One of the few careers that are consistently evolving recently is that of a Paralegal. These days, people are getting more and more interested in becoming a paralegal due to the rise in their demand.
Now, you might be wondering: What are the qualifications for becoming a paralegal? And how to become one?
Let us answer that for you.
Read on to find out everything you will need to know about the educational requirements to become a Paralegal.
What education do you need as a Paralegal?
High School Diploma/GED
The minimum qualification required for becoming a Paralegal is to complete your high school diploma/GED from an authorized school.
Right after you’re done with your high school education, you will have to gain more knowledge, skills, and expertise in the field of paralegal. However, this can vary based on where you see yourself in the future. (Read: How Long Does it Take to Become a Paralegal)
Paralegal training programs can be completed via three main methods, and you can choose one according to your preference.
Let us take a look at them in more detail-
#1 Associate’s Degree
The most reliable and safe way to complete your paralegal training is to get an associate’s paralegal degree in legal studies from a technical university. While other programs, such as a traditional bachelor’s degree, may require you to complete your course in more than 4 years, you can complete an associate’s degree in paralegal studies in 2 years.
#2 Diploma Program
Another reliable and safe option is to enroll in a diploma program through a community college. They are more affordable than a degree program and can be completed in 1 year.
#3 Online Certificate Program
An Online Certificate Program for Paralegals is highly recommended as they have several advantages over other alternatives. Online paralegal programs can be completed in as little as 6 months, allow you to learn at your own pace, and are significantly cheaper than their alternatives.
An Online Certificate Program can also offer you the flexibility to access the course from anywhere.
Read more: Types of Law Paralegals
When you’re finally done with your training course, you will need to then obtain your Paralegal Certification. Acquiring Paralegal Certification is a strong way to show your skills and knowledge to employers.
Some certification programs can be availed through the below-mentioned organizations:-
- The National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) offers the Paralegal CORE competency exam, which you can pass and obtain a paralegal certification.
- The National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) gives you an opportunity to pass the certified paralegal exam. NALA is the most respected institution that certifies Paralegals.
Read More: Paralegal certificate online
Get Familiar With Local Procedures
Another thing to do after completing your paralegal course is to get an externship. An externship is beneficial when it comes to getting trained on the job, and it can help you get familiar with local court procedures.
Top Skills of a Paralegal
Let us take a look at them:-
- Communication Skills-
Paralegals need to communicate efficiently in both written and oral manners with their clients as well as lawyers. Most of the time, they directly coordinate with clients and witnesses.
- Computer Skills-
Most of the work nowadays is done digitally in the legal world. Thereby a Paralegal must have basic computer skills and know the relevant software.
- Interpersonal skills-
Paralegals also need to develop effective relationships with attorneys, legal assistants, and clients. Hence, interpersonal skills are an important skill for paralegals.
- Organizational Skills-
Oftentimes, paralegals handle multiple cases and tasks at a single time, so it is crucial that they manage their time and put their organizational skills to use.
- Research Skills-
Attorneys usually require Paralegals to prepare several documents and drafts. Therefore, it is important that Paralegals have good research skills so they can assist the attorneys efficiently.
See more: Where Do Paralegals Work
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