Paralegal Certification Schools
Paralegal certification and receiving a paralegal certificate from a school are two entirely different things. To qualify for paralegal certification, you must have already completed a specified degree level or the work experience equivalent. Paralegal certification schools prepare you to take the paralegal examinations offered by various paralegal associations.
While you may have many options to choose from various paralegal certification schools, a few helpful tips will help guide you to the career path you prefer. If you are thinking of taking a State bar paralegal examination, you will be required to have completed paralegal certification courses from an accredited or approved list of educational providers. You should check with your State American Board Association (ABA) to determine their expectations. Only a handful of State ABAs offer paralegal certification through their services. Most State ABAs offer an extensive list of approved paralegal certification schools. This is not your only certification option. Two other associations offer paralegal certifications.
These certification entities are also seen as highly credible examinations in the eyes of hiring employers. You might consider taking the National Association of Legal Assistants examination to become deemed a certified paralegal. If you seek the title of registered paralegal, you should complete the National Federation of Paralegal Associations exam. You also have the option of joining the American Alliance of Paralegals. This is not a certificate examination but, rather, an affiliation for paralegals who have worked more than five years as a paralegal and who meet various educational requirements. If you meet their standards, you can apply for their certification without taking an exam. All certifications have expectations and prerequisites.
Expectations & Prerequisites
These certification affiliations will require you to have been prepared by various accredited paralegal certification schools. You must have completed either a specific level of degree or a working equivalent. Many times, you are required to complete four years’ work experience if you do not meet the degree requirements. You will also be required to complete specific courses from a specific board if you wish to take various ABA paralegal certifications. Other certifications may require you to have worked a few years prior to taking the examination. Once you have met these requirements, you will be expected to have been trained and educated properly in various areas of the law to pass the exam.
Your paralegal education should prepare you for these examinations. You will be tested in a number of different areas. You will be expected to have excellent communication skills as a paralegal; therefore, you will be tested on spelling, grammar, nonverbal communication, interviewing, and client communication. Seeing as you will be facing a number of ethical dilemmas over the course of your legal career, you will be tested on various ethical areas such as billing, conflict of interest, attorney codes, and more. You will be tested on legal research to ensure you know how to do so effectively and efficiently. You will also be tested on judgment, analytical ability, and substantive law.
Paralegal certification schools should prepare you for these examinations. If you complete these certifications, your compensation will improve as will your reputation. It is worth the investment.