How Much Does a Paralegal Certificate Cost?
A paralegal certificate is a document granted by a non-governmental agency in recognition of an individual that has met the certain predetermined qualifications specified by an agency or association. This program is designed for beginning and advanced legal workers in which students are trained to assist trial attorneys, interview witnesses, and investigate complex fact patterns. There are several institutions that offer this program and therefore the prices will greatly vary.
How much is it?
- The price for getting a paralegal certificate depends heavily on the school or university that offers it. There are also several curriculum offered which can affect the price. A certificate can cost anywhere from $1,000 to as much as $16,000 or more a recognized university. Most students spend in between the $7,000 and $14,000 range.
- For example, Meditec.com offers a paralegal assistance certificate program for $1,700 to $1,900. Aimsced.com also offers paralegal certificate program which can be taken online. This program includes 14 weeks of online courses which they boast as a good alternative solution in taking the program for getting paralegal certificate. They offer the program for anywhere from $1,000 to $1,300.
- Universities may offer some of the most expensive tuition fees but they provide a rigorous educational experience that focuses more on the practical skills needed to succeed in the field of paralegal. For example, Villanova University offers an evening program that costs around $6,600.
- According to the website Paralegal-Institute.com, they claim that the average paralegal should plan on spending anywhere from $7,000 to as much as $15,000 for their education.
What is going to be included?
- To receive the Paralegal Certification, a student must earn a total of 24 credits. Each course is equivalent to three credit units. Students are required to take four paralegal core courses which include Contracts, Torts and Personal Injury; Legal Research; Writing and Civil Litigation; and Professional Responsibility and Legal Ethics. After taking the core courses, students should take additional legal studies elective courses. They can choose from among 24 electives. Students can complete the required number of credits for around 7 to 17 months, depending on their course load.
- The fees to get a paralegal certificate will allow you to use the facilities of the campus such as the lab and any training exercises that may be useful. It will also cover the cost for the professor that will lead your classes.
- Upon completion, you will receive a certification so that you can gain employment in the work force as a paralegal. The average salary is anywhere between $30,000 and $55,000. This is going to greatly depend on the geographical location of the applicant.
- A paralegal is going to be able to assist lawyers during their practice as well as draft paperwork and research. Most jobs today won’t require any type of degree and a certificate should suffice for most.
What are the extra costs?
- Additional cost includes books that are needed to serve as a guide during the course. Book prices will vary from program to program depending on the professors preferences.
- Some institutions charge a one-time school enrollment fee that can cost $95, as well as individual courses that can cost up to $687 per course.
- An application fee may apply when trying to gain admittance into the school.
- To work as a paralegal professional, you have to pass a licensure exam which is offered by three national paralegal professional organizations: the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), and the National Association of Legal Secretaries (NALS). The cost of the exam ranges from $200 to $350, depending on the organization that you choose.
Tips to know
- If you are not familiar with legal studies, you can take the optional, self-paced Introduction to the Law course. This course would not give you credits but it can help you prepare for the required courses, especially if you are just a beginner in the industry.
- The elective courses cover different topics such as Real Estate; Patents and Trademarks; Criminal Law; and Business Law among others. You should carefully choose which electives you want to take because it would affect your future career. For example, if you want to work for the government, you need to study the Constitutional Law.
How can I save money?
- Getting the best education doesn’t mean you would have to spend a lot. There are institutions that offer the program at more affordable prices and there are universities that provide scholarships as well.
- Make sure that your education is approved by the ABA (America Bar Assocation). Without this approval, many companies may look over your resume.
- Be weary of some online schools as some don’t hold the proper accreditation.
- If you have a Bachelor’s Degree or you have already taken some courses that are related to legal studies, you can check NPC’s Transfer Credit Policy if some of your units can be credited. When you transfer some credits, the cost of your school fees can be reduced.