Law firms everywhere hire paralegals to help with the work load. They even assign them to certain clients when a full-fledged lawyer is not required. For example, to send a warning letter to a problematic neighbor or to advise someone that action is forthcoming.
For both clients and law firms, paralegals can be a bonus because their hours are billed out much cheaper than the lawyer’s time.
Plus, they can do the grunt work of researching and investigating, freeing up the lawyer’s time for courtroom appearances and client situations that need a lawyer specialized in a specific field. Basically, the paralegal, sometimes referred to as a legal assistant, will complete any tasks assigned by the the employer whether it be a government office, law firm, or non-profit agency.
Let’s look at what qualifies as a legitimate paralegal certification online.
#1 National Federation of Paralegal Associations
The NFPA was established in 1974 and is made up of many local organizations, which in turn has their own individual member paralegals. It is a voluntary driven association which means that the organization responds to changes in laws and societal moral code by working with varies bodies such as the Department of Labor, state bar associations and court committees to ensure their members stay up to date with current legislation.
While the rules of the association are not legally mandated, per se, the individual members must adhere to a published code of ethics if they wish to join.
In 1996, the NFPA launched the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam® and then in 2011, the Paralegal CORE Competency Exam™ . Following are brief outlines of the paralegal certification online tests.
PACE® is a four hour exam that includes two-hundred multiple choice questions. Applicants require at least a Bachelor’s level education and some work experience before being reviewed to take the exam. Should students choose, they can purchase a study guide to understand the material. Once the exam is completed, applicants will be notified of their passing or failing grade the same day. In order to maintain the certification, course work is required every two years.
PCCE™ focuses on the potential abilities of entry level paralegals. It is administered by computer and offered to students both in the USA and Canada. A handbook is available for those qualified to take the exam.
#2 National Association of Legal Assistants
NALA was founded in 1975 and is a voluntary paralegal certification online. Individual associations can apply to become members of NALA, and in turn, their members are kept abreast of industry changes.
The organization offers the CP Certified Paralegal® Program, which is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. The test is called the Knowledge Exam and has one-hundred and twenty questions to be completed within three hours. Results are available the same day.
#3 Duke University
When one of the most prestigious universities in the world offers any program, you know that you will have the best credentials available. And that is also the case with their Paralegal Online Certificate and their Paralegal Specialist Online Program for paralegals already working in the field. Duke’s program is quite flexible, as there are no official deadlines, but it must be completed within a year of enrolling online.
Generally speaking, it is three-hundred hours of course work, after which, the successful graduate receives a Certificate in Paralegal Studies from Duke University Continuing Studies. If desired, the individual might then apply to sit for one of the aforementioned national exams, although not entirely necessary.
Requirements to take the course include being eighteen years of age, completely fluent in oral and written English, and a bachelor’s degree. Financing is available for tuition, as the complete course will run in the neighborhood of seven thousand dollars. Books are extra.
A graduate’s personal experience with Ashworth College Paralegal Certification Online