Paralegal Certification and Degrees

There are several avenues those interested in becoming a paralegal can take to achieve their goal. The path you choose will vary depending on your situation and educational desires. There are over 1,000 paralegal education programs throughout the United States that offer a variety of courses, specialties, degrees, and other options. It is important for potential students to understand the different types of paralegal degrees and certification in order to make an informed decision about their education.

Paralegal Certification and Degrees

An associate’s degree in paralegal studies is awarded after completion of a two-year college program. This type of degree is offered at many community colleges and four-year colleges and universities throughout the U.S. While getting this degree, students will be taught general education subject matter, basic legal concepts, and some of the universal tasks required of a paralegal.

A commonly made mistake is that an individual holding a certificate in paralegal studies is a certified paralegal; this is not the case. A certificate is earned after completion of a specified course for those who already hold a bachelor’s degree or an associate’s degree. The certificate signifies that the person has completed their educational duties and is recognized by the American Bar Association as holding the certificate and degree. Conversely, a certified paralegal is one who has completed a professional certification exam, notifying employers and clients that they possess a specified level of understanding and competence in the field.

With the ever-changing needs of a technological society, a plethora of online paralegal degrees and certification programs have evolved. Students can earn both a paralegal certificate and become a certified paralegal online. Of course, the minimum requirements to obtain each still hold true. For some, acquiring an education online is just much more feasible due to the convenience and flexibility.


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