College Choice, an independent online publication that aims to help students find the right program, has recently released its top rankings of online paralegal programs for 2017—and our certificate sits at #4!
Citing the online and hybrid course offerings as key to the ranking, College Choice notes that our certificate offers the skills and knowledge you need to become a practicing paralegal.
"We've ranked the 25 best online paralegal programs in the U.S., most of which are certificate programs for students who already have achieved a college degree and are looking for a career change," Christian Amondson, Managing Editor of College Choice, said of the ranking.
College Choice developed its list by looking at both academic quality and return on investment—a weight of tuition against expected early career salary.
The certificate has an estimated cost of $7,970 (not including course materials or the $150 registration fee). Average salary lands at $49,000 a year.
And as law firms and corporate legal departments are relying more on paralegals to handle tasks previously completed by attorneys, the need for educated professionals will only continue to grow. Case in point: The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that almost 280,000 paralegals and legal assistants are working in the U.S.
Job growth is expected to rise a healthy 8% by 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
One Certificate, Plenty of Career Pathways
The most direct route many of our graduates take is from certificate graduate straight into a paralegal position. But there are many other options:
If you’re interested in working toward a J.D., having this legal knowledge under your belt can make your application that much more competitive. Graduate Jacqueline Flores agrees:
"The courses gave me the knowledge and experience to pursue law school. I knew that I needed to gain the theoretical knowledge so that I could get a job as a paralegal and get started in the field."
Thinking of making a career transition into the paralegal field? Your courses will provide you with the foundational knowledge and understanding of the legal realm. But our instructors take it a step further: They’re working paralegals who bring the concepts to life with real-world examples. Your courses introduce you to:
- Legal terminology
- Court structures and procedures
- Legal ethics
- Formal discovery methods and documents
- Research, analysis and writing
Take Evan Brookes, who successfully transitioned from working in retail for the past decade to his current role as legal project coordinator of electronic discovery review services at Robert Half Legal:
"The certificate taught me not so much abstract knowledge, but rather what I would need to know, the skills I would need to have to hit the ground running. Earning the certificate was difficult and fulfilling, but when I finished I felt that that's when my work really started."
No matter your professional path, the Paralegal Studies certificate will help you meet your career goals. How can we assist you? Let us know in the comments below!