So, you think you’d like to become a paralegal in the state of Wyoming? If that is the case, then you should know that you have a long road ahead of you. However, you should also know that the long road will be well worth it once you reach the end. If you can commit yourself to all of the time and effort that it takes to have a career as a paralegal, then the end result will be a long, lucrative, and fruitful career in a vast and ever growing field.
Though you will definitely need to have some kind of a formal education, you will be glad to know that there is no one, set way to achieve a career as a paralegal. Instead, you can choose from several different options. The route most people take toward becoming paralegals is simply to obtain an associate’s degree, which can usually be done in about two years on average.
Most commonly, associate’s level degrees are earned from community colleges or from trade or technical schools, which are very affordable options. However, if you are looking for something more, there is always room to take it to the next level.
That is what bachelor’s degree programs are for. These programs take around four years, on average, to complete. However, the additional time and effort is generally considered well worth it. That is because those who have bachelor’s degrees, as opposed to lower level degrees, tend to have an easier time finding jobs in the field. Also, they usually start out with higher salaries and have more opportunities for advancement.
The job market for paralegal careers is growing increasingly more competitive in these troubled economic times, so the best thing that you can do is to find something, like a bachelor’s degree, that helps you to stand out above the competition.
For those who already have a degree in an unrelated area, don’t think that you have to start your education over from scratch. You still have the option of pursuing a paralegal certificate, which can be done in as little as six months to a year.
Certificates are designed specifically for those coming into the field later in life, after they have already pursued interests in other areas. They are also for those who hold bachelor’s degrees that have not been approved by the American Bar Association and that require further validation.
When you do have your education, however you may have pursued it, you will want your next step to be an internship of some kind. Ideally, your internship will be one that is as closely related as possible to the career that you would ultimately like to have. Internships, which are just like real jobs in the field, can be done for pay, for free, or for school credit.
In any case, they should be treated as seriously as possible. They serve as a wonderful way to start building up a resume, to gain experience, and to make important connections with serious professionals within the field.
You can find out about internships by asking the career center or its equivalent at your college or university. You may also search local job listings, where you will often find internships listed. For the very ambitious, you have the opportunity to contact agencies or companies directly to inquire about internship opportunities.
Know that your responsibilities and expectations will vary considerably from one internship to the next but, in any case, they are the first real step toward a long and lasting paralegal career.