How to Become A Paralegal

A paralegal’s job is to assist lawyers in various scenarios. Even though the specific duties of a paralegal may vary for each work environment, they are generally required to do the following:


Paralegals are highly trained individuals whose primary job is to assist attorneys in their daily legal proceedings. A Paralegal is not allowed to appear in court of law or accept legal cases, but they are critical in helping their team of attorneys research cases, draft legal documents, and prepare affidavits. For those who want to become a paralegal, there are three degree options available that will help you get into this field of work. You must have a high school diploma to enter into any of these degree options. They include certificate and training programs, which may be a good first step into a career as a paralegal or maybe an option for those with bachelor’s degree in a non-related subject. Associate degrees would usually require two years of full time attendance to complete, or bachelors and master’s degree which have become more attractive to employers in a competitive job market. These degrees will help you reach higher levels and management jobs throughout your career. In addition to those degree programs, you can also work towards an industry recognized certification such as a certified legal assistant or certified paralegal. Getting a job as a paralegal is competitive. Most paralegal programs require an internship so don’t overlook this as a valuable way to make the transition from student to employee easier. If there’s an area of law you’d like to specialize in seek an internship with an attorney who practices in that area, and like many industries, it’s important for you to network, because a lot opportunities to get your foot in the door comes down to who you know. If you want to become a paralegal start by getting the right education click to request more information

  • Conduct legal research.
  • Organize and present information.
  • Draft documents.
  • Help lawyers prepare for trials or hearings etc.

Should I Become a Paralegal?

Some paralegals specialize in one area of legal matters while others may have multiple specializations. For instance, a paralegal may specialize in family, environmental, real estate law, bankruptcy or worker's compensation etc. Paralegals mostly spend their time working in law offices or libraries. However, sometimes they are required to travel for research purposes or to meet clients.

Education Required

At least a certificate or an associate’s degree for entry-level positions.

At least a bachelor's degree for advanced level positions.

Major Requirement

Paralegal Studies


Professional certification is recommended


Although requirements vary by specialty, most employers prefer candidates with 2-5 years of field experience.

Key Skills

Communication, Computer, Interpersonal, Organizational and Research Skills required.

Annual Mean Salary (2018)

$54,500 (for all Paralegals and Legal Assistants)

Job Outlook 

12% (Much faster than average)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Even though the specific job requirements vary by specialty, employers usually prefer candidates who possess 2 to 5 years of field experience. In 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported an annual mean salary of $54,500 for Paralegals and Legal Assistants. Furthermore, a 12% employment growth is to be expected in this career between 2018 and 2028 which is a lot faster than the average for all occupations.

Career Requirements

Apart from acquiring formal education, work experience and licensure, Paralegals must have excellent interpersonal, communication and organization skills. Since their job relies heavily on being in touch with clients and lawyers constantly, they must also be well-versed in investigative research to help lawyers with cases. Moreover, computer literacy cannot be neglected as paralegals are consistently required to create and maintain legal documents as well as carry out research using programs like Westlaw and LexisNexis.

Steps to Becoming a Paralegal

All interested individuals who want to pursue this career and become a licensed Paralegal in the U.S. must complete all of the following steps.

Step -1: Education

To begin their career with an entry-level position at a law firm, paralegals must complete at least a certificate or an associate’s degree in Paralegal Studies. However, if you want to have better career prospects, you must graduate from a bachelor’s degree (at least). There are numerous institutions in the U.S. that offer these degrees. For instance, the Bay Path University offers a Certificate of Advanced Paralegal Studies. Whereas, the Roger Williams University offers an Associate of Science and a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Paralegal Studies.

Step-2: Work Experience

Acquiring work experience in the field is very important for building better career opportunities. For this reason, many graduates opt for paid/un-paid internships or apprenticeships at law firms during their studies. For entry level jobs, preference is given to candidates who possess field experience gained via internships. However, for advanced level careers in this field, employers consider candidates who have been working in the field for at least 2 to 5 years.

Step-3: Certification Exams for Licensure

To improve job prospects even more, paralegals often opt for professional certification exams. These exams are offered by the following 3 nationally recognized paralegal professional organizations. The certifications offered by these organizations are as follows:

  1. The National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA)
  • The Paralegal CORE Competency Exam (PCCE).
  • The Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (PACE).
  1. The National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)
  • Certified Paralegal (CP).
  • Advanced Certified Paralegal (ACP).
  1. The Association for Legal Professionals (NALS) (formerly the National Association of Legal Secretaries)

The NALS offers three certifications:

  • ALS (its basic certification).
  • PP (for paralegals).
  • PLS (an advanced certification).

How Much Can I Make as a Paralegal?

According to the information provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Paralegals and Legal Assistants made $55,020 as mean annual income in the US in the year 2019. Their annual median salary was $51,740.

Grantmaking and Giving Services was the top paying industry for this occupation in 2019, with a mean annual wage of $91,110. Among the states, the District of Columbia paid them $82,010 (mean annual wage), the highest among all the states in the US.

Job Outlook

Over the next decade (2019 – 2029), Paralegals and Legal Assistants will get a 10% increase in job opportunities as per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Paralegal?

How long does it take to become a paralegal depends on the path you take to join the field. The most common path students opt for is by getting an associate’s degree from any postsecondary institution. Having said that, since competition is fierce, many employers prefer candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.

Quite a few employers also seek candidates with additional certifications, even though this is not a mandatory requirement. So, it is better to get an extra certification or two from a local or a national paralegal body. In short, it can take you anywhere between a few months to four years (or more in certain cases) to become a paralegal, and start working.

Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:How to become a Paralegal in Georgia?

A:You may need to meet certain educational requirements to work as a Paralegal in Georgia. You can obtain an associate, bachelors or master's degree in Paralegal Studies from an accredited college in Georgia. Organizations like Georgia Association of Paralegals (GAP) can enhance your practical knowledge and expertise as a Paralegal.

Q:How do I become a Paralegal in Georgia with just an associates degree?

A:An associate’s degree in Paralegal studies is typically a two year program. Students can become professional paralegals after competing an associate’s degree in this field. However, they must acquire a paralegal license after completion of the program and register themselves with the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). Law firms and other employers tend to hire licensed paralegals.

Q:What are the prerequisites to becoming a paralegal?

A:In order to be a paralegal, you will be required to produce a high school diploma with a paralegal qualification. You will also be required to clear the interview conducted before admittance to any higher education institute.

Q:How to become a paralegal Georgia without any degree?

A:It is crucial to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree to become a paralegal in Georgia. Owing to the rising competition in the field, students without any educational background may not qualify for lucrative jobs as paralegals in Georgia. Therefore, earning a degree is essential to get hands on career opportunities in well paying law firms and organizations.

Q:How do I become a paralegal online?

A:In order to become a paralegal while pursuing online education, first of all you will need to choose the paralegal studies program you wish to pursue amongst the certificate, associate, and the bachelor programs. Upon selecting the degree program you will be required to select an online institute that matches your specifications from the various online paralegal schools mentioned on our website. Once you have completed the degree online, you will be required to sit for the licensure examination to be allowed to practice in the United States.

Q:Can you become a paralegal with a business administration degree?

A:In the US, there are no specific educational requirements for an individual who wishes to work as a paralegal. A number of lawyers would have no problem in hiring someone with a Business Administration Degree to work as a paralegal with them. We would recommend completing a short certification or diploma program in the field of paralegal to make your resume more suitable for a paralegal position.

Q:How to be a paralegal in Georgia in the shortest time span?

A:To be a paralegal in Georgia in the shortest time span you can pursue the certificate in paralegal studies. The certificate in Paralegal Studies is a one year program offering introductory level information, knowledge and skills to course-takers and prepares them well to enter the workforce at the quickest. After completing the course and entering the workforce, you can pursue further specialized courses in paralegal studies and enhance your career prospects with online education.

Q:Can you use a career diploma to become a paralegal in the United States?

A:Yes, a diploma in paralegal studies can be used to initiate a career as a paralegal. Individuals can complete a diploma in this area after bachelor studies and appear for a paralegal certification or licensing exam. The paralegal diploma provides students with all basic paralegal knowledge. Upon completion of this, individuals can become professional paralegals.

Q:Do I need a Paralegal Certification even though I have a Bachelors in Criminal Justice?

A:Becoming a paralegal actually has no legal requirements. It depends totally upon the lawyer you choose to work for whether they require you to hold a specific degree or qualification. While a bachelor's in criminal justice is certainly enough for you to be able to perform the duties of a paralegal, some lawyers may require that you have a focused education in the field of paralegal. A six month certification or diploma in paralegal will increase your chances of landing a better position as a paralegal.

Q:How to become a Paralegal in GA at the earliest?

A:If you wish to become a paralegal in GA with the minimum time, you can get enrolled in the Certificate of Paralegal Studies being offered in the several online schools listed on our website. This will allow you to complete the program in less than the traditional time taken, i.e. one year. It will allow you to enter the professional paralegal world in GA at the quickest.

Q:Can you tell me the steps to becoming a paralegal in high school?

A:If you want to know the steps to becoming a paralegal, you must know that you will have to study courses related to the subject in your high school too. The subjects you should go for in high school include political and economic issues, economics, European history, contemporary social issues, law and criminal justice, American government and statistics.

Q:My search on how do I become a paralegal in Tennessee mentioned duties. What is the job description for this profession?

A:Paralegals are required to summarize legal documents, research, check legal forms for accuracy, prepare reports and correspond. Main purpose of a paralegal is to support lawyers and assist them during litigation processes. Prospective students are advised to search our website for a list of institutions offering these qualifications.

Q:My search on how do you become a paralegal in GA mentioned legal assistants. Is there a difference between these two professions?

A:Both of these professions perform the same tasks such as drafting contracts, research and conducting investigations. However, legal assistants also help in administrative tasks such as taking phone messages, generating client bills, filing and record keeping. Prospective students can check our website for a list of institutions offering both of these qualifications.

Q:Can a Paralegal File A Law suite?

A:Paralegals can join many sectors such as law litigation, estate law, business and corporate law, and criminal law. The responsibilities, skills and knowledge demanded by each sector vary accordingly. The job responsibilities of paralegals are limited in the scope of law. A paralegal cannot file a suit independently, it can only help prepare the case for the lawyer and collect needed material.

Q:Becoming A Paralegal Online is possible through paralegal certifications, can you tell me what are the program objectives of this certification?

A:A paralegal certification provides you with a strong educational foundation in the field of law. The certification program focuses on key areas such as analytical skills, communication skills, law terminology, justice procedure in the United States, preparing cases, reporting and filing, awareness of the current law needs in the industry etc. The certification basically certifies an individual as qualified for the occupation.

Q:How Do You Become a Paralegal in Georgia if you don’t have any finances?

A:There are a number of ways in which you can become a paralegal in Georgia if you don't have any finances. Students can apply for federal financial aid which is available to U.S. citizens. This aid provides students with grants, scholarships, work study and loan programs. Students can also apply for private loans if federal aid does not cover the entire cost of education. Students can apply for federal aid by filling out the FAFSA form before the appointed deadline date.

Q:Can you give me information on How To Become Legal Assistant after completing high school education?

A:After getting your high school degree you have to further earn paralegal or legal assistant education to become a legal assistant. The most recommended educational path is to pursue an associate's degree in paralegal studies and then go for a bachelor degree in paralegal studies.

Q:What Classes Do I Need To Take In Criminal Justice To Become A Paralegal?

A:To become a paralegal it is important that you earn paralegal education. These are available at associate degree level, bachelors in paralegal, and masters in paralegal studies. The classes of these programs provide you with complete know how of the professions and what skills are needed to become a paralegal. Some institutions also offer paralegal training programs.

Q:How long does it take for a student to become a paralegal?

A:There are many paths to becoming a paralegal. Some individuals opt for an associate degree in paralegal studies while others prefer a bachelor degree. The duration will depend on which paralegal degree or course you choose. An associate degree takes 2 years to complete while a bachelor degree takes 4 years to complete. On the other hand, there are many short paralegal courses available which can be completed in a year. Formal on-the-job training may also be required, which will add to the overall duration.

Q:How to become a paralegal assistant?

A:Previously, each firm used to train their own paralegal assistants but now training as a paralegal is accessible right after high school. An Associate degree in this field takes about two years to complete and a full-time attendance is necessary. Certifications take about three months to twenty-four months. An associate degree is adequate qualification for an entry-level position in this field, but climbing up the career ladder speeds up with each certificate achieved in this field.

Q:What are the main steps to becoming a paralegal if I have already earned a college degree?

A:If you have earned a college degree and wish to pursue a career as a paralegal, you must earn relevant qualifications in this area. You can opt for certifications in paralegal studies, opt for a short course or diploma, or attain a dual degree. There are a number of institutes that provide paralegal courses to interested individuals.

Q:What are the basic requirements to become a paralegal?

A:To become a paralegal it is important that you fulfill all the requirements for this occupation. Firstly it is important that you acquire para legal qualifications from a law school. There are a number of courses and degree programs available in this area.

Q:While I was reading about how to become a legal assistant, I came across its licensing procedure. Can you give some information about this?

A:The license and certification reflects an individual's expertise in a certain academic field. So once you have completed your para legal education, the next step is to earn a certification from a recognized authority such as The National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).

Q:Can you be a paralegal with a business degree?

A:If you have already completed bachelor education in a different academic field and wish to become a paralegal, you can enroll in a paralegal certificate program. There are certain short courses and diploma programs available in paralegal studies. These are geared towards providing students with knowledge and legal skills required for a career as a paralegal.

Q:As I was trying to figure out how many years does it take to be a paralegal, I heard that acquiring a license for this profession is mandatory. Is this true?

A:No, licensing is not mandatory. You can opt for a certification instead. A certification can be earned from various recognized associations such as the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA).

Q:As I was reading about how do i become a paralegal, I heard that I should gain practical experience as well. Why?

A:Once you have completed a paralegal course, it is always recommended that you enroll in an internship program and gain some practical experience. You can work with a recognized law firm and learn how to assist in cases. Some paralegal courses have internship programs embedded in their curriculum. You can search online for internship programs and start applying now.

Q:How do you become paralegal professional who can work in different work environments?

A:You have to start by getting a degree in paralegal studies. Paralegal degree holders (associates, bachelors and masters) must register themselves with National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) so that they can start work as a paralegal professional. Potential employers look for certified degree holders and licensed individuals. Paralegals can choose to assist legal attorneys and hence can work in as many areas. Some of these fields include litigation, employment, healthcare and real estate.

Q:How to become paralegal assistant?

A:A paralegal assistant is basically a professional who assist legal experts in cases. To join this career field, you must attain a paralegal qualification. Many law schools are offering paralegal courses that are designed to equip students with legal knowledge and skills.

Q:How long does it take to become paralegal?

A:To begin a career as a paralegal you need to have an associate degrees and certificates in paralegal studies. It will take you 2-3 years to complete you associate degrees, while a certificate course can take almost three to twenty-four months for completion. Almost every school offering education in this field now offers bachelor's and master's degrees in paralegal studies. The duration will depend upon the academic route you choose.

Q:Is becoming paralegal possible through online programs?

A:Yes it is possible to prepare yourself for a paralegal career via online programs. Many paralegal schools are offering online paralegal courses and degrees. These can be pursued conveniently and are designed to equip you with legal knowledge and skills needed to become a paralegal.

Q:Can a person become a paralegal through self study without a degree?

A:Self studying in order to become a paralegal is not an advisable option as most paralegals and legal assistants usually have an associate's degree in paralegal studies, or a bachelor's degree in another field and a certificate in paralegal studies. Without a degree, it is not possible to become a paralegal and to be hired as such by employers generally.

Q:Are there any exams that have to be taken in order to be a paralegal?

A:To become a paralegal, you must have formal education in paralegal studies. There are many schools offering paralegal degree programs. Although a license is not necessary for this occupation, it is recommended that you have a certification from a recognized organization. It is important to remember that the certification and training requirements for paralegals will vary from state to state.

Q:Are there any combined paralegal and business admin degrees?

A:Paralegal degrees are geared towards providing students with in-depth knowledge of law and administrative practices. The program will shed light upon various law related subjects and business areas. You can search online to see which schools are offering dual degrees in this area. Browse through our page for more information.

Q:Paralegal education programs entail what?

A:Paralegal degree programs are designed to prepare students for careers as legal assistants. The program will cover a wide range of law-related subjects and legal terminology. Students will also learn about basic management concepts and administrative roles. The curriculum will vary from place to place and will depend upon the level of the degree/program being pursued.

Q:What steps do I need to take to become a paralegal in America?

A:In order to become a paralegal in the United States you must take several steps. You must get enrolled in a college or university to acquire at least an associate's degree in paralegal studies. Some colleges and universities also offer bachelor's and master's degrees in paralegal studies. Most colleges that offer a program in paralegal studies will also require you to complete a professional law internship as part of the curriculum.

Q:How do you become a Paralegal without a high school diploma?

A:To become a paralegal without a high school diploma, you must give the GED exam instead. Getting a GED will allow you to continue on to a associate or bachelor's degree in law and legal studies which eventually lead to careers as a paralegal.

Q:What schooling do you need to be a paralegal?

A:The schooling that you need to be a paralegal starts with finishing your high school diploma or an equivalent GED qualification. After that, you should move on to either an associate's degree in legal and paralegal studies or a bachelor's degree in the same subjects. Upon finishing the bachelor's you will be eligible to apply to entry level paralegal positions

Q:What to do to be a paralegal? Which steps do I need to take?

A:You need to enroll in a community college or university that offers an associate's degree in paralegal studies program. Some colleges and universities also offer bachelor's and master's degree programs in paralegal studies. Most paralegal programs also require you to complete a legal internship to successfully complete the paralegal studies program.

Q:What degree do you need to become a paralegal?

A:To become a paralegal, you must have at least an associate-level degree in paralegal studies. There are many institutes offering paralegal degree programs at associate and bachelor level. These programs aim at providing students with knowledge of the law industry, legal terminology, and legal research. Individuals can also opt for a short certificate program in paralegal education.

Q:What are the requirements to become a paralegal?

A:If you plan to become a paralegal, you must have a degree or certification in paralegal studies. You can choose from different paralegal programs at associate and bachelor level. These programs will equip you with in-depth knowledge of the legal industry. You can also opt for a certificate in paralegal studies.

Q:Why become a paralegal?

A:According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary of paralegals and legal assistants was $48,350 in May 2014. The employment growth rate for this profession is 17% which is faster than average. This field is expected to grow in demand in the coming few years. Paralegal assistants can seek work in all kinds of law firms and corporations. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Q:What do paralegal do?

A:Paralegals perform a range of tasks on the job, and basically provide supportive services to lawyers and attorneys. Some of the duties included in the jobs description are: conducting legal research, drafting legal documents and transcripts, helping lawyers prepare for a trial, managing legal paperwork and documentation, gathering and recording legal evidence, making affidavits, and maintaining electronic filing systems.

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