University of the Cumberlands is now offering a new online associate degree in paralegal studies program. The university is the second in the Commonwealth to offer this type of program.
The associate degree in paralegal studies program allows students to pursue a legal career without attending years of law school. Graduates from the program will have the practical skills and legal insights needed to become a legal support worker, legal assistant, or paralegal, among other vocations. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for paralegals and legal assistants is almost $53,000.
“The legal field is a really persistently ‘hot’ field to get into. It’s consistently one of the most employable fields, and it’s projected to remain so across the country,” said Dr. Nathan Coleman, chair of the Department of History and Political Science at Cumberlands. “The program is designed to tap into that potential so students have an open door to a stable career path within two years of beginning classes.”
Classes include traditional courses in political science and history as well as specialized courses on legal terminology, legal research and writing, law and legal education, judicial procedure, and other paralegal-specific topics. Coleman emphasized that the reading comprehension, writing, and critical thinking skills learned in the associate program, though obviously important in paralegal jobs, would be advantageous in any career field.
“Courses like these get you thinking. That’s the purpose of education, to teach you how to think for yourself,” Coleman said. “We’re excited to be able to offer this associate program. I think it will be a benefit to all students who go through it.”