Paralegals and legal assistants help lawyers prepare for hearings, trials, and corporate meetings. However, their specific duties may vary depending on the size of the firm or organization. In smaller firms, paralegals duties tend to vary more. In addition to reviewing and organizing information, paralegals may prepare written reports that help lawyers determine how to handle their cases. If lawyers decide to file lawsuits on behalf of clients, paralegals may help prepare the legal arguments and draft documents to be filed with the court. In larger organizations, paralegals work mostly on a particular phase of a case, rather than handling a case from beginning to end. For example, a litigation paralegal might only review legal material for internal use, maintain reference files, conduct research for lawyers, and collect and organize evidence for hearings. Litigation paralegals often do not attend trials, but might prepare trial documents or draft settlement agreements. There are several paths to become a paralegal. Candidates can enroll in a community college paralegal program to earn an associate’s degree. A small number of schools also offer bachelor’s and master's degrees in paralegal studies. Those who already have a bachelor’s degree in another subject can earn a certificate in paralegal studies. Finally, some employers hire entry-level paralegals without any experience or education in paralegal studies and train them on the job, though these jobs typically require a bachelor’s degree.
Meterologists use highly developed instruments and computer programs to do their jobs. For example, they use weather balloons, radar systems, satellites, and sensors to monitor the weather and collect data. The data they collect and analyze are critical to understanding air pollution, drought, loss of the ozone layer, and other problems. Some atmospheric scientists work on teams with other scientists and engineers to find the best locations for new wind farms, which are groups of wind turbines used to generate electricity. Others work closely with hydrologists to monitor the impact climate change has on water supplies and to manage water resources. Atmospheric scientists need a bachelor’s degree in meteorology or a closely related field for most positions.
Park rangers protect natural resources and historical and cultural monuments. They work in places across the country, from Alcatraz and the Grand Canyon to the Everglades and the Statue of Liberty. Most do everything from supervising park staff to teaching the public to value the site’s resources. After getting experience in the field, a ranger might specialize. With a focus on conserving natural resources, for example, a ranger might replant native grasses on a prairie or test water samples to find the source of pollution. Whatever their duties, rangers need to be able to communicate well with the public. You'll need a bachelor's degree in an environmental field to get this job.
Owning a restaurant is a labor of love, and most restaurateurs work long hours. The owner keeps tabs on things like items to be ordered, customer complaints, and staff scheduling conflicts, all of which are recorded in the book. She studies the accounting records daily and stays on top of the restaurant’s financial situation. She may also take on duties like confirming reservations. Restaurateurs come from many walks of life, but mostly they have experience within the industry. A restaurant owner can be either a “backer” or an active owner. Backers provide funding to the active owners and entrust them to run the place.
Loan officers use a process called underwriting to assess whether applicants qualify for loans. After collecting and verifying all the required financial documents, the loan officer evaluates this information to determine the applicant’s loan needs and ability to pay back the loan. Some firms underwrite loans manually, calculating the applicant’s financial status by following a certain formula or set of guidelines. Other firms use underwriting software, which analyze applications almost instantly. More often, firms use underwriting software to produce a recommendation, while relying on loan officers to consider any additional information to make a final decision. The work of loan officers has sizeable customer service and sales components. Loan officers often answer questions and guide customers through the application process. In addition, many loan officers must market the products and services of their lending institution and actively solicit new business. Commercial loan officers generally need a bachelor’s degree in finance, business, economics, or a related field. Mortgage loan officers must be licensed.
icensed practical nurses (known as LPNs) provide basic medical care. They work under the direction of registered nurses and doctors. Duties of LPNs vary, depending on their work setting, For example, they may teach family members how to care for a relative; help to deliver, care for, and feed infants; collect samples for testing and do routine laboratory tests; or feed patients who need help eating. Because medical care is regulated, LPNs may be limited to doing certain tasks, depending on their state. In some states, for example, LPNs with proper training can give medication or start intravenous (IV) drips, while in other states they cannot. State regulations govern the extent to which LPNs must be directly supervised; for example, an LPN may provide certain forms of care only with instructions from a registered nurse. LPNs must complete an accredited program, which takes about 1 year. These programs are commonly in technical schools and community colleges. They may occasionally be in high schools and hospitals as well. Practical nursing programs combine classroom learning in subjects such as nursing, biology, and pharmacology, with supervised clinical experience.
With an increasing portion of our population headed toward middle age, there will be an increased demand for opticians to help consumers with their eyewear. In addition, awareness of the importance of regular eye exams is increasing across all age groups, especially children and those over the age of 65. Employment opportunities for opticians are expected to increase, and training is required for an opticianry license. For more information, visit www.nfos.org.