Paralegal Training Courses

If you are looking for paralegal training courses, you have a couple of broad categories to choose from. A number of schools offer courses in a classroom setting, either during the day or in the evening. The traditional way of training for a career may not be the right choice for all students, and studying online is a way for people who are unable to attend classes at a school or who want to get an education while working full time to work toward their goal of becoming a paralegal.

Community College Programs

Community colleges offering Associate’s degree programs in Paralegal Studies are a good choice for students are coming straight from high school. Students take courses in various legal topics, as well as other academic areas while enrolled in the program. Examples of the kinds of subjects offered by these schools include the following:

  • Administrative Law
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Civil Procedure
  • Contracts
  • Criminal Law
  • Family Law
  • Intellectual Property
  • Labor Law
  • Law Office Technology
  • Law Office Procedures
  • Legal Ethics
  • Legal Research
  • Litigation Practice and Procedure
  • Medical Paralegal Law
  • Probate Practice and Procedures
  • Real Estate and Property Law
  • Torts

A student enrolled in a full-time day program at a community college can expect to pay approximately $3,000 in tuition per academic year. (The exact amount will vary, depending on the educational institution.) The cost of books and materials, transportation, room and board and personal expenses are not included in this figure.

Certificate Programs

Paralegal training programs that award a certificate on completion are geared toward learners who have already completed an undergraduate degree. The program is focused on legal topics, and may be completed in a matter of months. Students may be required to complete certain core courses and then can choose from a number of electives to focus their education in a certain area of law. Examples of required courses include:

  • Contract Law
  • Ethics and Professional Responsibility
  • Legal Research and Writing
  • Litigation
  • Personal Injury and Tort Litigation

The elective part of the program includes subjects similar to the following:

  • Bankruptcy Law
  • Corporate Law
  • Employment Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Evidence for Paralegals
  • Interviewing and Investigating
  • Landlord and Tenant
  • Wills and Trusts

Students interested in pursuing a certificate in Paralegal Studies can choose to do so in a classroom setting or online. Remote studying is a popular choice for working adults who wish to upgrade their skills or prepare for a career change.

The cost of a certificate program varies, depending on whether a student is enrolled on a full-time or part-time basis. For example, tuition for the Paralegal Studies program offered by California State University is $6,590. Choosing an online program of study means getting an education at a lower cost; tuition for the Paralegal Certificate program offered by Boston University is $3,295 for the seven required courses. (These fees are accurate as of November 2010.)

On the Job Training

Some people become paralegals by getting an entry-level position in a law firm and learning the skills they need on the job. This is the least expensive way to get training but without formal credentials, a person who has been trained in this manner may find it challenging to obtain employment in a similar capacity elsewhere.

A better choice for a person who is working in the legal field without formal training would be to take an evening or online program to complete a diploma or certificate in Paralegal Studies. Since a better level of education would benefit the employer as well as the employee, a person who wants to upgrade employment skills could approach the law firm’s management to ask for help paying for the program.

Choosing an Approved Program

There are approximately 1,000 colleges, universities and specialized schools offering Paralegal Studies programs in the United States. Of the programs offered, 260 have been approved by the American Bar Association. Prospective students should take the time to consider their options carefully and ask whether the schools they are considering are recognized by this professional organization.

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