When many people think of pursuing a career in law, they automatically think about becoming a lawyer. Becoming a lawyer can be a long and tedious process. Many people are disappointed when they realize they do not wish to commit to this process, but they do still want to pursue a career in law. Becoming a paralegal is the perfect solution. There are very lenient requirements for becoming a paralegal in Alabama. This is great news for individuals who want to start their career quickly. Keep reading to find out what you need to know about becoming a paralegal and Alabama paralegal requirements.
Why Should I Become a Paralegal in Alabama?
Paralegal work provides an individual with the satisfaction of working up close and personal with lawyers and attorneys in a law firm. They provide necessary legal support in the legal process. Paralegals also get to enjoy a great salary as well as the satisfaction of helping their fellow community members deal with their legal issues.
In the state of Alabama it is very easy to become a paralegal. There are no legally mandated Alabama paralegal requirements. Many paralegals receive their training on the job. This is very appealing for individuals who do not wish to pursue further education but do wish to be part of an exciting career path.
Paralegals do enjoy a great salary range in Alabama. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics a paralegal can expect to earn a salary of between $48,000 to $51,000 annually.
Although Alabama does not require certification to become a paralegal, paralegal certification in Alabama is recommended. This type of certification can help you gain an edge over your competition when you are applying for paralegal jobs. Paralegal positions are competitive and it does help to have some paralegal education and certification.
Paralegal Education in Alabama
Again, obtaining a paralegal education is not required by law in Alabama, but pursuing an Alabama paralegal certification program can be very helpful. It is advised that you seek out certification through a nationally recognized organization such as NALA. Through NALA you can take an exam to become a certified paralegal or a CP. If you have also completed a paralegal education, such as an Associates Degree or Bachelor’s Degree in paralegal studies, then you can qualify to become an Advanced CP. All of this will give you the necessary advantage to land the job you want with the law firm you want.
Once an individual has completed their paralegal education, they can then seek to become certified. Although paralegal certification is not a requirement in Alabama, most law firms will look for this certification before hiring a paralegal. This certification gives the law firm an assurance that you have received at least a basic education in the field of paralegal work. It is highly recommended that you obtain this certification.
What Does It Take To Become a Paralegal in Alabama
It is required that you be at least 18 years old to become a paralegal. In many cases some experience within a law firm is also required. You can obtain this experience by applying for internships within a law firm. An internship is an unpaid training program in which you will get to see how a business operates on a day to day basis first hand. This is often an essential part of career preparation.
It is also necessary that a paralegal be a legal citizen of the United States and a legal citizen of the state in which they are working.
High ethical standards are also a must. Any work in the legal field will require tough ethical decisions to be made, so it is very important that a paralegal have high ethical standards.
You will also need to be able to pass a criminal background check.
Educational Requirements in Alabama
Although the state of Alabama does not mandate that you complete a particular course of study in order to become a paralegal, it is advised to seek out some paralegal training. Many law offices will prefer to work with paralegals which have completed an Associates or Bachelors degree in paralegal studies.
What Will I Do as a Working Alabama Paralegal?
Paralegals provide crucial daily support for lawyers. They will often be in charge of writing reports, investigating facts to prove their authenticity as well as research laws which may be applicable to a case. Many times paralegals are asked to draft important documents such as contracts and briefings. Paralegals are often required to conduct necessary research that can assist the attorney with a case.