Due to the certified paralegal profession being one of the fastest growing careers, many people are seeking the best online paralegal programs and schools for their degree and certification. The attention its getting is clearly justified as this career also provides a median wage that is well over the national average and many certified paralegals that go on to work with premier firms can expect to make up to $75,000 or more each year in salary. In order to start on your career path, it is in your best interests to choose a top paralegal certification programs in which to complete and it can also easily be considered a necessity.
You should choose an ABA approved program because there are currently over one thousand programs for paralegal alone being offered in the US. However, only 260 programs have actually been approved by the American Bar Association. While it is not necessary that you graduate from an ABA approved and accredited program in order to land employment, it can help to boost your chances for employment.
The International Paralegal Management Association, members of the association and other employers have stated that they do desire candidates that have graduated from these approved programs. They have also stated that doing so has given them an edge of those that graduated from an unapproved program. Because these are tough economic times, it is in the best interest of everyone to try for every chance they have to secure their employment both now and in the future.
This isn’t to say that you should only choose a program because it is ABA approved. There are plenty of programs that are affordable being offered by schools that have a reputation for excellence, provide online learning options and have a loyal following when it comes to successful alumni.
Having a certification is a big help during the hiring decisions. While no single interview can predict just how well you would perform on the job, it is however a good indicator to how strong your commitment is to the career you have chosen for yourself. It shows that the certification could have taken many years to achieve and keeping that certification also takes an effort. A certified paralegal is required to complete a minimum of 50 hours of approved continuing legal education and this must be completed every five years.
This certification will also give verification to your background and your experience. This provides the professional and educational documents that future employers need, without them having to take the extra time to verify your credential once you become a paralegal. This also means that the background has already been checked by the school and it also gives the employers options when it comes to creating opportunity for growth. This also means that private law firms will be able to bill at higher rates due to the educational background of their employees.
The completion of your certification also will serve to build confidence and also competence which is something that employers look for during the hiring process. Having a certification also helps employers be able to provide a better service to their clients. The programs are also easy for employers to adapt into training and development for on the job. Taking the paralegal’s original job description to a more specialized one, like corporate real estate or immigration.