School For Paralegal Studies - Choose The Best For You
School for paralegal training is not absolutely essential, despite the high level of some of the material you have to deal with, and its importance to the existing client. There are no specific requirements of either education or licensing needed to become a paralegal, so the employer has a completely free choice as to who they appoint. This can work in your favor if you can demonstrate a highly developed level of administration skill, along with several years of experience to prove it, but there is still no substitute for specific training in your chosen career.
The role which is played by a paralegal has expanded in recent years, and looks set to expand even further as attorneys have to cope with an increasing workload. If you are thinking of qualifying for a role in the legal profession, it is important to realize the difference between the paralegal and the legal secretary. The paralegal is attached to one specific attorney and acts as their assistant, while the secretary can be hired by anyone who needs their services. The role of the paralegal is more comprehensive, so if you have trained for that role you will also have the skills to become a secretary.
There are no specific entry requirements for paralegal college, in terms of which career or educational background you come from. Most would be paralegals have worked in administration roles in the corporate sector, or for governments or charities, but there is nothing to stop people from outside these fields training to become a paralegal. If you have the relevant experience and a good command of the high level English used in the legal profession, you will doubtless find the course easier to cope with. You will also probably wish that it was shorter, but you need to complete it all to get the qualification.
Any good school for paralegal training will have the two year course which gives you the recognized qualification you need, but make sure the school is accredited by one of the legal profession bodies which is licensed to provide certificates. The two legal bodies are the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), and they will only issue the certificates to people who have attended one of their accredited schools. These certificates are the most powerful statements of competence which you can show to a potential employer.
Most of the paralegal schools will be accredited, as the associations want to award as many certificates as possible to qualified paralegals. If you study at a college campus, you will nearly always be at an accredited school, but the case is less clear if you are studying online. The option of online learning has brought the possibility of career advancement to many more people, but it has also attracted some charlatan learning centers into the industry. If you are going to study online, be sure to assess the background of the provider very closely.
Going to school for paralegal studies usually means a commitment of two years, and of course the commitment of money to pay for the course. This is often seen as reasonable by those who are of college age and who are looking for a residential place, but this level of commitment is often not practical for the mature student, who needs to keep an existing job and look after a family at home. The needs of these people are now served well by online learning opportunities which can be practiced and studied part time. This is a perfectly viable alternative to school for paralegal.
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