An online paralegal certificate program is appropriate for those who want to save time as they begin a career in the paralegal profession.
It is also ideal for people who have an undergraduate degree in another subject.
If the workings of the legal system intrigue you and you like to stay abreast of changes in laws and regulations, consider earning a paralegal certificate. Paralegal work requires specialized understanding of the law but does not require the extensive training that it takes to become a lawyer. Also called legal assistants, paralegals assist attorneys by researching legal precedents, investigating facts, preparing legal documents and in some cases, interviewing clients.
Core courses typically include torts and personal injury; introduction to the legal system; legal research, writing and civil litigation; professional responsibility and legal ethics; and contracts. Students can choose courses on specialty topics such as employment law, domestic relations, business law and bankruptcy, criminal law, estates, real estate, taxation, immigration law, and environmental law.
Completion of certain paralegal certificate programs qualifies you to sit for certification exams such as the Certified Legal Assistant (CLS) exam or the CLA/CP (certified legal assistant/certified paralegal) exam.
Many colleges, universities, and professional schools offer both online and classroom programs, awarding the same certificate for completion of either paralegal certificate program. If you have family or job responsibilities, earning your paralegal certificate online allows you to pursue your education without major life disruption. Open enrollment at many online schools provides even greater scheduling flexibility. Paralegal online certificate programs typically employ traditional texts, online lecture notes, mock exams, writing labs, and reference materials.
In general, paralegals who work for large companies in big cities earn more than those who work in small companies in small towns.
Experienced paralegals with formal training (such as a paralegal certificate or paralegal online certificate) should have the best prospects in the next few years. Certification from a professional society, while not required for most positions, is an additional credential that can be an asset for hiring and promotion.
While most of paralegals work for law firms, paralegals also work in government, insurance, employment services, business management, telecommunications, manufacturing, non-profits, and many other industries.
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