In-Campus VS Online Paralegal Degrees: The True Score

Written by admin on May 18th, 2011

In-Campus VS Online Paralegal Degrees: The True Score
A paralegal’s work usually involves working with a practicing attorney as an assistant doing research, preparation of legal papers and being present as both a witness, and assistant during client meetings, they may also be asked to keep records and notes during investigations and during hearings. A qualified paralegal’s services are also essential in the legal departments of various organizations that include insurance, real estate and banking to name a few.

Colleges and universities offering paralegal studies typically pattern their curriculum on the set of courses approved by the American Bar Association. ABA approval for the schools or the school’s curriculum is not mandated by law. It is not a measure of the institution’s excellence or reputation. Still most schools follow ABA requirements and seek ABA accreditation because of its added prestige to improve their image. But given the choice, it is better to enroll at an ABA approved paralegal institution. There are more than one thousand colleges and universities in the United States of America offering paralegal degree and certificate programs. The Directory of Paralegal Schools provides a list of ABA approved schools, while the ABA Standing Committee Directory provides a detailed register of the basic requirements in course duration, content and qualification for admission for the different courses.

Actual work practice is a definite advantage for paralegal students. Competency in paralegal work like in most careers is not automatically conferred upon graduation. It is a product of practicing and honing the skills required of paralegals that include self reliance, initiative, organization skill, interpersonal skill and communication skill to name a few.

Paralegal studies usually takes two years to finish offline when you are studying in a community or a junior college. It takes four years of studies when you decide to earn it from a university. Internship to provide an experience of the actual work conditions is required in both cases in most schools. ABA approved paralegal degrees are also pre-law programs and gives you credit units for those who decide to take an actual law degree.  Students who have earned their Bachelor or Associate degrees are qualified to continue with their Post Degree Certificate. Other programs include the Associate of Applied Science, Bachelor of Science on Paralegal Studies and Certificate in Legal Consulting.

Like their offline cousins, online institutions vary in their program content and value. One should take a serious evaluation of institutions offering paralegal courses and ensure that the institution has an ABA approved paralegal online degree program and the school is member institution of the American Association for Paralegal Education (AAFPE).

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