Paralegal studies prepare students to work for law firms as researchers and interviewers and to assist attorneys in different capacities. While there are no mandated designations required to work as a paralegal, training is required by most employers. Paralegals may study for a paralegal certificate or attend school to obtain a paralegal associate or bachelor's degree.
All studies prepare students to take the Certified Legal Assistant exam or the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam, recognized nationally as the benchmarks for paralegal qualifications.
Courses of study in paralegal programs include a basic introduction to the law, as well as training in tort, criminal and employment law.
Skills that paralegals focus on are legal research skills and writing legal briefs. Paralegals learn how to present documents in the required formats and how to interview clients.
Most paralegal studies programs include an internship with a law firm or court. Online paralegal programs typically partner with local organizations to provide the on-the-job training.
Paralegals continue with seminars and courses to advance their skills in areas such as elder law, foreclosure and debt law and dispute resolution.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."