If you’re interested in starting a career as a paralegal, then you know that there are plenty of educational options available. But how can you separate the best from the rest?
One way to verify a prospective school’s quality is to check its certifications. A reputable paralegal education program will be endorsed or approved by leading organizations in the legal field.
Approval from the American Bar Association is one of the most prestigious paralegal education program bona fides. So what exactly does this endorsement mean for paralegal programs?
About the American Bar Association
The American Bar Association (ABA) has played an integral role in the development of the legal profession. The association’s goals are to serve members by providing benefits, programs and services to promote professional growth and quality of life, to improve the profession of law, to enhance diversity in the legal field, and to advance the rule of law.
The ABA recognizes the vital role paralegals play in the legal field, and their approval program is designed to ensure that educational institutions meet the necessary guidelines for preparing paralegals to perform their work in a way that improves the delivery of legal services in the American justice system.
ABA Approval Criteria
In order to qualify for American Bar Association approval, paralegal education programs must meet a strict set of guidelines.
Approved education programs must be planned in cooperation with paralegal organizations and with potential employers and other experts in the paralegal discipline.
Schools are required to conduct needs assessments and feasibility studies, not only when starting a paralegal program, but also when adding new program options. Participant schools are required to truthfully represent academic goals, program options and services.
To earn ABA approval, a paralegal curriculum must help students develop professional competence, and the school’s instructional methodology must ensure interaction between students and faculty, offer meaningful and prompt feedback, and provide practical assignments designed to develop real-world skills.
The curriculum must also respond to the changing requirements of the legal community, and must regularly be evaluated and improved to make sure those evolving needs are being addressed.
What ABA Approval Means for Students
Obtaining ABA approval is no small feat, and students can generally rely on this endorsement as a hallmark of quality in a paralegal educational institution.
ABA-approved schools employ highly qualified professors with field-tested experience, and offer a comprehensive curriculum that imparts the skills needed to succeed as a paralegal.
ABA-approved schools also offer career assistance, which can give recent graduates a valuable head start toward obtaining desirable positions. Plus, many potential employers prize graduates of ABA-approved schools, because these candidates are reliably competent and well-versed in law.
Choose an ABA-Approved School
You know that there’s more than one path to a career as a paralegal, but as you can see, choosing an ABA-approved school certainly has its advantages. Explore MTI College’s American Bar Association-approved Paralegal Studies program and see if our school is right for you.