What Is The Difference Between A Paralegal Certificate And Paralegal Certification?
Lawyers would not be able to defend their clients effectively if they did not have the help of paralegals who help them in a variety of ways. Paralegals conduct research on laws and regulations that are related to the case or cases being handled by the attorneys they work for. They also look at the facts of the case and talk with clients and witnesses to get their depositions. They collect evidence for the lawyer to review and write legal briefs. They are also tasked with keeping records and organizing files.
There are many ways to become a paralegal. They can enroll in a two-year paralegal program offered at community colleges so they can get an associate degree. There are also bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in paralegal studies offered in colleges and universities. There are also others who hold bachelor’s degrees in other fields who may be hired by law offices to do the work of paralegals even if they don’t have the requisite paralegal educational training. They are usually trained on the job.
Even if a certification is not mandatory in the United States, paralegals often get them to enhance their credentials to employers. When it comes to paralegals, a certificate and certification mean two different things. A paralegal certificate should not be confused with a paralegal certification because the two cannot be interchanged.
A certificate proves that a paralegal has already finished a paralegal education program mentioned above. If the educational program specifies that upon a graduation a post-baccalaureate paralegal certificate will be given, the requirement for entry will be for the student to already hold a bachelor’s degree in another course before undertaking paralegal studies. This program will most likely only cover legal specialty courses inasmuch as students have already finished the general education prerequisites in their undergraduate course. The paralegal will be given a certificate of completion after complying with all the course requirements in paralegal studies.
A paralegal certification is given to a paralegal who has passed a certification exam and other requirements of national paralegal organizations like the National Federation of Paralegal Associations and the National Association of Legal Assistants. There are also other organizations that offer certification to paralegals working in certain states. In addition to passing a certification exam, an aspiring paralegal usually must have met the educational and work requirements before being granted the formal recognition as a certified paralegal.
As mentioned above, certification for paralegals is not required so there are some paralegals who work without getting certification. In a nutshell, a paralegal who possesses a certificate of completion in paralegal studies is not necessarily a certified paralegal.
A certified paralegal always possesses a paralegal certificate since this is a requirement for the certification process. Getting certification is always going to be an advantage because it signifies competence, experience and professionalism in the field. Holding the certified paralegal designation is also going to lead to better job opportunities because employers prefer those who have gone through the certification process.
Career Spotlight: Paralegal
A paralegal works in the legal world by giving support lawyers in various ways. For example, you will help look into the facts of a case and ascertain the events that happened before, during and after[...]