You are a legal assistant or a paralegal depending on whether you are affiliated to the National Association of Legal Assistants or the National Federation of Paralegal Associations. You can become a paralegal after successfully undergoing a course of study that leads to an associate’s degree from a community college. You can also become a paralegal by studying and obtaining a paralegal certificate, if you already have a bachelor’s degree.
Presently, you can obtain a bachelors’ or a masters’ degree from some Universities via their on-campus or online programs. You can also be trained on the job by your employer. You can also leverage a technical experience that is useful to law firms. An example of this is preparing of tax and estate documents, criminal justice, personal injury practice, nursing or health administration.
The American Bar Association (ABA) have so far approved about 300 paralegal programs in addition to about 1,000 colleges, law schools, universities and proprietary schools providing assorted paralegal educational programs. I want you to know that ABA approval does not apply to all programs, but it is best for you to graduate from an accredited school that is approved by the American Bar Association.
Each University or proprietary school has its own unique admission requirements. Some give admission to applicants who are high school graduates and applicants with few college credits while there are some schools that only admit applicants who have bachelors’ degree.
Obviously, the quality of the training you get will depend largely on the type of school or institution you enroll with. If you are a high school graduate and get your paralegal training from a community college, your exposure surely will not be the same as someone who gets trained in an accredited higher instruction such as Kaplan.