How ABA Approved Paralegal Programs Can Advance Your Law Career

Paralegal degrees are becoming increasingly popular in today’s workforce. But what exactly does a paralegal do? Most people assume that a paralegal is simply an assistant to a lawyer, but there is much more to the job that should be considered before investing your time and money into pursuing this career.

About Paralegals

Paralegals are also referred to as legal assistants and engage in a variety of legal activities, including:
• Conducting client interviews and maintain general contact with the client 
• Locate and interview witnesses 
• Conduct investigations, statistical and documentary research 
• Conduct legal research
• Draft legal documents, correspondent and pleadings
• Summarize depositions, interrogations and testimony
• Attend real estate closings, depositions, court or administrative hearings and trails with attorneys
• Assist attorneys with trial preparation
If these activities interest you, then you may want to learn more about becoming a paralegal. To help you get started, we review the general steps required to become a paralegal.


Becoming a paralegal typically requires formal education. Paralegals are required to know many of the same topics as attorneys. In many cases, employers prefer candidates who have earned their credentials from a program approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).
So, how do you choose the right program? Should you get an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree or a post-baccalaureate certificate? 

This depends on a few factors.  First, if you already possess a bachelor’s degree and want to become a paralegal, you can select a post-baccalaureate paralegal certificate to prepare for your career. If you possess an associate degree, you can consider a bachelor’s degree in Paralegal Studies, especially one that allows you to apply your transfer credits toward your new degree. If you are just starting out, you can consider an associate degree in Paralegal Studies, especially one that articulates directly into a bachelor’s program.

For those who already hold a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in another field, Peirce’s one-year paralegal certificate is approved by the ABA and can jump start a legal career.  
Next, you should think about the environment you want to work in.  Do you want to work for a law firm, a corporate legal department, a financial institution, a health organization, a community outreach program or a government agency? 
Do your research. Paralegal associations can typically provide you with information on potential career paths. When you explore all of the paralegal opportunities available and determine which environment is right for you, it can be easier to predict your path to become a paralegal. 

Paralegal Studies at Peirce College

 Paralegal Studies programs at Peirce are approved by the ABA and provide you with the solid foundation and academic credentials required for a successful career as a paralegal.  We offer an Associate in Science in Paralegal Studies, a Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies and a post-baccalaureate certificate in Paralegal Studies
In each program, you will take courses on legal research and writing, civil litigation, contract law, tort law and criminal law, professional legal responsibility and legal technology. 
The associate degree in Paralegal Studies also includes a capstone experience as well as additional requirements in general education and electives. It is a 61-credit program. 
The bachelor’s degree in Paralegal Studies includes everything in the associate program as well as courses in family law, real estate law, business organizations and advanced courses in legal research and technology, a baccalaureate-level capstone and additional elective requirements.  It is a 121-credit program. 

The post-baccalaureate certificate in Paralegal Studies is designed for students who already possess a bachelor’s degree and includes courses on legal research and writing, civil litigation, contract law, tort law and criminal law, professional legal responsibility and legal technology. It is a 25-credit certificate. 
Each program is designed around the unique needs of working adults and is completed through a combination of online and on-campus classes, which allow you to earn your degree on your schedule. 
Up to 30 transfer credits can be applied to the associate degree and up to 90 transfer credits can be applied to the bachelor’s degree. Students can also earn credit for professional and military training and college-level knowledge gained outside the traditional classroom.  Peirce has created affordable, degree completion pathways that make it possible for you to complete your bachelor’s degree in Paralegal Studies for about $20,000

Getting a Job

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of paralegals and legal assistants is expected to grow by 15% through 2026, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.
Once you have completed your education credentials, we recommend contacting your local professional paralegal association to find job opportunities in your area. These organizations can be a great resource for paralegal professionals.  You should also determine if your state requires any additional certification beyond earning a degree or certificate.  In Pennsylvania, this type of certification is voluntary and not required for employment.

At Peirce, our internship program provides an exciting opportunity for you to gain valuable workplace experience outside the classroom. 

If you select one of the ABA approved paralegal programs at Peirce, you will also have access to our Career Development Services counselors, who will guide you through the process of finding the right paralegal opportunities for you. 

To take the next step, contact our Admissions Team or apply today.