Find Accredited Paralegal Certificate Online or On-Campus
One of the fastest growing careers in the legal department is a paralegal. Recent studies reveal that paralegal jobs in the US will continue to rise in the next five years. Thanks to the law firms that prefer to hire paralegals instead of lawyers as part of their cutting costs strategy to deal with the economic crisis! With the starting salary of more than $25,000 for an entry-level position, this profession will surely entice someone's attention to shift and become a paralegal. But how does one become a paralegal? Will a paralegal certificate suffice to gain employment?
Certificate in Paralegal Studies
A certificate in paralegal studies typically takes one year to complete and are offered in many educational institutions across the US. Aim to complete your certificate in a community college program or an ABA approved program. With that said many employers require individuals with no work experience to have a min. of an associates degree in paralegal studies (AD). If you really want to be a paralegal aim for the AD and once in a job, continue your studies online for a bachelor's degree. The latter takes 4 years to complete but it also commands higher earnings. Typically paralegals make $38,000 annually, those that work for large legal firms easily pulls in around $60K-$70K with overtime and bonuses.
Those with a paralegal degree from reputable schools commands around $80K and those with a masters in paralegal studies are earning around $100K annually. The following tips can help you figure out how to obtain a paralegal certificate from an institution accredited by ABA.
The website of ABA has a list of accredited institutions that offer a paralegal studies certificate. In here, you can look for programs by state. You can also search for an accredited institution that offer paralegal certificate online.
Once you have found the perfect institution to obtain a paralegal certificate, you can sign up for a particular program. Registering for an online certificate program is a wonderful option. Although it does not require you to attend classes in a campus, you will need to complete 24 hours of study in different paralegal areas.
To be a certified legal assistant, you will need to complete a paralegal certification examination given by the NALA or by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA).
How to Pass the Examination for Trained and Experienced Paralegals?
As far as paralegal certification, it is not mandatory however employers seem to be favoring this nowadays. Certification is the next step inline for graduates with some work experience. How to pass the paralegal certification:
Determine the right paralegal certification exam according to your professional background. If you want to take the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (PACE), you will need to satisfy the paralegal certification requirements given by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc. These requirements may include a degree or a certificate from an accredited institution. An extensive actual experience may substitute for academic credentials.
Come up with an effective study plan. In order to pass the paralegal certification examination, you have to study. The test may cover legal practice areas. The said examination may also assess how cognizant you are about administrative tasks and procedures.
Obtain study aids. The organization body that administers the examination may give out study aids to help you pass.
Benefits of an Online Paralegal Certificate
Study at your own pace. Unlike classroom set-up, online paralegal schools will offer you classes that will fit your lifestyle. If you are working while taking paralegal studies, you can pick your own schedule and study at your own pace. There is no time pressure.
Obtain learning materials easily. Online schools that offer paralegal certification have learning materials accessible online. Plus, their professors are available for consultation any time.
Offer affordable rates. One of the advantages of earning a paralegal certificate from an online paralegal school is that the rates here are lower compared with the brick-and-mortar school.