Your Guide To Choosing An Accredited Paralegal Program
If you are planning to pursue a successful career as a paralegal, the journey begins by getting trained for it. Taking a paralegal program from a learning institution is the initial step you need to take to get closer to your dream.
These days, there are so many schools out there that are offering paralegal programs. Many graduates of these programs strive to work for law firms without being a full-fledged lawyer. Being a paralegal is the closest thing to being a lawyer – you get to carry out tasks that are normally delegated by a lawyer to a paralegal, which might include drafting legal documents, talking with clients and interviewing key witnesses. Indeed, the life of paralegal is both exciting and challenging!
It is important for an aspiring paralegal to successfully finish a paralegal program at a local accredited school. To get started, you need to identify institutions in your area that are providing paralegal study courses, as well as ensure that you meet the minimum requirements for admission.
In your search to find the best paralegal program you might be wondering if you should opt for one that is and accredited paralegal school.
By the sound of it, an accredited paralegal program could be best for anyone looking to enroll in a course to become a paralegal. While it’s true that there are a number of perks that goes with choosing an accredited program, it doesn’t necessarily mean that a person who wants to become a paralegal should steer clear of a paralegal program that is not accredited. For example, someone who does not qualify to for admissions to an accredited school might opt to join an online school that does not have accreditation.
What Does an Accredited Paralegal Program Mean?
Put simply, an accredited paralegal program is something that is recognized by a local or state bar association or any other accrediting bodies. Opting for a paralegal program that is accredited is an assurance that you are about to take up something whose effectiveness is guaranteed by the accrediting association or body.
In the US, it is the American Bar Association or ABA that may be responsible for giving accreditation to paralegal programs being offered by various learning institutions in the country. These days, there are a number of paralegal training programs available in the US, and it is said that only a small number of those are ABA accredited.
Does This Mean That Non-Accredited Programs are Not Good?
Accreditation is a voluntary step by an institution. In addition, it also doesn’t come cheap – a school offering a paralegal program has to shell out lots of money just for its offered paralegal program to be accredited. Not all learning institutions that carry paralegal programs can afford to be accredited.
Fortunately, it doesn’t necessarily mean that a non-accredited paralegal program being offered by a school is not a good one. Actually, there are many paralegal programs that may not have accreditation but still closely follow the guidelines laid down by the ABA or any other similar association or body.
For your peace of mind, it might make sense to only apply to accredited paralegal program to ensure that you receive a high quality and effective program.
Going for Accredited Paralegal Programs Comes With Perks
There is no denying that an accredited paralegal program is more appealing and sounds more legit than a non-accredited part, and it definitely goes both ways for individuals who want to become successful paralegals one day and lawyers and law firms who are on the hunt for paralegals to take under their wing.
A paralegal program that is accredited by the ABA or any other accrediting agency is guaranteed to come with a certain quality. After all, it wouldn’t get the accreditation it wanted to have if the accrediting association or body the school had approached didn’t see it exuding excellence in the first place.
That is one of the different perks that you may enjoy when choosing an accredited paralegal program – it might be more likely that you are investing your time and money in the right paralegal program.
Increased Chance of Getting Employed at a Top-Notch Law Firm
When looking for paralegals to hire, numerous law firms check whether or not the paralegal programs completed with success by the applicants are accredited. That’s because employers can rest assured that the ones they are planning to hire have finished programs that followed strict guidelines.
This means that when the time for you to apply for a paralegal job comes, your chance of being chosen by a lawyer or law firm is higher if the paralegal program you have completed is accredited.
If you were to apply for a job at the same time as another person who completed a paralegal program that isn’t accredited, then your resume will likely look more appealing to the attorney or law firm. The job market for paralegals these days can be a highly competitive one, and finishing an accredited paralegal program can give you the edge you need to be hired.
Another factor to consider, should you eventually decide to pursue master’s or doctorate programs, you may not qualify to attend accredited schools if the paralegal program you completed is not accredited.
Other Important Factors to Take Into Account
There are also a number of factors that should be considered when deciding which paralegal program is best for you aside from whether or not it is accredited.
The friendliness of the staff, commitment of the faculty members, tuition fees, employer’s satisfaction rate – these and more are factors that you should consider, too, when choosing which paralegal program you should go for. Give it enough time because your future in the legal field as a paralegal greatly depends on your actions today.
*In no way does Fremont College promise or guarantee employment or level of income/wages. Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law.