Deciding to go through a paralegal certificate program is a big step…
Paralegal Certificate Programs: Finding One That Fits
When you want to get a paralegal certificate, the first place to naturally check is the local university. If there is no local university, perhaps a local community college or an online paralegal certificate programs would be the only options. Either way, you should end up finding several options. The university paralegal certificate programs are generally a bit more costly, as they go more hand-in-hand with the university courses.
More important than where it is located is what is taught in the certificate program. Does it provide preparation for the paralegal certification test? How is it run? Is it ABA approved? Different regions have different requirements and expectations than others. Certain schools will probably yield better results than others in certain areas as well. These are all important things to research. For example, if you want to be a paralegal in Indiana, going to Indiana State University will look more professional and be more desirable than going to a local community college. The university has a brand that will help; especially in the long run.
If you’re plan is to move after the work is complete, or there is no big juggernaut of a school around, any of the ABA approved paralegal certificate programs should all fit about the same. At this point, cost needs to come into play. A few things to consider when choosing from the money available paralegal certificate programs:
Financial Cost – What is the cost per credit? How many credits for the whole degree? What is the total cost? Do you have to borrow money for your paralegal certification? What is the interest rate and terms of payback?
Length – How long are the classes? How long is the entire program?
Schedule – The more flexible and more options the better.
What If There Are No Good, Local Options?
If you can’t find any good local options, there is always the option of paralegal certification online. Online paralegal certification programs are becoming more and more popular due to the flexibility involved. It’s easier for a person to continue to work and provide for their family while furthering their knowledge and getting their new career off the ground. Many people don’t have the ability to drop everything and return to school full-time. This is where online paralegal certification programs are great; they allow you to continue with your life while taking a course load you can handle.
Paralegal Certification: NYC vs Minot, ND
Another important thing to remember is where you are planning to work. If the plan is to move to New York after you graduate, you will want to check the New York requirements for paralegals as well as what the generally accepted level of education is. This may be significantly different than say, Minot, North Dakota. While the job may be the same, the paralegal certification, salary, educational requirements, and a multitude of other things may be quite different. It’s best to have a clear plan of attack prior to giving up your hard-earned money for a paralegal certificate program that may not get you where you want to go!