A person who wants to get started in a legal career can do so through paralegal distance learning. This involves learning through correspondence or online courses, or a combination of both. A paralegal is someone who has specialized legal training to be a lawyer's assistant. These professionals help lawyers with projects like depositions and document preparation. The requirements for paralegal certification are typically different in each country, so it is important to choose the right program.
Paralegal studies are usually offered at both two-year and four-year colleges, and other educational institutions. Paralegal distance learning is a good option for those who cannot attend classes locally because none are offered, or are offered at inconvenient times. These classes might be available at a college that offers distance courses, or at a vocational school that offers correspondence programs. Many of these types of schools even offer financial assistance, scholarships, and grants to make paralegal distance learning more affordable.
Online paralegal courses are one way many people can complete paralegal training, though mail correspondence courses may also be offered. This type of education can offer training in a few different professional categories. For example, those looking for fast employment may opt for a certificate that usually takes about a year to complete. This is a minimal amount of legal training and may help in securing an entry-level job.
An associate's degree that takes about two years to complete is usually the next level of available paralegal distance learning. Someone with this degree may have better job prospects. Typically, the best choice for a long-term legal career is a bachelor's degree, which usually takes about four years to earn. Often, a person can earn a degree a little faster through paralegal distance learning than with traditional classes, because each student can study at his own pace.
When choosing a program, it is important to make sure the curriculum qualifies graduates for paralegal certification, if that is the ultimate goal. A vocational school that is not accredited properly, for instance, might offer a legal program that is not recognized by certifying bodies. In other words, a diploma or certificate from a school like that may be worthless to potential employers. In the U.S., paralegal distance learning offered by schools that are approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) are generally a good choice. In other countries, look for a school approved by the major legal certifying organization in that nation to be sure the education will be valuable.