Most people believe that if you are going to pursue a career in law, you must make a huge educational commitment to law school. For those who are not ready to make that commitment, there are still career opportunities in the field of law, however. Becoming a paralegal is a great way to pursue your dreams of a law career. A paralegal is an individual who works with lawyers to provide case assistance. Becoming a paralegal in Iowa does not require years and years of training. Let’s look at how you become a paralegal in Iowa.
What Do Paralegals Do Professionally?
Paralegals will provide assistance in a law office. Some of the tasks they will be expected to do include preparing cases for the lawyer. This prep work ensures that the cases can get to court quickly. This is an important service for both the lawyer and the client. Paralegals also perform administrative duties such as answering phone calls, gathering info, gathering case evidence, and much more.
This type of job allows you to work closely with legal professionals to ensure that our justice system runs smoothly and that clients receive the assistance they need from their legal team.
What Kind of Skills Do I Need?
If you are wondering how to become a paralegal in Iowa, you will want to consider what skills you already have to bring to this profession. There are paralegal degree programs that can provide training, but you also need some personal skills already.
Reading comprehension will be a vital skill in this profession. While working as a paralegal in Iowa, you will need to be able to read large amounts of material quickly and be able to gather the necessary information out of that material quickly.
It is also necessary that you have proficient writing skills as well. You will be expected to compose emails and letters as the law office communicates with the court, clients, and other lawyers.
Communication skills will be an important part of your day-to-day duties as well. You will need to be able to communicate with clients, court employees, and other attorneys. You will need to be able to deliver and receive information quickly and efficiently.
Many paralegals are also required to perform day-to-day administrative tasks. You should be able to execute these tasks with skill in an organized way. These types of tasks can include taking phone calls, scheduling appointments, keeping up with court dates, scheduling for the lawyer, and document management.
What Type of Training Should I Get?
The type of training needed in order to land a job as a paralegal will vary greatly depending on where you work and who you wind up working for. Paralegal degree programs are the traditional method for obtaining training for this career.
Paralegal degree programs are often provided at community colleges as well as larger universities. These programs can be found on campus or online. Online paralegal degree programs allow you a great amount of flexibility as you prepare for this exciting career. Some states in the US will require that you go through a paralegal certification process as well.
Many law offices will hire a paralegal who has obtained an associate’s degree in paralegal studies. This type of degree will prepare you for the duties you will be required to perform. These programs can usually be completed in two years or less.
There are also bachelor’s degree programs in paralegal studies available. These programs will take 4 years to complete. You may find that you qualify for higher-paying jobs if you have this more advanced type of paralegal degree.
Some lawyers prefer to train their paralegals themselves, however. In these cases, you might be able to get a paralegal job without a degree. However, you will be limited as to where you can work in the future.
What Type of Salary Does A Paralegal Make?
The amount of money you make will vary greatly depending on where you work and who you work for. It is estimated that people in this profession make approximately $50,940 annually, according to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. This field has a healthy projection of job growth for the next several years as well, meaning you will enjoy job security in this career.
Iowa Paralegal Programs
In the state of Iowa, there are several programs to choose from which can prepare you for a career as a paralegal. Some of these programs are offered as online paralegal degree programs. Some of the programs available include:
- Drake University
- University of Iowa
- Western Iowa Tech Community College
- Grand View University
- Iowa Lakes Community College
- Kirkwood Community College
This information can get you started on the path to becoming a paralegal in Iowa. If you are ready to start your training today, you should speak with an admission counselor at one of the schools listed above, or research other schools which provide this program.