Paralegal Education in Alabama
A paralegal in Alabama can be a rewarding and secure career. Many of those employed are under salary for private companies who prefer to retain the services of an in-house paralegal rather than a more expensive lawyer. These private companies would include banks, corporations, defense contractors, and insurance companies, all establishments where proper legalities are key.
Paralegals are one of the few positions in the modern workforce that is in demand with a growing, sustainable need. They enjoy a variety of functions and provide necessary legal documents, research and assistance in preparation toward trial. They may also interview witnesses, meet with the clients, and review critical documents with a discerning eye. They are highly essential in today’s private infrastructure.
|In USD as of Feb 6, 2013 (source: indeed.com)||25k||50k||75k|
|Paralegal in Alabama $47,000|
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Training and Education
Alabama is one of the few states that puts forth no minimal requirements for education and training in the field. In Alabama, one can secure the title of paralegal through either an Associate’s degree tailored for paralegal studies or certification if one already possesses an AA degree. On-the-job training may also be a consideration, but the wages of the untrained are significantly lower. Salaries will also depend on the size of the private company who hires the paralegal, as will any preferences toward how or if their hires have received special education. Training is recommended, however, if for no other reason than for securing a well-paying job within a good company. As of February 2013 an experienced paralegal who worked full-time in Alabama enjoyed an average salary of $47,000.The end wages will vary depending on location, experience, training, and aforementioned employing firm size. Smaller companies might post jobs on craigslist or in the newspaper, while larger firms will go directly to schools who will then post the listing publicly for their students.
Most paralegals are expected to put in some long hours, especially when cases are about to go to trial. The higher salaries reflect those requirements, but firms may also offer secondary perks and benefits to retain employees. The more education and experience you have, the greater the perks. To this end, night courses at a community college or online can also help your cause if you are working toward gaining higher education in a learn-on-the-job situation.
There are a number of schools, both brick-and-mortar or online- that offer paralegal studies and where a Bachelor’s degree or even a Master’s degree can be obtained and certification is possible. The American Bar Association asserts that as of 2011, Alabama boasts six ABA-approved paralegal programs (though these schools are not the only ones from which Alabama firms hire and ABA approval is not a requisite to being hired):
- South University
- Community College of the Air Force
- Gadsden State Community College
- Faulkner University
- Gadsden Samford University
- Auburn University at Montgomery
There are several support associations for paralegals who are looking for employment or have already gained it. The Alabama Association of Paralegals, Inc. offers members regional meetings, a job bank, a quarterly newsletter, employment referral, and networking possibilities.
The Northeast Alabama Litigation Support Association is affiliated with the National Association of Legal Assistants and any paralegal in any location across Alabama is welcome. It’s not just for paralegals, but for students in paralegal studies, lawyers, firms and any association promoting paralegal services.
If you have ever considered a job where law is involved or would be interested in making a career shift, becoming a paralegal is a smart move with an excellent future. Whether you have a degree and simply need a few months of certification or you would prefer to gain a full degree in paralegal studies, it is a dynamic, growing field with a great deal of diversity and employer demand.
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