Train to Become a Paralegal Online
Certified paralegals play an extremely important role in the legal industry. This 100% online course will prepare you for the Certified Paralegal (CP) exam, offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). You’ll learn how to perform a variety of tasks that paralegals experience every day, such as legal research, interviews, analysis and more.
“It was different than going to a classroom, but I really enjoyed this course! Now that I‘ve finished, I help file motions for everything from reopening cases to filing for telephonic appeals,”
About the Program
Paralegals play a vital role in the legal profession. These qualified professionals take on a variety of tasks ranging from legal research to drafting legal documents in traditional law office settings and in the corporate, government, and public arenas. Formal training is a critical part of preparing for a career as a paralegal.
The Paralegal course will help you gain the skills you need to enter the paralegal workforce. You will learn how to conduct legal research and legal interviews, how to perform legal analyses, and more. As you prepare for your paralegal career, you will also receive soft skills training to increase workplace effectiveness. The course concludes with a capstone project and a portfolio review. You will first create a complete litigation file that includes: a legal analysis brief, an investigative report, client interview checklist, intake memo, complaint, legal research, and interoffice memorandum of law. Then, you will learn how to create a strong resume that encompasses your specialized skill set and showcases the impact you would make for your next employer.
Through a partnership with the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), you will also receive membership and access to NALA’s Certified Paralegal (CP) Exam Review courses should you choose to take the NALA CP exam.
This course offers enrollment with or without a voucher. The voucher is prepaid access to sit for the Certified Paralegal exam through the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) upon eligibility. Proctor fees may apply, which are not included.
- Learn the fundamentals of the U.S. legal system
- Master how to perform legal research and interviews
- Prepare yourself to take the Certified Paralegal certification exam through the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)
- Understand the basics of litigation communication skills
- Soft skills for workplace effectiveness
- Learn necessary skills required to thrive within the legal industry
There are no prerequisites to take this course. However, you will need a high school diploma or GED equivalent to start a career as a paralegal. It is also recommended that you have basic computer skills, including proficiency in the Microsoft Office suite and fundamental keyboarding skills. A strong grasp of English grammar conventions, such as spelling, punctuation, and composition, is also recommended.
Registration and Enrollment
This course is online with opportunities for apprenticeship learning with a local lawyer. You can start at anytime.
Casey Thompson is a licensed attorney in Texas. Before he started teaching, his major areas of practice were business and corporate law, entertainment law and intellectual property rights. He received his Bachelor of Business Administration from Texas Tech University and holds a law degree from the Texas A&M School of Law.
Certification Testing, Tuition, & Assistance
Tuition for this program is $2695.00. This includes a prepaid voucher to access and sit for the Certified Paralegal exam through the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) upon eligibility. Proctor fees may apply, which are not included.
Tuition assistance for this program is available through VSAC. Visit their website to complete their online application in order to find out if you qualify.
To meet the eligibility requirements to sit for the NALA Certified Paralegal exam, you must meet one of the following requirements: You must have 60 semester hours, of which at least 15 hours* (225 clock hours) are from paralegal studies or hold an associate’s degree in paralegal studies, or a bachelor’s degree in any field, or have seven years of experience as a legal assistant under the supervision of a member of the Bar. Please review the exam requirements before enrolling in this course.
*Note: (15 semester hours=225 clock hours) – This course is 225 hours and can be combined with 45 semester hours to meet the 60 semester hours required in option 1(e). If you do not have 45 semester hours, you will need to meet eligibility with category 2 or 3)
You must meet one of the following requirements outlined in Categories 1, 2, or 3 at the time of filing an application form to be eligible for the CP certification exam through NALA.
1. Graduation from or completion of a paralegal program:
- (a) approved by the American Bar Association; or
- (b) an associate degree program in paralegal studies; or
- (c) a post-baccalaureate certificate program in paralegal studies; or
- (In addition to the official school transcript, a candidate must submit an original course catalog or an original letter from the school registrar or program director attesting that the program is a post-baccalaureate certificate program requiring a bachelor’s degree as a prerequisite.)
- (d) a bachelor’s degree program in paralegal studies; or
- (e) a paralegal program that consists of a minimum of 60 semester hours (or equivalent quarter hours) of which at least 15 semester hours (or equivalent quarter hours) are substantive legal courses.
(Candidates applying under Category 1(e) may combine college hours from more than one institution. The candidate must have graduated from a paralegal program consisting of a minimum of 15 semester hours (or 225 clock hours or 22.5 quarter hours.) Evidence of the minimum hours required under Category 1(e) must be provided with the application form.)
2. A bachelor’s degree in any field plus one year of experience as a paralegal or successful completion of at least 15 semester hours (or equivalent quarter hours) of substantive paralegal courses.
(Those applying under the provision allowing for additional course work in lieu of the one-year work experience must submit an official school transcript showing completed course work.)
3. A high school diploma or equivalent plus seven (7) years’ experience as a legal assistant/paralegal plus a minimum of twenty (20) hours of continuing legal education completed within a two-year period prior to application for the examination.
(Evidence of continuing legal education credit is documented by the attorney/employer attestation that must be signed as part of the application form or by submitting a certificate of completion of CLE taken.)
- Learn the common responsibilities and duties of paralegals within the US legal system.
- Be fully prepared to sit for the Certified Paralegal certification exam, offered by NALA.
Job Outlook for Paralegals
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for paralegals will grow by 15% through 2026, which is faster than most other positions.
- The BLS states that the average annual salary for paralegals is $50,000. However, salary can increase depending on your law specialty and your experience level.
WHAT DOES A PARALEGAL DO?
Paralegals perform many duties that attorneys also perform themselves. Paralegals can conduct legal research; draft contracts, pleadings, and other legal documents; answer client questions and help prepare for trial.
IS PARALEGAL A GOOD JOB?
U.S. News and World Report listed paralegal as #2 on its list of “Best Jobs that Don’t Require a College Degree.” Paralegals were also included on the “The 100 Best Jobs” list overall based on the salary, job market, potential growth and work-life balance.
CAN PARALEGALS SPECIALIZE?
Yes. Paralegals can choose to specialize in different types of law such as criminal, family, immigration, real estate, etc.
IS A PARALEGAL THE SAME AS A LEGAL SECRETARY?
No. Paralegals are responsible for performing many of the tasks an attorney would do otherwise, such as conducting legal research or preparing a case file. They are often viewed as an extension of the attorney. Legal secretaries fill a more administrative role within the law firm.
CAN PARALEGALS WORK IN ANY STATE?
Yes. Paralegals can work in any state because unlike attorneys, paralegals are not bound to a specific state licensing board. In other words, a paralegal certification is valuable nationwide.
CAN YOU GO FROM BEING A PARALEGAL TO A LAWYER?
Yes, you can go from a paralegal to a lawyer. Starting as a paralegal can provide great insight into how the legal system works. However, you will need a bachelor’s degree before you can apply for law school and pass a state bar exam.