According to an estimate, different schools in the US offer as many as 600 paralegal education programs. Coming in different lengths and formats, many private and public institutions such as business colleges, community colleges, proprietary institutions and universities are open for paralegal study to obtain a paralegal certificate.
While a variety of institutions present different paralegal courses, they have broad categories, such as:
1. Associate Degree Programs
Earning you an associate degree, you can find these programs in business schools, universities and community colleges. The course requires completion of 60-70 semester units and the curriculum comprises partly of paralegal courses and partly of general studies in related areas.
This program is an excellent choice for those who wish to learn more even as they work full-time. This degree can give you a leg up in the paralegal jobs at most law firms.
2. Bachelor Degree Programs
Offered predominantly by 4-year universities and colleges, these programs earn you a baccalaureate degree. Comprising 120-130 semester units, these programs include 30-60 semesters especially for the study of paralegal and related courses. Many white shoe law firms require that candidates hold the bachelor’s paralegal degree from a reputed university.
3. Certificate Programs
These are shorter programs that consist normally of 18 to 60 semester units. Special educational institutions or schools offer paralegal certificate programs. These target students who already hold an associate or baccalaureate degree in paralegal studies. Armed with this certificate, you can join a small law firm.
4. Master’s Degree Programs
These are advanced degree programs offered by some colleges and universities and involve legal studies and study of legal administration. These programs are for those who are quite serious about pursuing a legal career path.
To enter the realm of law, choose from among these programs that best fits your needs, career goals and budget. This is now a burgeoning field of legal professionals, with a healthy projected growth into the next decade.