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Paralegals and Legal Assistants (the terms are interchangeable) back in 60’s and 70’s received much of their training on the job via real world experience. However, since that time things have changed and now most paralegals enter the field by going through the certification process. Although certification is not required to get a job, in fact it’s still not a licensed profession, a paralegal that’s been certified is generally considered to be a better trained, more qualified candidate than a paralegal that hasn’t been certified.
The certification process for paralegals is a bit like becoming an attorney; it requires an individual to pass a test from a qualified paralegal organization. Just like graduating from law school doesn’t make someone a lawyer – they must first pass the bar exam, and with paralegals, completing a certified training program doesn’t make them a certified paralegal; they must first pass the exam in order to earn certification.
Paralegal Education in Glen Allen VA – An Overview
Even after certification many paralegals choose to continue their training by specializing in particular niches of the law like: estate planning, criminal law, commercial law and so on.
There is a wide array of certification programs out there so when searching for the best program for you to either further your education and training or to begin your paralegal career, you will have to spend a little time and weed out those programs that don’t fit your situation.
Some organizations claim that they’ve been approved or that they are compliant with the American Bar Association but the only way to verify their claims is to check with your state bar association.
Explain to your state bar association representative that you are looking for reliable information about either entering the paralegal field or that you are seeking continuing educational training. While most states don’t require paralegal certification, your states bar association should be able to connect you with the top certification and training organizations and programs in your area that they feel are reputable.
That takes us to the second option: the bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies. When you go for a bachelor’s degree, you get twice the education, which means you get to practice your higher-level thinking skills for a longer period of time, and you’ll get more detailed training in online research, the law and preparing legal documents. You’ll learn more in-depth techniques of how to interview witnesses and how to communicate with clients, attorneys and others in the legal field. A bachelor’s degree will make you a more marketable job candidate, too. And if you really want to get a lot of college training and impress your prospective employers, there are many schools offering master’s degrees in paralegal studies as well.
You can check with your states better business bureau or attorney general’s office if you are looking into online certification or correspondence courses, to see if any complaints have been filed about the companies offering the courses.
Although, the paralegal certification selection process will take a bit of time and research, a positive off-shoot of the whole thing is that it will probably pay off down the road by helping to ensure that you find the best possible certification training available in your area or online. It should also help you avoid the time, expense and frustration of choosing the wrong training program; perhaps one that isn’t recognized and then having to deal with the realization that you having nothing to show for your efforts.
Your Career As a Legal Assistant in Glen Allen VA
Despite the shifting roles of the jobs, employers would prefer to hire paralegals that come from accredited paralegal schools, because employers believe that in hiring paralegals that come from accredited paralegal institutions will have formal training and higher education when it comes in paralegal studies.
Most of the accredited paralegal studies offer programs with accreditation and quality, which can be the ticket of chances to be hired for paralegal work by a prominent government agency or law office. In becoming a legal assistant, it is not enough to just enroll in an equally obscure institution or college. The most important thing is the assurance of the programs offered by these accredited paralegal schools.