Many colleges and universities offer paralegal classes that can lead to a career as a paralegal. There are different ways to complete training for this career, including certificate programs, Associates Degrees, Bachelor’s Degrees, and Master’s Degrees. In addition, there are online courses that can also lead to jobs in law offices. Preparation for this career can last from four months to four years. Those who want to enter this field need to consider several factors before deciding which program to enter, including what they hope to do in their career, whether it is a stepping stone to a law degree, and if they have prior experience in a law office.
Paralegal classes for a certificate program can lead to a better job for someone who already works in a law office. The person may be a secretary or administrative assistant who wants to add basic legal training to their educational experience. Certificate classes do not lead to a degree, and programs may last from six weeks to eighteen months. These classes are often the right choice for those with a college degree who want to change careers, and move into a paralegal position. This is not usually the best program for students who have just finished high school and want to enter this career because certificate programs do not focus on general communication, business, or other basic courses that may be helpful in this line of work. Their main focus is on litigation, real estate law, bankruptcy law, and probate law.
The fastest way to complete a paralegal certificate program is at Duke University. Students can choose from several options from the college’s Continuing Studies Program . One of these is an accelerated summer program that allows a student to earn a certificate in only six weeks, during May and June. Students attend classes daily, including some Saturdays to complete a program that normally takes four months in only six weeks. The tuition for this program is $5,995. This college in North Carolina also offers classroom training with classes that meet two days during the week and on Saturdays. The tuition for this option is the same as for the summer intensive program. An online program allows students to complete all courses online, and the tuition for this option is $6,995, plus $500 for books.
The University of California Irvine offers a paralegal certificate program as well. The program requires 300 hours of instruction, and it must be completed within five years of when the first course was taken. If a student chooses to study online, a minimum of 150 hours of classroom instruction must be completed before beginning the online courses. In-state tuition for one year is around $9,000, while out-of-state students can expect to pay around $32,000 for a year at this school.
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Indiana University is a school in the Midwest that offers a paralegal certificate program. The part-time evening schedule is designed for working adults, and it takes a minimum of two years to complete. Classes are on campus and are taught by legal professionals. Tuition for in-state students is about $195 per semester hour and $539 for out-of-state students.
There are many other colleges and universities that offer certificate programs for paralegals. Most of them accommodate working people by offering evening or Saturday classes, and many allow working students to move at a slower pace at completing courses than full-time students. Anyone looking for a paralegal certificate program should also check nearby business schools and community colleges since they often have paralegal programs. Every state has certificate programs that lead to a paralegal certificate. Another source where this certificate can be earned is at local law schools. Although not all offer courses to paralegals, many do have programs that train paralegals and provide certificate courses.