Once you decide to become a Legal Assistant, the next step on that path is to determine what is required to start a career as a Legal Assistant, and receive the proper training.
Becoming a Legal Assistant is a rewarding career with a salary for Legal Assistants starting around $30,000 for an entry-level position with little to no experience or training. In order to earn the most you can as a Legal Assistant, you must focus on education. Education and training are important, but what about experience? Will you need experience to be a Legal Assistant?
The primary objective you should strive toward in order to excel in your new job as a Legal Assistant is to acquire the tools needed to become a highly marketable Legal Assistant in today’s job market, and the way to accomplish this is through developing your Legal Assistant training.
Starting a new career as a Legal Assistant can be challenging without the proper education, skills, and experience needed to succeed. In order to be a successful Legal Assistant there are some areas that you may need to address first.
You need to be certain that a career as a Legal Assistant is the right profession for you. If you enjoy researching, problem solving, and possess the 10 qualities of a great Legal Assistant, then you are well on your way to becoming the best Legal Assistant.
Entry level Legal Assistant (and legal secretary) jobs can be had with just a high school diploma or its equivalent such as a GED. Most employers, however, will want you to have graduated some type of Legal Assistant training program. Law offices prefer you to have earned a Paralegal certificate, a Paralegal associate’s degree, or an associate’s or bachelor’s degree with a focus in some form of legal administration curriculum.
Without having experience in working within the legal environment of a law firm, your only other real option is to have the proper education, certification, and personal skills needed to get you foot in the door with an employer for a Legal Assistant job.
Legal Assistant Education
In addition to the personal skills & traits needed to become a Legal Assistant, you will also need to have targeted skills that you can only receive from having had experience in those areas or from taking classes related to the Legal Assistant field.
Employers seek out potential Legal Assistants that have a Paralegal degree or certificate. Candidates who have a bachelor’s degree or an associate’s degree with legal work experience are the most highly qualified. Additionally, employers seek out individuals that have outstanding interpersonal skills and the ability to interact and communicate in any and all types of situations combined with excellent communication and writing skills.
So what type of college courses will you need to take? What type of schooling is a part of the curriculum of Legal Assistant program? Generally speaking, if you enroll in a Paralegal program, it will introduce you to law and legal terminology, improve your communication and writing skills, and cover specific instruction on legal research and how to perform the many duties of a Legal Assistant in a law office environment.
Online Legal Assistant Training
There are several options available to you as to which Legal Assistant school you could attend. The education level, type of certificate or degree you’ll receive upon completion, and the time required to complete a Paralegal program are all areas that you need to consider when selecting a Legal Assistant training program.
You can complete a Paralegal certificate program in as little as 3 short months, or complete a Paralegal bachelor’s degree in four years, although there are accelerated Paralegal programs available. Other possibilities include online Paralegal classes, Paralegal associate’s degrees, and Paralegal technical school training. You have to research which Legal Assistant school is right for you to learn what all your options are.
Enrolling in a training program for Legal Assistants, such as Paralegal school, will afford you the opportunity to receive the education and training you need to make it in a competitive job market. If you’re currently in another career field, you can attend Legal Assistant or Paralegal classes online while you continue your job search.
An added benefit of starting a Legal Assistant certificate program is that most if not all of the college credits that you earn will also count towards an associate’s or bachelor’s degree if you choose at some point to pursue an advanced degree.
Legal Assistant Certification
The simple fact that you complete a Paralegal college program and receive a certificate of completion for your Legal Assistant training program doesn’t exactly mean that you are an “official” certified legal assistant or a CLA. Earning a Legal Assistant Certificate makes you a certificated Legal Assistant vs. a Certified Legal Assistant.
In order to be a CLA, a Certified Legal Assistant or Certified Paralegal (CP),you must meet the educational and testing requirements as established by the NALA, the National Association of Legal Assistants, or other similar organization.
Your First Step!
The first step you should take is to conduct a self-assessment of your current skills, educational standing, and your goals as they relate to you becoming a new Legal Assistant.
Determine the areas that you feel you need to focus on and think about some of the ways you might want to set out to improve them.
Next, check out the current Legal Assistant jobs available in your area today by using our Legal Assistant job search tool. Make note of the available jobs you find and the skill level that employers are seeking.
Finally, compare the common skills employers are seeking to the skills you currently have and for the areas in which you are lacking make a serious effort to improve in those areas. Continue to utilize BestLegalAssistant.com throughout your journey in becoming the best Legal Assistant you can be!