one can then become a legal assistant.
Graduates who pursue a Masters (MA) degree usually specialize in one particular sphere of the law. Being qualified at such a high level has a host of benefits. With boosted knowledge, earning potential not only increases, but the door to exciting employment opportunities can open. For these reasons, many paralegals who have been working in established jobs for several years pursue a MA degree to enhance their careers.
Another benefit of obtaining a MA is that the graduate can fully immerse him or herself in an area of law that he or she is most passionate about. This can be an invaluable tool in self-marketing. Plus, enrollment in a graduate program provides access to the college or university’s alumni database. These contacts create opportunities for fellowships and internships. In addition, an alumni network improves the chances of lucrative employment prospects.
No matter what level of paralegal qualification is achieved, those in practice are expected to participate in continued learning programs. These enable paralegals to keep pace with new trends and developments. Continued learning is mandatory for many occupations. The aim is to ensure that the public has access to the latest knowledge, values, skills, and attitudes within a particular profession.
Paralegals are not permitted to represent clients in court or give legal advice as they are not licensed for that. They do, however, assist attorneys in preparing court cases by gathering and collating evidence. Paralegals prepare legal documents and write reports. In addition, they draft contracts pertaining to estates, tax returns, trusts, and mortgages. Although they are permitted to interview witnesses, most of their work is administrative. The job carries a lot of responsibility therefore paralegals must be well versed with all legal procedures and terminology.
They have to be highly skilled in analyzing laws and research. Other essential elements associated with this profession are the ability to think critically, be computer literate, and excellent communication skills. Paralegals can work in exactly the same fields as lawyers, e.g., personal injury or litigation, to criminal or corporate law.
Estimated Income and Projected Job Outlook
The demand for paralegals in the US depends on states and cities. There are more opportunities in densely populated cities. At entry level, the average annual salary is US$ 21,000. Statistical evidence produced by the federal government has proved that paralegals trained at MA level earn significantly more than those with a Bachelors degree. The US Census Bureau established that, over a 40-year working period, MA holders earn around $900 more per week than holders of BA degrees.
It must be mentioned that a Paralegal Masters degree should not be seen as an easy ticket to a good job and a lucrative salary. On-the-job experience is just as essential, as is work ethic and character. The willingness to learn, personal sincerity, hard work, and perseverance are also vital components. Nevertheless, a MA degree certainly boosts the market value of a paralegal. The average annual salary is $75,700.
Paralegal and Legal Studies Programs
Kaplan University is focused on recognizing the achievements of military and veteran students and offers the flexibility of an online education. Eligible students can receive college credit for prior military experience and coursework—up to 75 percent of the credit needed for a Kaplan University undergraduate degree.*
- MS in Legal Studies
Regent University prepares students with the knowledge to excel and the faith to live with purpose. Our 20,000 alumni, from more than 110 countries, are changing the world as accomplished professionals. Named a top-15 school nationally for online bachelor's programs (U.S. News & World Report, 2015), Regent is among the most affordable undergraduate Christian colleges (CCCU 2015). Fully accredited, challenging programs are available online and on campus. New classes begin every eight weeks.
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