Paralegal Certification – An Insider’s Perspective

| Total Words: 503

Believe it or not, a paralegal (or legal assistant) is not a licensed profession in the United States. While some paralegals originally received on the job training when the profession came into existence in the 1960s and 1970s, more people entering the field today do so with certification. Certification is voluntary, not a requirement to be a paralegal. However, a paralegal with certification and special training is generally better prepared for promotion and will stand out in a field of candidates who might likely meet most qualifications but who are not certified.

To get certified as a paralegal or legal assistant (the terms are used interchangeably), one must pass a test from one of several paralegal organizations. Certification for paralegals is a little like that of attorneys. Just because an attorney passes law school doesn’t make him or her a lawyer. They must first pass the bar exam. The same situation is true for paralegals. Completion of a certification program does not make one a certified paralegal. It’s passing the exit exam that issues that certification.

In addition to entering the field as a certified paralegal, most of today’s...

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