If you want to learn how to become a paralegal in New Jersey it isn’t difficult if you know the appropriate steps. Having the proper education is one of the most important things you will have to be concerned with. Once you have your training, the next step is to get the hands-on training you need to be able to do the job effectively. The more you learn while working as a paralegal, the easier it will be for you to obtain your certification.
How to Become a Paralegal in New Jersey
Finding out how to become a paralegal in New Jersey requires that you are willing to put in the time and effort to learn a paralegal’s duties as well as the laws and statutes of the state you will be working in. While New Jersey doesn’t require that a paralegal be certified (although it is much preferred), the state does require that you have the proper training in the form of a certification program or an actual paralegal degree program.
Complete Your Paralegal Training
If you are ready to learn how to become a paralegal in NJ, you will need to find out what school will provide you with the best possible education. Many classes can be taken online. Pepperdine Law, Fordham University, and the Washington University School of Law all offer online degree programs for paralegal studies. There are several schools and universities throughout the area that offer paralegal certification programs. Many offer Associates’ and Bachelor’s Degree options for those who may be considering moving past a simple paralegal degree and onto an actual law degree or post-graduate studies.
Get Hired as a Paralegal Intern
Another common concern for individuals who are wanting to find out how to become a certified paralegal in NJ is trying to get the hands-on experience they need to get their New Jersey Paralegal Certification. Depending on what type of classes you’ve taken and how much work credit you have earned, it is in your best interest to find work in a law firm as a paralegal intern. Not only will this provide you with valuable work experience, it will also act as possible credit hours toward your final degree.
Study and Pass the New Jersey Paralegal Certification Exam
The next step after finding work and receiving your paralegal degree is to study for and pass your New Jersey Paralegal Certification Exam. You will have to apply for certification through the state. This involves completing the application and mailing it with the documentation they require. You will also have to enclose a check for $35 made payable to the South Jersey Paralegal Association. Once you have scheduled, taken, and passed your test, the Association will mail your Certificate of Completion to you.
Join an Organization with Other Paralegals in NJ
The final step is to join organizations for paralegals who work in the state of New Jersey. This will help you find the necessary continuing education courses you will need to keep your Certification active and in good standing. In order to maintain your state certification, you will have to complete a specific number of continuing education hours each year. If these are not completed and reported by the end of each year, your Certification will lapse and you will have to apply for it a second time.
Becoming a certified paralegal in New Jersey can be a rewarding experience. It will take time and effort, as well as dedication to your craft. When you are ready to enter the workforce, find a law firm that you will enjoy working for. Continue your education so you can look forward to a long and productive career in an industry you enjoy!