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What is involved in getting paralegal certification?

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Quick Answer

Although students take various paths to receive paralegal certification, many choose to go to community colleges that offer associate's degree paralegal programs, notes the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Some colleges also offer bachelor's or master's degree paralegal programs while some employers offer entry-level positions for paralegals that require no specific paralegal training. However, some of these employers require a bachelor's degree in another or related field.

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The training for an associate or bachelor's degree paralegal typically involves training in legal research, academic subjects and computer use for legal applications, reports the BLS. Some certificate programs provide paralegal training for those who already hold bachelor's degrees. Many offer internships, giving students the opportunity to work in the capacity of a paralegal in a law office or other organization under the supervision of other paralegals.

Employers generally give preference to candidates who have some experience in a legal setting. Firms may also look for candidates who have experience in a specialty field, such as health administration or nursing. Paralegals made around $46,990 per year in 2012, with the lowest-paid among them making $29,420 and the highest making more than $75,410. The field is anticipated to grow around 17 percent faster than average by 2022.

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