Guest Author - Susan D. Bates
Meet Maria T. Brown, a student at Clayton State University. She is currently earning an associate degree in paralegal studies.
Previously, Ms. Brown was a paralegal in the United States military and really enjoyed it. After leaving the military she began a career in sales. However, she missed working as a paralegal and decided to explore options to become a civilian paralegal.
Before enrolling in a paralegal studies program, Ms. Brown researched the field. She checked to see what credentials she would need to practice in the field as a civilian paralegal. Ms. Brown also researched the career outlook to make sure the career field was growing. She wanted to ensure that there would be jobs available when she graduated. In addition, she researched the expected salary for a civilian paralegal in her area. The salary of paralegals varies greatly from location to location. She needed to verify that it would be financially prudent to change careers. After her research, she decided to take steps toward a career as a paralegal.
While doing her research on the paralegal career field, Ms. Brown discovered that it is a very demanding career. This was consistent with her work as a paralegal in the military as well. However, she explained that the amount of information she needed to know to work with military law dwarfed in comparison to the amount of information she needs to know to work with civilian law.
There are a variety of programs that qualify students to become paralegals. Students may become qualified to work as paralegals through associate degree programs, bachelor's degree programs, and certificate programs.
After her research, Ms. Brown enrolled in a blended-learning associate degree program. In blended learning programs, students take some of their courses online, while other courses are taken in a traditional classroom.
Ms. Brown is working toward her Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal studies. The program she selected is an American Bar Association (ABA) approved program. The degree program requires both legal coursework and general education. Some of the legal coursework that is required to complete this program includes legal research and writing, civil litigation, criminal litigation, real estate law, and family law. She will be able to select additional legal coursework to take to fulfill her legal electives.
Ms. Brown is looking forward to graduating and returning to paralegal work. She said that it is a great field for anyone who loves both researching and debating. She encourages students who are interested in the filed to research it to ensure that it is a good fit for them.
Image provided Maria T. Brown. All image rights belong to her.