Basic Paralegal Studies for an Associate Degree Guideline
Basic paralegal studies for an associate’s degree are typically a 2-year course. This is the common qualification that many paralegals or paralegals have. You can also do a 4-year degree program, which includes other academic subjects.
If you already have a bachelor’s degree, you can take a few months’ intensive paralegal course to earn a paralegal certificate. Your bachelor’s degree can be in almost any field.
There are also specialty courses that you can take to become a specialized paralegal in your chosen file. Some of which are immigration paralegal, litigation paralegal, real estate paralegal, etc.
Keep in mind that the quality of your paralegal training program will depend on the school you choose and the amount of work you do on your studies. If you come out with great success from a variety with higher quality programs that generally include job placement services.
The paralegal curriculum includes introducing students to the law and using computers to conduct legal research online. Internships are becoming common practice with paralegal programs. This is to help you substitute for experienced legal assistants on the job. Most paralegals do their internship at a private law firm. Some students have had the opportunity to intern at NGOs and government agencies that eventually held them back after graduation.
An employer may require a specialized certificate if the job you are applying for requires some technical knowledge. Examples are immigration, real estate, health administration, etc. Certification from the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) can help when applying for a job. You have to pass their test and be designated as a registered paralegal (RP). The test is called the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam and you must have a Bachelor’s degree to qualify.