Did you know that there is a big difference between paralegal certificate programs and formal paralegal certification? The person who goes for their certification has already gotten a few years of training and education (and most have at least an associate’s degree in paralegal studies). The people who complete paralegal certificate programs are those who are only just considering working in this industry.
Why would they even bother with the paralegal certificate programs if they want to do so much more? Here is the primary reason behind such a wise decision: most law firms and businesses want to hire paralegals that have work experience. Few will just hire someone who has just graduated and gotten their certification. So, if you have the certificate, you can go ahead and get an entry level position with a firm. This will let you develop working knowledge and experience, and you can then begin taking the classes that get you to your degree.
When you finish a degree and get the level of certification you want, you will have at least two full years of experience “under your belt”. This is going to open many more doors than just the initial degree might do. Imagine that: you have a degree and certification but cannot get hired, but your years of lower level legal work plus the new certification makes you a hot commodity!
Think too that the paralegal and legal assistant fields are anticipated to boom in the coming years – with some saying that growth can go as high as 30% per year by 2018. This means that there are a lot of opportunities, but there is also a lot of competition. Entering the most appropriate paralegal certificate programs is one way to get your foot in the door. You can work and study at the same time; gaining the experience you need to make you a good candidate while also learning the most possible about your chosen career.
Certificates can be obtained in a traditional classroom setting, but one of the simplest and most efficient methods is to obtain your training in an online setting. This saves time and money, gives you the widest array of choices, and generally gives you the widest range of opportunities. You can learn about any area of the law, hone your skills, and then get the certification that gives you the job you will really enjoy.