How Long Does it Take to Become a Paralegal?
Becoming a paralegal requires dedication and commitment, but how long does it take to become a paralegal? The length of time needed to become a paralegal depends on several factors, such as the paralegal’s educational background and the type of paralegal program they choose.
For many aspiring paralegals, the first step is to obtain a post-secondary degree. Depending on the paralegal program chosen, the duration of the program could be anywhere between two and four years. During this time, paralegals will learn a variety of legal topics, such as legal research, legal writing, and legal ethics. Upon completion of their program, most paralegals will be ready to take the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) certification exam. Passing this exam will allow them to become a Certified Paralegals (CP).
In addition to the post-secondary degree, some paralegals may choose to pursue a specialized certification. Depending on the type of certification, this could take anywhere from a few months to a year to complete. For example, the American Bar Association (ABA) offers a Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (PACE), which is designed to test the advanced knowledge and skills of paralegals. Additionally, some specialized certifications require paralegals to have a certain amount of experience or education before they are eligible to take the exam.
In general, it typically takes one to four years to become a paralegal, depending on the educational and certification requirements of the paralegal program chosen. The length of time to become a paralegal also varies depending on the amount of experience the individual has or the level of specialization they choose. For those looking to further their education, there are also master’s degree and doctorate programs available in paralegal studies.
Overall, becoming a paralegal can be a rewarding and fulfilling career. With the right dedication and commitment, aspiring paralegals can become certified and successful in their chosen fields.