How to Get Your Paralegal Certificate Online

How to Get Your Paralegal Certificate Online

If you’re looking for a new job, why not try a whole new career? The legal world needs more paralegals – but you can only apply for paralegal positions if you have the right education and background. Fortunately, getting started as a paralegal is pretty easy. All you need to do is complete an online certificate or degree program to learn the ins and out of being a paralegal. Many can even be completed in just a number of months. If you’re ready to start a new career as a paralegal, search online to find certificate and degree programs.

Plenty of colleges and universities offer online paralegal programs that you can complete on your own schedule. Many even allow you to work at your own pace, to fit your education into your busy schedule. Search online to find out how you can get a paralegal certificate or degree right from home.

What Does a Paralegal Do?

To decide if you want to pursue a paralegal career, it’s important to understand what, exactly, that job entails. Paralegals work alongside attorneys, but there are some differences between the two.

Paralegals do work that’s pretty similar to that of attorneys. They research legal questions, write legal documents, and even learn the ins and outs of law journals, case summaries, and government documents. However, paralegals are more similar to assistants than attorneys. They tend to help lawyers with cases – they handle the legwork and preparation, file and manage documents, and help oversee what happens in a law office.

And paralegals don’t need nearly as much schooling as attorneys. As a paralegal, you can start working with just a certificate; a bachelor’s degree will help you advance in your career. Attorneys, meanwhile, must carry bachelor’s degrees and attend an extra three years of law school. 

So, you could enter the legal profession with less education and in a shorter amount of time if you opt for a paralegal path.

Paralegal Job Opportunities Are Everywhere

Paralegals are in demand. If you’re hoping to start a career with plenty of job opportunities even when other paths might be limited, becoming a paralegal could be the perfect choice.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates that through 2029, the job outlook for paralegals will increase the available jobs by 10 percent. That means this job will grow much faster than the average job.

Additionally, you can earn a median salary of $51,740 per year – or a median hourly wage of $24.87 – as a paralegal. All you need to get started is to earn your certificate or degree, which you can easily do online.

The Best Online Paralegal Certificate and Degree Programs

You don’t have to head into a traditional classroom in order to earn your paralegal degree or certificate. In fact, you can learn entirely from home – and you can finish your education in just a few months.

The key to getting a quick start on your career as a paralegal is to choose a paralegal online certificate or degree program. You’ll be able to learn within your busy schedule and do so without ever setting foot in a classroom. You may even be able to set your own pace. 

Check out some of the best online programs for learning the basics of becoming a paralegal right here.

Penn Foster

Degrees Offered:  A paralegal career diploma and an associate’s degree in paralegal studies. 

What You’ll Learn: The Penn Foster paralegal programs are nationally accredited, while the online Career School is both regionally and nationally accredited. You can master skills needed for working in private law firms, corporate legal departments, or even government agencies. You’ll come to understand legal terminology and the court system, and how to conduct legal investigations and interviews. Students also study legal writing and research alongside paralegal ethics. 

Program Length: The programs are self-paced, so you can learn however quickly or slowly you need to.

National Paralegal College

Degrees Offered: Paralegal certificates, paralegal associate’s degrees, and bachelor’s degrees in legal studies. 

What You’ll Learn: As a leader in paralegal education online, National Paralegal College introduces students to different levels of legal education. Whether you choose a certificate or degree program, you can quickly complete the necessary training and get professional development. You can get a broad foundation of legal students, learn business basics, and achieve the qualifications needed to start seeking paralegal jobs.

Program Length: Students can complete a paralegal certificate in just seven months. A paralegal associate’s degree takes 15 months, and a bachelor’s degree in legal studies takes three years or less.

Purdue University Global

Degrees Offered: A Legal Secretary certificate and a Paralegal Postbaccalaureate certificate.

What You’ll Learn: The Purdue University Global paralegal certificate programs are designed to specifically meet career goals. That means you’ll get to learn about legal secretarial skills, how paralegals participate in litigation, and critical on-the-job skills like legal writing, document processing, and software. If you’ve already completed a college degree, the Paralegal Postbaccalaureate certificate will take you even farther. It’ll introduce you to the American legal system, how to evaluate legal sources, and how to communicate effectively.

Program Length: You can learn at your own pace, and you can try out any program for an introductory three-week period.

These aren’t the only online paralegal certificate and degree programs available. If you search online, you’ll find others. Some may be shorter, some may be longer – some may be able to be done part-time. Do your research to find the right online program for your needs and your future.