For many people, there is a great interest in the legal system. Not only do many movies and television shows make employment within the system seem glamorous, the salaries of many legal professionals can also be incredibly impressive. However, not everyone has the time, effort or desire to attend college for four years and then law school for another three in order to become a lawyer.
If you still want to work in the legal system, assist lawyers and do research for upcoming trials, then the best option for you might be to follow these steps and become a paralegal by earning your degree online.
Secure a High School Diploma or Equivalent
The first step toward this new career path will be ensuring that you have either a high school diploma or a general education degree. No matter what your experience or age, every college, university or vocational school offering a degree program in your field will require applicants to have this basic certification. If for some reason you don’t have a high school diploma or a GED, you can complete either one online and then move to the associate or bachelor’s level later.
Apply For an Online Degree Program
If you meet the basic requirements for admission, then it is time to start applying to various colleges that offer the online study option. Although this subject is offered at traditional college campuses, most busy students find that the online option is a smarter and more efficient use of time. Rather than driving, commuting, parking and sitting in lecture halls at set times, you can use your computer to complete the work from any location. After you have applied for one of these programs, wait until you are accepted.
Complete the Coursework and Exams Online
Accepted? Great! Now you can begin actually earning your degree online. Whether you opted for the two-year associate degree or the four-year bachelor’s degree, you syllabus will typically include subjects like legal ethics, legal research, civil litigation and personal injury law. You can stream lectures live online, watch recorded classroom sessions and even chat with fellow classmates online in order to prepare for your online exams.
Get a Paralegal Certification
Although it is possible to find a career without this certification, it is the perfect companion to your degree. Each state has a governing body in charge of licensing legal employees, which means that you will need to find out the specific guidelines in your area before applying for the certification.
Begin Your New Career
With a degree and a state certification, the career possibilities for graduates are endless. Many will end up working directly for lawyers in large legal firms, but you might also be interested in a career with the criminal justice system or your local district attorney’s office. Many graduates also work directly with in-house lawyers for retail companies or financial firms.