By completing your paralegal training at one of the many paralegal schools available, you will learn firsthand the knowledge and skills needed to be a successful paralegal. Paralegal training typically involves either a two-year associate’s degree program or a one-year certificate program, where students learn the basics of the law in its many forms, as well as the practical skills needed to be an effective paralegal. Many students choose to pursue online degree programs, which are more accommodating to those who are fully employed.
Since most employers prefer to hire paralegals who have received formal training, if your resume shows you have a paralegal degree or certificate, you will be one step closer to landing a job. Take a look at the various paralegal training programs below and decide which type of degree and school will work best for you.
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About Paralegal Training Programs
If you want to remain competitive in this growing career field, formal paralegal training is essential to your success. By earning a diploma or degree, you will give yourself many more options when it comes to finding a job or seeking paralegal certification. In addition, having formal paralegal training may lead to promotions and a higher paralegal salary.
There are paralegal schools that offer associates, bachelors, and master’s degrees in paralegal studies. Many community colleges, universities, technical, and vocational schools offer paralegal certificate courses and programs. The form of paralegal training you pursue depends on your individual needs.
In general, the higher your degree level, the more career options you will have from the start. If you earn an associate’s degree, for instance, you can eventually continue your legal education by pursuing a bachelor’s degree or even a master’s degree. Any of these degrees can also lead you to law school and a future as an attorney.
Preparing for Paralegal Training
Before enrolling in a paralegal training program, you want to make sure a career as a paralegal is right for. For instance, you can read up on the paralegal job description to give yourself a better idea of what a career as a paralegal entails. You may also investigate other legal career options such as legal assistant, legal secretary, or litigation paralegal to further narrow your focus.
While the job of a paralegal is different than that of a lawyer, you may be surprised to learn how essential paralegals are in many court cases. Your time will be spent researching past cases and laws, talking to witnesses, and generally doing anything else that will help your law firm win its next case.
What to Expect During Paralegal Training
Regardless of which paralegal training program you choose, you can expect to learn a lot about laws and the legal system in general. Once you become a student of paralegal studies, you can expect to take courses in:
- Legal terminology
- Real Property
- Criminal law
- Legal research and writing
- Torts and personal injury
- Estates and Trusts
- Business law
- Family law
These are just a few examples of the type of coursework you can expect. In addition, your training may involve an internship where you learn firsthand what it’s like to work for a law firm or legal department.