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How do I Become an Employment Paralegal?

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  • Written By: Alexis W.
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 20 September 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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An employment paralegal works with attorneys to handle employment law litigation. In the US, these may arise from Fair Labor Standards Acts, wage and hour laws, Title VII anti discrimination protection, and other related employment laws. To become an employment paralegal, you must obtain a specific level of required education. You then must work for an attorney or law firm that handles employment law cases.

There are a number of different education options available to those who want to become an employment paralegal. In almost every case, you need to obtain a high school diploma before continuing your education. A GED is an acceptable alternative in some situations, depending on the type of advanced education you want to obtain.

Upon graduating from high school, you generally must continue your education in order to become a paralegal. Some students obtain a four-year college degree before becoming a paralegal. These students normally major in pre-law, English, political science, philosophy, or other related areas. The courses in a standard four-year college degree program rarely prepare a student to become an employment paralegal, but can provide a foundation to be hired as a paralegal or to obtain a paralegal certificate.

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A student can also attend a two-year degree program and earn an associate's degree if he or she wants to become an employment paralegal. Many such degree programs offer a specialized degree in paralegal studies. This involves taking courses such as law and ethics, introduction to paralegal studies, and other related courses designed to help you learn the basics of being a paralegal.

Like obtaining a bachelor's degree, you generally cannot specialize in employment law when obtaining an associate's degree in paralegal studies. You may, however, have the opportunity to take employment law courses or business law courses when obtaining either a bachelor's or associate's degree. Since employment law is a specialized area of business law, it is wise to take these courses whenever possible to get a foundation within the field.

If you opt to attend a degree program either on the bachelor's or master's level, you should look for a school accredited by the American Association for Paralegal Education if you are living in the United States. If you don't want to obtain a specialized degree, you can also become a paralegal by working as a legal secretary and working your way up. Both paths will generally qualify you to eventually become a paralegal and begin doing legal work.

The final step is to apply for jobs at firms that handle employment law issues. Most often, these are litigation firms since employment law cases are primarily litigated. Upon being hired, you will likely spend a great deal of time doing legal research on employment law issues in order to assist attorneys to prepare for cases or to assist companies in ensuring they comply with all relevant employment laws.

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