Online paralegal programs are a dime a dozen, and one can become overwhelmed at what is out there after simply typing “online paralegal degree” into a search box. How do you know what programs are quality? Do your research before blindly paying a great deal for a paralegal education. Before selecting the program for you, make sure that the education you will receive will do nothing but benefit you in the long run.
The American Bar Association is an excellent source for looking for accredited paralegal programs. (www.aba.org) If it is your goal to continue on to become a certified paralegal, it is highly recommended the program be with an accredited program. State bar associations are additional sources of information when seeking an accredited program.
Speak with other paralegal professionals in your community and ask them where they received their education. Contact law firms in the area and inquire as to what type of degrees they look for when hiring a paralegal. Certain schools or programs may be looked upon with more respect and favorably by prospective employers.
Finding a program that gives you practical knowledge you can use in the field is also a plus in choosing a program. Review the courses that are listed. See if the subjects are relevant and current to today’s standards. Also, examine whether the topics covered are ones that are relevant to the field you wish to enter. If it is your hope to become a transactional or contract paralegal, obtaining litigation paralegal skills may not be necessary. Certain programs may focus on specific areas of the law or industry, so it is best to weed the ones out that do not focus on the area you wish to choose.
Researching the faculty is also highly recommended when picking an online program. While you may not be taking a class in a typical classroom setting, you still would like to know that the person teaching you the material has the credentials and background to do so.
Just because the degree is earned online does not mean you cannot learn in a collaborative environment. Many programs offer interaction between classmates taking courses, including real-time, interactive seminars. These programs also offer discussion boards as a way to facilitate communication between the instructor and students and between the students themselves.
Doing your homework before choosing a program will save you a great deal of grief in the end.
Kaplan University School of Legal Studies – http://www.kaplanuniversity.edu/legal-studies.aspx