Training For Paralegal Careers

Written by admin on April 14th, 2012

A paralegal career is an attractive choice for many people interested in a career in the law. You don’t have to go to law school–and figure out a way to pay for law school-yet you still make an important difference in court cases, and you can help out many clients during the course of a career. Paralegals write legal documents, draw up contracts, research past cases that may have a bearing on present cases, and speak with potential witnesses. How does a person become a paralegal, though?

In order to become a paralegal, you’ll need to complete formal training. This means that, at the minimum, you’ll need an associate’s degree in paralegal studies–which means you’ll have to attend a community college. If you really want to be competitive in the job market and land the most attractive positions, however, then you should get at least a bachelor’s degree.

Find an accredited college or university that offers paralegal courses. You could even take courses online and work a part-time or full-time job at the same time, so long as you’re sure the online college you’ve signed up with is well-respected in the industry. (Speak with a career counselor or guidance counselor before you enroll in any such program; they can help direct you to the best online school and the best tuition bargains.)

Another option is to major in a field related to the law—pre-law is a good choice if your college or university offers it—-and then, upon receiving your bachelor’s degree, complete a certificate program to become a certified paralegal. If you work full-time towards your certificate, it’s possible you could complete the program in a matter of months.

A certificate program is also a good choice for someone who has a bachelor’s degree and is employed full-time, but who wants to switch careers to become a paralegal. In any event, you shouldn’t have a hard time finding a school that will train you to become a paralegal. There are well over a thousand institutions of higher education in the United States offering such programs.

And what kinds of things will you study when you’re training to become a paralegal? Curricula vary, but they usually involved courses in law and legal research, and computer and online research. Some programs will offer job placement services, which is a major plus if you can find such a program. Other programs will help you get internships in private law firms and D.A offices, which can be just as valuable.

These experiences will not only give you critical practical knowledge about the career and the inner workings of a law office, but they’ll also allow you to meet all kinds of people in the industry and build up your network of contacts and references. It often happens that a student so impresses the people she or he works with at an internship that she or he is offered a job immediately after completing training.

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