How Do I Find a Good Online School for My Certificate in Paralegal Studies? »
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How Do I Find a Good Online School for My Certificate in Paralegal Studies?

You want that exciting new entry level paralegal job with a great salary, but where do you begin? If you are a self-starter, you are probably considering doing your certificate in paralegal studies at an online paralegal school. You’re probably asking yourself, “What are some decent and affordable online paralegal certificate schools?" This is an intelligent question with a very clear answer. Choose a school based on several criteria:

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Accreditation is the main one you need to focus on: Make sure the school you choose is regionally accredited. Regional accreditation is the highest level of accreditation. There are seven regional accrediting agencies in the United States.

They include Middle States Commission, Southern Association of Schools, the New England Association and three others in different geographical areas. These seven agencies accredit all the best schools in the United States, including Harvard University (New England Association), Columbia University (Middle States) and Duke University (Southern Association).

Regional accreditation is superior to so-called “national” accreditation, which applies a less rigorous standard. The right online school will hold your hand, guide you through the entire process, and make your time as a student an enjoyable one. The first thing you’ll want to do is perform a little research.

Ask the following questions for each school you are considering:

  • Is this online paralegal school an accredited school and who awarded the accreditation? Make sure your online paralegal school is regionally accredited.
  • Does the particular online school offer me the flexibility to take the courses according to my own schedule?
  • Will the online school help me with career and job placement after I receive my certificate?
  • Does the online school maintain an Alumni Association?
  • How long has this school been in operation?
  • Does this paralegal school’s program match my interests well?
  • What level of training, education, and experience have the teachers attained?

In general you want to choose, for instance, an online paralegal school that employs attorneys with real world experience. These teachers know what a lawyer wants from a paralegal employee.

Where do I find online schools with the online paralegal certificate program I want?

You have probably found an online directory or several directories filled with online schools. The sad truth is, the most popular websites are actually paid directories that provide little or no real information to the online student; they exist solely to profit from users searching online. The schools that advertise in these directories pay a fee every time a prospective student asks for information about a particular school.

The choices are many these days, and can be confusing. Today there are literally hundreds of schools to choose from. Yes, it is difficult and perhaps a little annoying to wade wade through all of the apparent choices out there. No one wants to be hounded by admissions reps from a bunch of schools. Your best option to find an online school in the profession you are interested in. Immediately check to see the school’s accreditation. If the school is not regionally accredited, move on to a school that is. There is no reason to settle for second best. Surprisingly, tuition at regionally accredited schools is sometimes lower than tuition at nationally accredited schools, so don’t be tempted to settle for second best in order to save money.

A fast way to find an online school is to do a search for the career you are interested in + “online school”. For instance, type “online paralegal school.” Of the schools that come up, choose the ones that have regional accreditation. Then look through the first couple of pages of results, writing down the regionally accredited schools that seem promising. Then visit the school’s website, read about the program you are interested in, and then contact the school. Check the school’s reputation. Call them and speak with a student affairs counselor. By following these basic steps, you will get a sense of the better schools.

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