If you want to become a lawyer then you need to earn your Juris Doctorate (JD) and pass the bar exam. Then, wham, you are considered a lawyer, even if an unemployed one. They say that to be a writer you need just have a wall of rejection letters from publishers. And, earn your M.D. and you are automatically a doctor, job or no job. But if you earn your paralegal online degree are you instantly a paralegal? Yes and no. There are advantages and disadvantages to distance learning education, specifically to choosing a paralegal online degree.
Becoming a Paralegal
While there are some organizations that offer certifications for paralegals, really in order to become a paralegal you need simply to land a job. There is no legal requirement that a paralegal have a degree or certification. You simply need to have an employer who believes that you have what it takes to research case law, manage evidence and research and help them prepare for court and serve their clients. Many people begin as legal secretaries, getting coffee, filing papers, typing depositions and more. Then, once they have "learned the ropes" so to speak, they develop knowledge and skills that make them valuable enough to serve as a paralegal. If one of the lawyers or legal partners recognizes their skill, then they promote them to paralegal status, no paralegal online degree required - no degree or certification at all, in fact. It can happen.
While you can become a paralegal with no experience, no education and no degree, this is the long, slow path to a career as a paralegal; definitely not the most effective. This path requires starting at the very bottom floor of a business and truly taking your time - many years likely - to work your way up the ladder. The problem with this is that the pay is much less as you work your way up and there is no guarantee that you will ever be elevated to paralegal status, since other people who do have an education, perhaps a paralegal online degree, or experience will keep stepping into line in front of you. In fact, in today's business world you may not even be able to find a legal secretary job without a degree. Getting a paralegal online degree and a paralegal certification is really your best way to guarantee that you can find a good paying job most quickly.
Get the Degree and Certification
Earning a paralegal online degree is an important first step to a secure job as a paralegal. By earning a degree you develop the necessary skills to assist lawyers in their research and writing, helping them to conduct research on case law and precedence, and to serve their clients in and out of court. To break into the field of being a paralegal quickly and with the most pay, you should earn a paralegal online degree and then seek personal certification. Read our article, "A Paralegal Bachelors Degree Online vs Paralegal Classes or Certification" to learn more about certifications; these examinations take just one or two days to complete and can really make your resume stand out in an ocean of resumes.
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