Anyone interested in becoming a paralegal has many options of which college, university, or business school to attend. Some schools require students to complete part of their studies in the classroom, but there are many others who allow those enrolled in the program to do all of their studies online. There are certificate programs, usually designed for those who are already working in a law office who want to learn the basics about laws to add to their experience, or for candidates who have already earned an Associate’s Degree or Bachelor’s Degree. In addition, other choices exist for the paralegal candidate. There are Associate’s Degrees, Bachelor’s Degrees, and Master’s Degrees in Paralegal Studies as well. Degree programs focus on Paralegal Studies, but they also include other general college courses.
Online studies are very good for the person who is mature enough to complete work independently. There is online support for students to some degree. Professors will communicate with students on a limited basis. Before beginning an online paralegal program, students must be accepted into the school. If it is a college or university, they must meet all of the prerequisites necessary for admission. Then, the candidate must be accepted into the paralegal studies program. Acceptance is usually granted once the student is admitted to the college.
Most schools require a student to pay for the online course in full before they are allowed to access the website to begin their studies. Tuition may be higher for online programs than for classroom-based studies, as in the case of Duke University whose fee is one thousand dollars more for online studies. In addition, students must pay a $500 book fee, whereas those who study on campus have their books included in the fee for the program.
There are many colleges and universities that require students to complete part of their studies on campus before they are allowed to complete the program online. There is good reason for this unless a student has a previous degree, is familiar with the accepted styles of writing and formatting of papers, and has time for many hours of reading online and in textbooks. The advantage of classroom learning is that many people are audio learners who learn through the spoken word. If they read the very same information, they may comprehend only a small part of it. On the other hand, if they hear the same thing, their brain computes the information and they retain it. Classroom learning also allows students to learn from other students, one of the main ways that people learn. Hearing the questions and comments of others often answers questions that have not yet been asked. Of course, there are counselors and advisors for online programs who are able to help students if they are struggling alone with a particular element of the course.
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Students need to consider that many attorneys do not care if they earned their paralegal training at a famous university, or if they earned it at an unknown business school, as long as the program was accredited and accepted by the legal board in their area. A student may not want to spend $60,000 to earn an Associate’s Degree in Paralegal Studies if there is the chance of spending around $5,000 for an online course. Most paralegals in the U.S. begin their careers with an Associate’s Degree. After working in a law office for a few years, they may earn their certificate. Another choice for those considering this field is to earn this degree at a state university in their own particular state, rather than paying three, four, or more times more in tuition to the school.
Online paralegal courses are usually appropriate for those who need to work while they are completing their studies. They are able to do the research, reading, and writing in the evening and on the weekends. Whether the paralegal program is completed on the school campus or online, it is a challenging program that will keep the student very busy.