What to Look for in a Paralegal Certificate Program

Last updated: Jan 17, 2023

Whether you are just beginning your career as a paralegal or are an experienced professional, career advancement is probably something that’s been on your mind at one time or another. Thankfully, there has never been a better time to move forward in leveling up your career.


Right now, the legal field is primed for massive growth, particularly for paralegals. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the paralegal profession is anticipated to grow by 14% between 2021 and 2031, which is considered much faster than average.


One of the best ways you can advance your career is by pursuing higher education, like completing a Paralegal Certificate Program. While you might be ready to hit the books and head back to school, it’s important to consider whether the program you’re signing up for will meet your needs and help open new doors for you as a paralegal. Let’s discuss four important things to consider when choosing a Paralegal Certificate Program.


Look for a Curriculum to Help You Advance Your Skills

One of the first things to research is the curriculum of the program you are considering. Depending on your unique experience and paralegal knowledge, you might have different needs when it comes to what you want to learn.


According to the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, some essential curriculum topics include litigation or civil procedure, legal research and writing, and legal ethics.


Additional subjects you may want to look for include legal processes, court structure, interviewing, investigation, document preparation, file maintenance, and correspondence.


Taking an in-depth look at the program’s curriculum will help ensure you receive a quality educational experience that aligns with your unique career goals.


Choose a Format that Aligns with Your Learning Style

Are you a hands-on learner who likes to collaborate with other students? Or would you rather keep to yourself and study alone instead? According to Forbes, identifying your unique learning style can help lead to better educational outcomes for students.


Many Paralegal Certificate Programs will offer their courses in a variety of formats. While some students might prefer a live, on-campus course for a more interactive learning experience, that isn’t always feasible for everyone. On the other hand, some students might find a self-paced format difficult and would instead prefer scheduled classes each week.


No matter which method of learning you prefer, be sure to explore what format options are available when researching Paralegal Certificates.

Students in class for a paralegal certificate.

Get to Know the Instructors of the Program

Now that you’ve researched the curriculum and format of your program, it’s time to consider who will be teaching the courses. Since you will be diving into complex topics to further your knowledge and skillset as a paralegal, it’s vital to learn from real legal professionals with an in-depth understanding of the field.


Studying under esteemed legal experts has additional benefits beyond just the curriculum. Depending on the program, you may have the opportunity to learn from a faculty of active, sitting judges. This can allow for a more hands-on experience such as observing a trial, sitting in with the jury, listening in on discussions in the closed chambers, and even receiving personalized mentorship.


Seek Out Relevant Student Success Stories

During your research of Paralegal Certification Programs, you might find yourself impressed with the curriculum, format, and instructors of the courses. But don’t just take the institution’s word for — seek out real life success stories from students who have completed the program.


Student testimonials can help serve as proof that the program you are considering will help you gain a deep understanding of the legal topics, develop new in-demand skills, and provide you with a credential that is highly sought after in the legal field.


Seek out success stories and quotes that feature what participants gained from the program, how the certification has helped them in their career, and their overall experience as a student.

A person receiving his paralegal certificate.

Advance Your Career with a Paralegal Certificate Program

Choosing to pursue higher education is one of the best ways to experience growth in your career. Enrolling in a Paralegal Certificate Program can help you sharpen your skillset, increase job satisfaction, and even increase your earning potential. Choosing the right program to help you level up your paralegal career is a big decision, and it’s important to consider all aspects of the program before making your choice.


At USF, our Paralegal Certification Program is designed to help you start (or advance) a rewarding, lucrative career as a paralegal. Not only is our program convenient and flexible for busy working professionals, it is taught by an esteemed faculty of judges and attorneys. You’ll learn new skills in a variety of legal disciplines, such as Torts, Contracts, Civil Procedure, and more.


Ready to level up your legal career with a Paralegal Certification? Join us for an upcoming webinar where you will learn more about how our nationally acclaimed program can help you advance your paralegal career in fewer than six months.