Frequently Asked Questions
Is ABA approval of paralegal programs required?
No, but it indicates that a paralegal education program has been evaluated and must continue to meet certain strict standards regarding curriculum, faculty, an advisory committee, and placement, for example.
If I get a certificate, am I certified?
No, certification is accomplished by passing a voluntary examination such as the Certified Legal Assistant Examination (CLA) or the Texas Legal Assistant Specialty Certification Examination.
Why should I earn a four-year degree instead of, or in addition to, a two-year junior college degree?
- Your classmates will be of a higher educational level, assuming they have completed all or most of their core coursework prior to beginning work on their paralegal degrees.
- You need a four-year degree if you decide later to earn a Master's degree or to attend law school.
- Some attorneys prefer students with four-year degrees, particularly attorneys in large law firms.
- Attorneys are highly educated and need educated employees; a higher educational level can serve as a basis for a salary increase or promotion.
- Each state can choose to regulate the paralegal profession. This may take the form of voluntary testing to prove competence such as NALA’s Certified Paralegal designation or mandatory registration or testing to call oneself a paralegal. The International Paralegal Management Association and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations believe that a four-year degree is the preferred educational level for the future.