Decide how Much Time You Are Willing to Devote

Education and obtaining a paralegal certification need to fit within your life. You will need to decide how much time you are willing to devote to not only the training and certification portions but also to the career in general. Paralegals are part of a fast-paced and high stress community, which can sometimes be more than a 40-hour per week job. Knowing how you want to spend your time will help you make the best career choices for you.

Paralegals come from all different types of backgrounds. When determining the best paralegal certification track for you, remember that there are multiple paths you can take to become a certified paralegal. Choose the path that fits best with your lifestyle and the amount of time you have decided to allot this goal.

Some paralegals choose to attend a college or university with a four-year degree program and then take a paralegal certification exam. This requires a four-year commitment to school. Some individuals are able to hold a part-time job during this type of education and others are not.

Other paralegals are able to complete a two-year degree program and take some extra training or furthering education courses prior to taking a certification exam. Some two-year programs have an evening class option allowing some students to continue working full time while in school.

Still other paralegal students are able to gain enough work experience and meet all necessary requirements to take and pass the paralegal certification examination. This is difficult for many since being hired into a law firm with no experience is unlikely. You may also want to explore the option of an online degree in paralegal studies. With many online degrees, you are able to work at your own pace, during the times you are able to. No path is better than another; the key is the amount of time you are able to devote and the best route for you.

Make a list of priorities to determine how much time you are able to devote. Remember that there will be times you need to take home schoolwork and possibly even work from the office. You may want to discuss your choices with family members or a spouse to gain their input and support regarding the time you will need to devote.

Discuss the life-and-work balance with paralegals from different types of offices and fields. Each field has different commitments and standards to which paralegals are held. Getting an accurate depiction of the time required of you will help you determine the focus of your studies and which path is right for you.


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