The Various Paralegal Programs Online/On Campus
In legal and government sectors, paralegal profession is deemed important. For that reason, the number of job opportunities for qualified paralegals is high. A paralegal degree is one of the most sought-after degrees by students who wish to jump start their career in the legal field. Paralegal programs are being offered by various universities and colleges. This article offers tips on how to find the best paralegal program from among the various types of paralegal schools available.
When looking for paralegal schools, you should carefully conduct a research and examine each program being offered by a particular school. You should also consider the cost and its reputation in the paralegal marketplace.
- Obtain a high school diploma first. Most of the paralegal schools will only admit students who have earned high school. A high school diploma or certificate is one of the requirements for admission in a paralegal school. A high school equivalency diploma may also be honored.
- What you want from a school will help you determine the type of paralegal school you want to go to. If you wish to study at home, then you can apply to one of the online paralegal schools. On the other hand, if you want a traditional school set-up, you may enroll in a college or university that offers paralegal programs. The latter, however, may require you to attend classes each day. The former option is usually the preferred choice by individuals who wish to attend a paralegal school without having to quit their job.
- Look for paralegal schools that are accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). The said organization recognizes the best paralegal schools in the country that offer the best programs for paralegal. When you go with one of the paralegal schools accredited by ABA, you will have higher chances of being accepted at any law firm. But not all law firms will require their paralegal applicants to complete a paralegal program from an ABA-accredited paralegal school.
Types of paralegal programs
Competition for paralegal jobs is high. Those who are formally trained in one of the prestigious paralegal schools will have the best employment opportunities. Formal training may come in different forms and they are discussed below:
- Associate degree paralegal programs. These programs are offered by a two-year community school or junior colleges. Some business schools and four-year colleges or universities may also offer paralegal courses. If you opt to obtain an associate degree program for paralegals, you are required to attend 60 to 70 credit hours. You should enroll in a course that allows you to further your paralegal education. Associate of Applied Science is one of the associated paralegal programs you may take up should you wish to pursue a baccalaureate degree program for paralegals later on.
- Bachelor degree paralegal programs. They are being offered by a four-year college or a university. In here, each program consists of 120 to 130 credit hours. Out of 120 credit hours, 30 to 60 hours of these will involve studying the fundamentals of paralegals and preparing you to become a legal assistant.
- Post-degree paralegal certificate programs. They are given by any type of educational institutions. They are only granted for students who have completed an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree. Post-degree paralegal programs may depend on the institution you will be attending to. The certifications may include Law Office Specialist Certificate, Post-Baccalaureate Degree Professional Certificate and the like.
- Master's degree paralegal programs. Unfortunately, there are only few universities and colleges that offer advanced education for paralegal studies. Obtaining this type of program will ensure yourself higher salaries and greater opportunities in the paralegal world compared with individuals who do not hold such degree.
Earning a paralegal education from accredited paralegal schools is an important step to help you land a job as a paralegal. Although the employment rates for paralegals are great, the competition is also high. Thus, it is important that you take it a step higher than the others to win over the competition.