Degree Description: South University offers a degree plan that is designed for those who are interested in practicing law, but do not want to become full-on attorneys. Throughout the program, students will learn the essential skills needed to properly assist practicing attorneys in evaluating lawsuits, real estate transactions, and cases dealing with bankruptcy and domestic law. Coursework will also train students on how to interview clients, prepare legal documents, and organize cases for trial. During the first portion of the curriculum, in addition to taking general education courses such as English, humanities, and social science, students will be required to take courses that will improve their technology and computer skills, totaling 52 credit hours. Students will then be required to take 52 credit hours that will teach them the necessary concepts of the law like estate planning and probate, criminal law and real estate law to name a few courses. A total of 104 credit hours will be needed to earn this degree. Classes typically cost $361 per credit hour. Full-time students pursing this program usually take about two years to earn this degree.
Degree Outlook: A career as a paralegal is a very fulfilling choice for those who do not have the time or are not ready to make the commitment as a lawyer. While paralegals are employed to assist attorneys with several cases and transactions via reading and writing court documents, paralegals are now taking on more complex responsibilities,including those that are usually accomplished by lawyers. For example, many paralegals are responsible for presenting case studies, providing legal advice and setting legal fees, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment opportunities for paralegals will continue to steadily increase within the next couple of years, according to the Bureau. Paralegals and legal assistants are expected to see a 28 percent job growth throughout the 2008-18 decade, adding 74,100 new jobs to the market, the Bureau states. Most opportunities will reside in private firms, yet the Bureau notes jobs will become more available as organizations hire paralegals to complete minor legal transactions at a cheaper price. While salary varies depending on employer and place of employment paralegals earn on average earn $46,120, according to the Bureau.