While the work can be intensive, getting a paralegal certificate altogether is not difficult. Becoming a paralegal can happen in several ways. Each state has its own requirements for becoming a paralegal. One may become a paralegal by working directly for a lawyer, by having an education in a field similar to that of a paralegal, such as Criminal Justice. One may become a paralegal by receiving certification or with a degree.
When one begins their paralegal certification, whichever method they employ can seem difficult. For instance, there is a lot of ground to cover in just the basics. A future paralegal must understand precisely what a paralegal does and that legal advice cannot be given. In addition, there are several laws and processes to become familiar with. For instance, the California Code of Civil Procedure is important in providing time frames in which particular court documents must be answered and filed with the court.
Paralegal certification can be obtained in a year or in a shorter duration of time. It may also be obtained through a traditional class or may be obtained online through a course specializing in becoming a paralegal. In addition, future continuing education requirements may be required and obtained through online services or traditional classroom settings. Depending upon the educational course followed, particular guidelines, such as examination is usually required in order to become a paralegal. These examinations cover everything learned in a course—how to cite sources, look up case law, using particular templates for particular documents and other pertinent information related to legal procedures.
It is not required to receive certification; however, several law firms are now requesting that entry level paralegals have certification. Although certification is not required, it can make the difference in getting hired quicker. It is more favorable that a paralegal possess basic information rather than being required to learn while on the job. With a little hard work and dedication to learning the basics to becoming a paralegal, it can be done. In addition, several paralegal certification courses assist entry level paralegals obtain a job. This extra help can assist a person to be hired upon completion of a paralegal course.