Certificate Program in Paralegal Studies

SMU Paralegal Certificate | About the Paralegal Industry

For years, the paralegal profession has ranked as one of the fastest growing professions in the U.S. In the 2008-09 edition of U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, the following “significant points” were emphasized about the paralegal profession.

  • Employment is projected to grow much faster than average, as employers try to reduce costs by hiring paralegals to perform tasks once done by lawyers.
  • Most entrants have an associate’s degree in paralegal studies, or a bachelor’s degree coupled with a certificate in paralegal studies.
  • About 7 out of 10 work for law firms; others work for corporate legal departments and government agencies.
  • Competition for jobs should continue. Experienced, formally trained paralegals should have the best employment opportunities.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics goes on to state that "paralegals and legal assistants held about 238,000 jobs in 2009," and that "despite projected rapid employment growth, competition for jobs is expected to continue as many people seek to go into this profession." If you are thinking about obtaining a certificate in paralegal studies, you are on the right track. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, "experienced, formally trained paralegals will have the best employment opportunities" in the field.

Additional information on the Paralegal Profession: