New Jersey Paralegal Programs
There are no laws supporting regulation of paralegals in New Jersey at this time. This means that an individual can become a paralegal in New Jersey by way of on the job experience and no formal education. However, this avenue to becoming a paralegal has lost much of its appeal due to the increasingly complex legal issues that paralegals face in the work place, and the fact that most employers now seek paralegals with a formal education and legal field work experience.
The Paralegal Association of New Jersey is an affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and supports the voluntary certification to become a Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) or Certified Paralegal (CP). Testing for these certifications does require specific eligibility requirements including education criteria that can be found below.
Even though there are no specific education requirements for paralegals in New Jersey, a formal education demonstrates a paralegal's commitment and capabilities to the profession and potential employers. Explore the various paralegal programs offered in New Jersey below.
- Find Nationally and Regionally Accredited Online Paralegal Programs
- Find Campus Based Paralegal Programs in New Jersey
Choosing a Paralegal Program in New Jersey
The American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE) considers a qualified paralegal to be one that holds an associate's or bachelor's degree with a concentration, minor or major in paralegal studies and has graduated from an American Bar Association (ABA) approved paralegal program, a paralegal program offered at an AAfPE member school or a paralegal program offered at a school that has been accredited by an agency recognized by the US Department of Education. These are some of the most important criteria to look for when researching paralegal programs in new Jersey.
Before choosing a paralegal program contact potential employers to find out what they look for in paralegal job candidates as far as education goes. Some employers want their paralegals to have graduated from an ABA approved program and other employers may not have a preference. This can provide a perspective into what makes candidates competitive in the New Jersey paralegal marketplace and a better idea as to which type of program to enroll in and what type of school to attend.
As mentioned above, the Paralegal Association of New Jersey is an affiliate of NALA and supports their members taking the CLA or CP exam. According to NALA, National paralegal salary surveys consistently demonstrate that paralegals with the CLA/CP designation earn more money. Again supporting the benefits of formal education and certification. Learn more about the NALA CLA/CP certification exam eligibility on their web site (www.nala.org/cert.htm).
ABA approved paralegal programs offer a prestige and legitimacy recognized by employers around the country as well as other paralegals, however ABA paralegal programs can be more expensive and sometimes geographically difficult to attend. Read more about ABA and non-ABA approved paralegal programs. Online programs offered by schools accredited by agencies recognized by the US Department of Education are alternative options offering excellent education, often of the same caliber. There are also a number of campus based paralegal programs in New Jersey offering exemplary education. Research all options prior to making any decisions. Request information from the programs below to learn more.