Paralegals and legal assistants usually work behind the scenes and form the support staff of lawyers; assisting them daily in preparing for trials, hearings and corporate meetings. Their main duties include carrying out legal research, maintaining and organizing files as well as drafting documents. While lesser credentials such as associate or bachelor’s degrees may be enough to pursue a career as a paralegal, a master’s degree in paralegal studies can give students a distinctive edge in the competitive job market.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of paralegals and legal assistants is estimated to grow by 17 per cent from 2012 to 2022, a rate that is faster than the average of all other occupations. Paralegals and legal assistants are much in demand and many are seeking higher qualifications. Many accredited universities and colleges are thus offering masters in paralegal studies degree programs to cater to this demand for advanced degrees.
Generally, in order to enroll in masters degree programs in paralegal studies, students need to have at least an associate or bachelor’s degree. The exact admission requirements may vary from school to school. Some schools might also conduct admission tests followed by interviews.
A masters in paralegal studies can typically be completed in two years. Students have the option of pursuing a full time on campus or an online degree program. While the curriculum may vary from program to program, generally, students in masters in paralegal studies degree programs get to study courses such as:
Legal research and writing
Corporations and contract law
Government contracts law
Elements of intellectual property law
Prosecution on intellectual property law
Litigation in intellectual property law
International trade and finance
Masters degree programs in paralegal studies may require students to undertake an independent research and present a final thesis or dissertation. Masters degree programs are usually designed in such a way that students get a good grasp on the philosophical, historical, theoretical and practical study of law. Students in master’s degree programs benefit from good analytical and critical thinking skills learnt during the course of the program and are able to utilize their knowledge in the best possible manner, in any legal professional setting.
Many paralegal master’s degree programs offer internship opportunities for students, in which students can gain valuable practical experience by working in offices of public defenders, private law firms, corporate legal department s or government agencies.
Master’s degree students in paralegal studies can specialize in areas such as:
Online Masters Degree in Paralegal Studies
Many accredited universities offer online masters degree programs in paralegal studies. The course curriculum is usually the same as on campus programs. Online programs are usually more flexible and affordable than on campus programs. Working professionals and career changers can easily pursue online master’s degree programs in paralegal studies and enhance their legal knowledge. They can study wherever they want and wherever they want without disrupting their normal working routines. Online programs also tend to be cheaper than on campus programs and students get to save on stationary and transport costs.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for paralegals and legal assistants was $46,990 in May 2012.
How Long Does It Take to Complete a Master’s Degree in Paralegal Studies?
Paralegals are the foundations of a law firm who work behind the scenes and provide all kinds of legal support to the lawyers. Even though paralegals can work in the firms with a bachelor’s or an associate’s degree, having a master’s degree in Paralegal Studies is certainly beneficial if you wish to earn more.
Many accredited universities across the U.S. are offering master’s degrees in Paralegal Studies as a full-time/part-time on-campus program as well as an online program. The curriculum of all these programs is not very different from each other and can be covered in a span of 1 to 3 years. However, the online master’s degree may take longer.
What Are the Requirements to Complete a Master’s Degree in Paralegal Studies?
To earn a master’s degree in Paralegal Studies, the students are required to complete a combination of coursework, projects, assignments, comprehensive exams and a thesis. In addition to getting a master’s degree in Paralegal Studies, one must be well versed in working with a computer and using internet. Having good typing skills and good knowledge of legal statutes may also give you an edge over other applicants.
How Much Can I Make After Completing a Master’s Degree in Paralegal Studies?
With reference to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics data of 2018, the yearly median salary of paralegals and legal assistants was $50,940. Moreover, the employment rate of paralegals and legal assistants is expected to grow by 12% in the coming years (2018-2028).
Frequently Asked Question(s)
Q:My search about paralegals with MBA’s mentioned a course on environmental law. What is included in this course?
A:Environmental law would be mentioned when searching for paralegals with MBA's. This course is worth 3 credit hours and discusses the federal and state environmental policies and law. This course guides the students in the roles of government, administrative and private agencies. Environmental law also discusses the ethical issues involved in detail. More information about this course is available on our website.
Q:Can you please tell me the general coursework for a master in paralegal studies program?
A:A master in paralegal studies degree program generally includes courses in legal research and writing, American jurisprudence, corporations and contracts law, government contracts law, administrative law, international litigation, intellectual property law as well as international trade and finance. The exact coursework varies from program to program and from school to school.
Q:What admission requirements do I need for a master in paralegal studies?
A:Admission requirements for a paralegal master degree will vary from school to school. However, in most cases, to pursue a master degree the student must hold a bachelor's degree from an institute recognized by regional accreditation agencies. Most universities will require an application form, resume, statement of purpose and transcripts of prior education. These requirements are standardized for online and on-campus degrees.
Q:How can I do a paralegal master programs online?
A:There are over 500 schools in the US offering paralegal master's programs online. You will need to search online to see which one will be suited to you. You will be asked to fill an application and provide your transcripts to the institution and if you fit their admission criteria you can begin your online paralegal masters online. Normally you should have a bachelor degree in a related field of study to pursue a master's degree.
Q:How long will it take me to complete the Masters in Paralegal Studies?
A:The paralegal studies master's degree can be completed within one to three years. However, with online degree options available students can also choose to stretch out their degree's duration. The Masters in Paralegal Studies is a graduate level degree which requires a minimum of a bachelor's degree in a related computer subject in order to enroll.
Q:How long is the Masters Degree in Paralegal Studies?
A:The Masters Degree In Paralegal Studies is a graduate degree program which can take anywhere between one to three years to complete. Student's of this master's degree may choose to pursue the degree online in order to avoid the costs related to commuting to college/university. With online education, students can also choose to slightly change the structure and duration of the degree.
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