Why Opt For a Paralegal Diploma »

Why Opt For a Paralegal Diploma

A legal assistant or a paralegal performs a wide array of legal tasks that assist lawyers in providing their clients the best legal assistance they deserve. By taking paralegal classes, an aspiring paralegal can better aid lawyers in performing their duties and obligations as attorneys-at-law. Different educational paths can be taken to earn a paralegal education. Obtaining a paralegal diploma or a certificate is one of these paths.

Paralegal Diploma
How to choose the best paralegal schools to obtain a paralegal diploma?

Completing the required hours for paralegal studies allows you to obtain a paralegal diploma. Because paralegal is a popular career choice, there are a great number of paralegal schools that offer paralegal classes. You can also obtain online paralegal diploma from one of the online paralegal schools. Unfortunately, some of them will not help you open more job opportunities after you have completed paralegal classes. Listed below are some of the factors you should consider when looking for the right distance learning program.

  • Accreditation. In order to ensure that you will get quality education, you should choose an online school that is accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) and by one of the eight regional accrediting agencies in the US. When a certain online paralegal school is approved by ABA, it only means that such school has satisfied the standards in academics, instruction and facilities. Obtaining an online paralegal diploma from an ABA-approved school helps you become marketable in the legal community.

  • Paralegal courses. In addition to finding an ABA-accredited school for your paralegal studies, it is also important to evaluate the school's academic offerings. Below is a list of some courses recommended by the American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE).

    • Ethics
    • Contracts
    • Litigation
    • Legal research and writing
    • Business organizations.
    In addition to the above mentioned recommended courses, the said organization also suggests that an online paralegal school should be geared towards:
    • Helping students develop critical thinking
    • Assisting them on how to communicate properly
    • Developing organizational skills
    • Molding their ability to handle ethical issues
  • Reputation. Another factor you should consider when finding the best online paralegal school is its reputation as an institution that offers distance learning program. You may visit the websites of the schools you are planning to enroll. But do not rely so much on their marketing materials. Instead, you should go outside the box and read reviews written by actual students of those schools. You should also consider signing up for an online paralegal diploma with a school that is accredited by the Better Business Bureau.

  • Staff. You should sign up with an online paralegal school that offers courses being taught by paralegals and attorneys. They can share with you their experiences about working in the legal department.

  • Instructional materials. It is important to know the types of instructional materials a particular school are using. The best school offers hands-on training and support as one of its employed instructional technologies.

Paralegal Diploma vs Certificate in Paralegal Studies

Many aspiring legal assistants are confused whether to take a paralegal certificate or go to a paralegal diploma route.

A certificate is offered to individuals who already hold a bachelor's degree. Obtaining such certificate requires you to attend recommended hours to know specific paralegal skills.

A paralegal diploma is given to individuals who do not have a bachelor's degree or an undergraduate degree. The teaching is more comprehensive than a certificate can provide.

To get more job opportunities, a bachelor's degree in paralegal studies or any subject and a paralegal certificate can help you land a paralegal position easily. But you should also keep in mind that some employers will consider hiring a paralegal with extensive training as their priority.

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