Paralegal Certificate

Paralegal certification programs are designed to provide accelerated training for those who want to serve as paralegals and enter the job market as quickly as possible. While paralegal certification is not required, it is typically preferred by most lawyers because it proves that the individual has received advanced training in the field of legal studies. Paralegal certification programs typically vary between 7 to 17 months in length and cover a broad range of subjects in the legal field, including torts, contracts, legal research and legal ethics.

Learning about the different paralegal certification programs available and considering the benefits of getting a paralegal certification online can help you choose a program that helps you achieve your career goals.

Paralegal Certification Programs

Paralegal certification programs are offered by several accredited organizations and associations, and you'll find that some offer basic to advanced certification options. Most of these programs conclude with a certification exam and some do have some eligibility requirements. Paralegal certification is available through the following associations and organizations:

  • National Association for Legal Professionals
  • National Federation of Paralegal Associations
  • National Association of Legal Assistants
  • American Alliance of Paralegals

Eligibility Requirements for a Paralegal Certificate

Eligibility requirements for a paralegal certificate vary by organization, but most organizations require the individual to have accumulated some paralegal experience in the field, and hold either an Associate Degree or Bachelor's Degree from an accredited institution. Recertification every two to five years is typically required so that the paralegal stays up-to-date with legal rules and changes to any laws, and also maintains their skills.

Most paralegal certification programs cover a broad range of subjects, including written communications, ethics and judgment skills, legal knowledge and skills and substantive law. Since paralegals typically have some work experience before enrolling in an paralegal certificate training program, they may already be familiar with many of the office procedures, technology training and legal knowledge subjects that are covered in the certificate program.

Some paralegals already have between two to four or more years of experience before they even decide to enroll in a paralegal certificate program, so these candidates may be well-suited for completing an advanced paralegal certificate program instead.

Getting Paralegal Certification Online

Paralegals and working professionals with busy schedules may consider getting their paralegal certification online, instead of working through a classroom-based course at an accredited training center in their area. Online paralegal certification programs can give the student some flexibility with their schedule, and also allow them to work at their own pace.

Getting paralegal certification online can help you complete your training in a shorter period of time and means that you will work in a virtual classroom. You'll have the chance to attend live online lectures, interact with attorney instructors and with classmates over the web, take online tests and quizzes, and participate in discussion groups as part of your training. If you do decide to get your paralegal certification online, you will need to make sure that the program is nationally accredited and is accepted by your employer or prospective employer.