Online Certificate Programs in Paralegal Studies

Penn Foster Career School
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  • Education Prerequisites: A high school diploma or GED is required for eligibility to any online paralegal certification program.
  • Professional Prerequisites: None
  • Average Program Length: 5 months (full time); 1 year (part time)

Paralegals and legal assistants assist lawyers with everyday tasks, such as helping to prepare cases for trial through legal research, preparing and filing documents, and other administrative duties. They may work for private law firms, government agencies, or corporate legal departments. The working environment is fast paced and demanding, so anyone interested in becoming a paralegal or legal secretary must be organized and capable of juggling multiple assignments at once. They must also work well under pressure. Students who complete a paralegal certificate program online are often interested in law and the legal process and enjoy reading, writing, and research. Paralegal certification programs are perfect for recent high school graduates who want to begin a promising career without earning a degree, current paralegals who want to build on their existing knowledge, or professionals who want to change careers.

Completing an Online Certificate Program in Paralegal Studies

Online certificate programs in paralegal studies typically have rigorous curriculums. Course subjects include legal terminology, court structure and procedure, legal research, legal document preparation, and legal ethics. In addition, students are usually given the opportunity to take one or two elective courses which cover a specific type of law, such as contract law or criminal law. Certificate programs in paralegal studies do not require internships or lab work, making it an ideal program for online learning. All accredited online certificate programs provide students with the resources they need to learn and complete the required course work in an efficient and timely manner.

In terms of assignments and projects, paralegal programs typically require of the completion of many reading assignments and regular examinations. By completing their course work, students receive practice preparing legal documents by writing mock memos, motions, notices, and briefs. Students who choose to attend an online program offered by a nearby college or university are given access to the school’s law library, which is often necessary for completion of various assignments and class projects. Those who attend a program without a physical law library are given access to the digital forms of documents needed for assignments and projects.

What Your Online Certificate in Paralegal Studies Can Do for You

Although employers do not always require paralegals or legal assistants to have a certificate, this type of education is increasingly important because competition is growing fiercer for job seekers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of paralegals and legal assistants is expected to grow 18% from 2010 to 2020, and those with formal training will have the best luck getting hired. Employers are more likely to hire the person with the most training, education, and experience, and a certificate in paralegal studies can give you that competitive edge. Getting a paralegal certificate can also help future law students prepare for law school.

Paralegal certificate programs take less time to complete than paralegal associate degree programs. Associate degree programs take on average of two years to complete if a student attends school full time. A combination of factors, including education and work experience, ultimately determines a person’s success in the job market. Many law firms prefer to hire someone with prior legal work experience. Job seekers may also increase their chances for hire by passing a certification exam, though this is entirely voluntary.

Online Certificate Programs by School

Herzing University
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Herzing University - Herzing's online certificate program offers the flexibility, personalization, and support you need to succeed in today's ever-changing job market. Discover Herzing's hands-on coursework, experienced faculty, and student-first approach which sets them apart from other online universities.

Ultimate Medical Academy
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Ultimate Medical Academy -
Get personalized attention with UMA.
One-on-one tutoring, pre-interview coaching, job search assistance, alumni services—they’re all included in Ultimate Medical Academy’s competitively priced tuition. As a nationally accredited school, we provide quality career training online and at our two campuses in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. Let’s talk about your needs, your career goals and how UMA can help you succeed.

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Penn Foster

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Penn Foster Career School - Penn Foster Career School offers over 85 online career diploma and certificate programs that can help students prepare for a career path in some of today’s fastest growing fields. If you are looking for training in allied health, business, education, or the trades, then Penn Foster Career School is a great choice. Penn Foster Career School is regionally accredited by the Commission on Secondary Schools of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and nationally accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission.