A master’s degree in paralegal studies is considered to be the most-prestigious paralegal credential available. Choosing to pursue this type of paralegal program will allow you the opportunity to pursue a supervisory role or a highly specialized legal area.
While they are not lawyers by trade, paralegals certainly have established their role in today’s legal system. The relationships forged between paralegals and the lawyers they support directly impact how a case is concluded or how research is received. Students who successfully complete a paralegal studies masters program – such as a master of science or master of professional studies – will be well-suited to continue developing in this-ever-growing industry. A master’s degree will allow you to get in-depth legal knowledge, which can open countless career doors in your future.
Jobs & Salaries
Paralegals who have expertise in dealing with real estate, bankruptcy, and product liability are in higher demand due to recent economic and legal trends. A paralegal professional (or paraprofessional) with an advanced degree, coupled with existing expertise in any area, is well suited to grow as a specialist or manager. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2015, the top ten percent of paralegals earned an annual salary of $79,010. Paralegals with higher education and experience are more likely to earn more than a paralegal with only an associate’s degree. In addition to higher education, paralegals with added knowledge of popular software applications may be more likely to stand out and climb the salary ladder.
To enroll in a paralegal studies master’s degree program you will need to have completed your bachelor’s degree. If you have a bachelor’s degree in something other than paralegal or legal studies, you may need to take additional classes or a paralegal baccalaureate certification course before being able to begin the master’s program. However, many master’s programs require that you have professional experience in the paralegal field prior to applying to their program. Once you are enrolled in a paralegal master’s program and if you choose to focus your studies on government and international law, then you can expect to take the following classes:
- American Jurisprudence
- Advanced Legal Research and Writing
- Government Contracts Law
- Health Care Corporate Compliance
- International Law
Classes offered in a master’s program largely depend on the legal specialty that you are pursuing. If you are interested in corporate law, than you will take classes that revolve around that legal system. Choosing to obtain a master’s in paralegal studies in order to be qualified for a management role will require you to learn more about law as a whole as well as various management techniques. A master’s degree in paralegal studies can take between 18 months to two years to complete depending on the program and your prior coursework and professional experience.
Master’s Degrees in Paralegal Studies
- George Washington University — MPS in Paralegal Studies
- Grand Canyon University — MS in Criminal Justice: Legal Studies
- St Leo University — MS in Criminal Justice: Legal Studies
How to Get Started as a Paralegal
The first step in becoming a paralegal is to find an accredited paralegal studies program. Most paralegals have an associate’s degree or a certificate in paralegal studies, while some earn a bachelor’s or even a master’s degree in paralegal studies. The following programs fulfill these criteria and might make excellent options:
Miller-Motte Technical College