The role of paralegals is in important, since they assist attorneys with a variety of legal and litigation processes. In fact, mostly it is the paralegal that performs the task of dealing with clients and processing paperwork through the court system. With an increasing demand for these roles, a certificate in paralegal is becoming important to begin a rewarding career.
A certificate in paralegal
program may be completed in six months. There are two methods of study available that may meet the needs of students who have busy schedules. An online program provides students the option to avoid commuting to campuses for classes and opportunity to study at their own pace. A hybrid program is a combination of both classroom instruction and online study.
The main requirement for enrolling in a paralegal certificate program is a high school diploma or equivalent. The candidate should also possess basic word processing and web search skills, and is required to have access to a computer and the internet.
A typical curriculum may consist of two required courses and 4 electives with a total of 8 semester units and 360 hours of instruction. The two required courses are Essential Paralegal Studies I and II. The elective course choices include Paralegal Business Law, State Law, Criminal Law, Family Law, Intellectual Property Law, and Tort Law. Taking all of the required courses is important for completing the program. Although the program may last for six months, students could complete their course requirements in a maximum of one year’s time from enrollment. A certificate is awarded to those who maintain a minimum overall grade point average (GPA) of 2.0. Those achieving a GPA of 3.7 or higher are awarded a certificate with distinction. This type of course structure is typical for many programs, but there could slight variances for each program offered by different institutes.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment rate of paralegals is expected to increase by 18 percent from 2010 to 2020. As employers aim to improve their efficiency in legal areas, more demand is expected for paralegals in future. There are mainly two types of paralegals: corporate paralegals and litigation paralegals. Corporate paralegals assist lawyers in preparing company documents and contracts; whereas, litigation paralegals conduct research for lawyers, and organize and maintain data for use at trials and dispositions.
According to the BLS, the median annual salary of paralegals was around $46,000 as of May 2010. Generally, paralegals who work for large law firms earn more than those working for smaller firms. Those working for law firms, corporations, or government agencies usually work full time. Also, paralegals placed in law firms are often required to work overtime to meet deadlines.
For increased career growth, paralegals could specialize in various areas of law such as litigation, corporate law, criminal law, employee benefits, intellectual property, bankruptcy, personal injury, immigration, family law, and real estate. In addition, with professional experience, paralegals could assume various supervisory roles, such as managing team projects or overseeing the work of other paralegals.
Questions / Answers
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Q:With paralegal certification, what will my job duties typically include?
A:Paralegals are required to assist lawyers and attorneys in their everyday work, and office tasks. You will be required to perform a variety of administrative tasks such as scheduling appointments, managing documents, drafting documents etc. Apart from these tasks, you must also know how to handle legal research work, prepare trial papers, and follow up on cases.
Q:Is there any credit hour requirement in paralegal certificate programs?
A:Yes, certificate programs in paralegal education comprise of various subjects that each carry a certain number of credit hours. To successfully complete the certificate program, you must study all the subjects in the curriculum and earn the minimum number of credit hours. You can take a look at our page for more detailed information.
Q:How to get a paralegal certificate online?
A:There are a number of schools offering online programs in paralegal studies. If you enroll in an online paralegal certificate program, you will be required to complete the coursework online. Some important subjects included in the curriculum of paralegal programs include: criminal justice, legislation, legal research, trial procedures, and corporate law.
Q:Should I go for a paralegal certificate or a bachelor degree in paralegal studies?
A:Both programs are designed to provide students with in-depth knowledge about the legal industry. If you are looking for a short course that will give you career-oriented information, a certificate programs will be a suitable choice. On the other hand, if you want to attend college and earn a traditional undergraduate degree, you can go for a bachelor degree.
Q:With a Certificate in Paralegal studies, what kind of job should I expect?
A:A certification in paralegal studies will help you prepare for a job role as a paralegal professional. You can seek jobs in all kinds of legal firms and organizations. The main job duty of a paralegal is to provide supportive services to lawyers, manage office tasks, conduct legal research, write reports and manage trial paperwork, and schedule appointments.
Q:What are the benefits of Paralegal Certificate Programs online?
A:If you enroll in online certification programs, you don't have to worry about missing classes and travelling to campus-based institutes. You can easily cover the program online through videos, tutorials, online lectures, and classroom conferencing. This mode of education has turned out to be more flexible and convenient. The costs of online programs are lower as compared to campus based programs.
Q:Is a Paralegal Certification necessary to join the field?
A:The certification requirements of becoming a paralegal will vary slightly from state to state. In some states you may not need a certification. However, it is highly recommended that you receive certification as it helps in pursuing high paying careers and is preferred by many employers. Browse through our page for more information.
Q:Does paralegal certificate really value nowadays?
A:The US News has ranked paralegal jobs one of the fastest growing and top occupations. This field in the legal industry is attracting many individuals. With a paralegal certificate, you can expect to pursue a career as a paralegal assistant in a leading law firm. The income level will vary from job to job and will also depend upon the specialization area.
Q:What is the minimum duration of a certificate in paralegal studies online?
A:The duration of paralegal certificates will vary from school to school. Some institutes are offering this program with a six month duration while others are offering the program with a eight month duration. You will have to seek information from the school you plan to enroll in. Online programs are usually self-paced and are more flexible as compared to campus based degrees.
Q:Where can I find online paralegal certificate programs approved by the aba?
A:You can search for paralegal certificate programs approved by the aba online. Many websites are featuring rankings and lists of popular schools. You can also take a look at our page to find out what online schools are currently offering paralegal programs. A paralegal degree that has been accredited by a relevant authority will help you qualify for a career ahead.
Q:What are the main course components of accredited online paralegal certificate programs?
A:In a paralegal certificate program, you are most likely to cover subjects such as law and legislation, corporate law, legal terminology, and more. You must cover each component of the program and earn the minimum number of credit hours. In some programs you may also have to take part in a research project and build necessary skills.
Q:How to get a paralegal certificate online with little money and no aid?
A:Online paralegal certificate programs are less expensive as compared to campus based degrees. You can save on unnecessary travelling expenses and text book expenses. If you still have difficulty in covering the tuition costs, you can seek financial assistant by applying for loans or scholarships. Many accredited online schools are offering financial aid programs to students in need.
Q:What are online paralegal programs aimed at? And what kind of coursework should I expect?
A:Online paralegal programs are designed to provide students with knowledge of the current legal trends, law, legislation, administration, and legal terminology. Students can develop a sound understanding of legal ethics and learn how to perform various tasks such as research, file management, and client scheduling. The coursework typically entails theoretical based subjects.
Q:Accredited online paralegal certificate programs will help me build what kind of skills?
A:Accredited online paralegal certificate programs are designed to help students prepare for paralegal jobs. The coursework comprises of courses related to law, business administration, and corporate law. Apart from the theory based understanding, practical skill development is also an important part of the program. You will develop research skills, writing skills, communication skills, and management skills.
Q:What is the difference between paralegal certificate programs offered at a campus and those offered online?
A:Online paralegal courses are being offered by many online schools nowadays. This mode of learning allows students to fulfill their academic goals without having to attend campus based classes. Students can study according to their own ease and convenience. The cost of online programs is also less as students no longer have to pay for books or travelling.