Denver, CO (PRWEB) February 4, 2009
‎Although the job market is bleak, the high demand for paralegals makes it an attractive choice for a new ‎and diverse career, regardless of age. Colorado Community College Online's new expanded 24/7 Online ‎Degreed and Paralegal Certificate Program now provides an opportunity for the legions of jobless or those ‎fearing the loss of their job to retrain for another career. ‎
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment of paralegals is growing much faster than the ‎average, as employers try to reduce costs by hiring paralegals to perform tasks once done by lawyers. It ‎predicts that the employment of paralegals and legal assistants will grow 22 percent between 2006 and ‎‎2016. Competition for jobs should continue; experienced, formally trained paralegals should have the best ‎employment opportunities, according to BLS. (Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition, http://‎http://www.bls.gov/oco/oco20016.htm)‎
BLS reports that wages start in the mid-30's and move upward to 60K per year depending on private or ‎government based positions. Legal Assistant Today magazine reports that the national average salary for ‎paralegals in 2007 increased 3.7 percent to $52,979. ‎
CCCOnline's program offers the same level of courses to those taught at most paralegal schools. ‎Contracts, torts, family law, criminal law, and civil litigation are a few of the core courses required to ‎complete the paralegal program. Paralegals must be proficient in legal research and writing. Its course ‎offerings either enable students to earn a certificate or fully accredited Associate of Arts Degrees, ‎Associate of Applied Science Degrees in Paralegal or a Paralegal Certificate entirely online. ‎
Most paralegals entering the field have an associate degree in paralegal studies, or a bachelor's degree ‎coupled with a certificate in paralegal studies. At CCCOnline, an Associate's degree is only 30 credits; a ‎Paralegal Certificate requires only 21 credits. If experienced paralegals want to change specialties or ‎bolster their resume, they may take one or two specific paralegal courses. CCCOnline recently added ‎fifteen new courses. Classes run concurrently every semester; courses run in 10 and 15-week sessions. ‎CCCOnline provides an accessible way for students to get the proper education to enter the workforce at ‎their own convenience, without the hassle of traveling or tight schedules. Students can register online at ‎http://www.ccconline.org/courses/programs/Paralegal, whether in or out of the state of Colorado.
‎CCCOnline is a consortium of the thirteen member colleges in the Colorado Community College system ‎that includes Dawson Community College of Montana, Northwest Missouri State University, and Pickens ‎Tech of Denver. The Higher Learning Commission is a Commission of the North Central Association of ‎Colleges and Schools that accredits Colorado Community Colleges.
A paralegal is an on-demand professional, performing substantive legal tasks similar to an attorney. Both ‎the private and public sectors across the nation employ paralegals. Hiring paralegals to perform tasks once ‎done by lawyers reduces costs and increases the availability and efficiency of legal services. Pegged as hot ‎commodities, paralegals are performing a wider variety of duties, making them more useful to businesses, ‎government, and nonprofits. ‎
Today paralegals are fulfilling an important role in an expanding and graying population that increasingly ‎requires legal services, especially in areas such as elder issues and health care. With technology continuing ‎to stimulate increasing demand for legal services in intellectual property, paralegals are assuming more ‎responsibility and becoming more valuable. The growth of prepaid legal plans also should contribute to the ‎demand for legal services, according to BLS.‎
BLS predicts that private law firms will continue to be the largest employers of paralegals, but that a ‎growing array of other organizations, such as corporate legal departments, insurance companies, real ‎estate and title insurance firms, and banks also hire paralegals. Corporations in particular are increasing ‎their in-house legal departments to cut costs. In part because of the range of tasks they can perform, ‎various small and medium-sized establishments are also increasingly employing paralegals in all specialties.‎
Diane van Os, Program Chair, and CCCOnline ‎