Paralegal Education Programs

The paralegal profession as we know it today has existed for over thirty-five years. During that time, paralegal training programs have evolved in order to provide the knowledge and skills necessary to become a paralegal. There are several types of paralegal schools and programs:

  • Proprietary Schools: Schools established for the exclusive purpose of training paralegals. They are usually from four months full-time to one year part-time and award a certificate upon completion. Entrance and minimal education requirements vary.
  • Junior and Community Colleges: Two-year full-time programs that award associate degrees in paralegal studies upon completion. Curriculum includes core classes as well as substantive legal classes. Entrance requirements are the same as those established by the school for all students.
  • Four-Year Colleges and Universities: Offer both majors and minors, and Bachelor's Degrees in Paralegal Studies. Some four-year colleges also offer certificate programs through their continuing education departments. Several area schools also offer graduate degrees in paralegal-related courses of study. Entrance requirements vary by school.

The American Bar Association (ABA) has established guidelines and procedures for obtaining ABA approval of paralegal education programs. To obtain ABA approval, a school must demonstrate that its program is consistent with sound educational policies in accordance with the ABA guidelines.

Not all programs are ABA approved. Most respected academic credit-bearing programs, however, are overseen by an accrediting agency that dispenses official accreditation recognized by the United States Department of Education.

Another organization involved in ensuring the quality of paralegal education programs is the American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE). Schools that belong to AAfPE must be ABA approved or in substantial compliance with ABA guidelines. If the school that you are investigating is a member of AAfPE, it indicates that it is maintaining a particular standard of education.

Students can find out about available paralegal programs through NCAPA, local bar associations, the ABA, AAfPE, or the career centers in schools of higher education.

Liaisons

NCAPA utilizes members of the association to serve as Liaisons for local bar associations, paralegal programs, and NCAPA chapters. Liaisons are encouraged to attend events sponsored by these associations and provide updates to NCAPA.

In order for NCAPA to carry out its mission statement to promote and protect the general professional interests in the Metro area and to involve paralegals in the shaping of the guidelines affecting the regulation and development of the paralegal profession, it is necessary for NCAPA to have a voice in the local bar associations.

Bar Liaisons are responsible for forwarding NCAPA event and association information to the local bars. Liaisons should attend bar related events, coordinate special speaking events, and look for opportunities to educate attorneys about NCAPA.

  • District of Columbia Bar Liaison (Vacant)
  • Maryland Bar Liaison (Vacant)
  • Virginia Bar Liaison (Vacant)

Student Liaisons

To better serve the needs of students attending local paralegal programs, NCAPA developed the Student Liaison position to act as a personal contact with paralegal program directors and current and prospective student members.

Student Liaisons are responsible for forwarding NCAPA event and association information to the paralegal program director and students. Liaisons also coordinate special speaking events and/or informational sessions.

Students wishing to learn more about NCAPA or paralegal program directors interested in providing NCAPA-related events to students should contact the NCAPA Student Liaison, or the Divisional Director of Committees, Networks, and Liaisons.

Student Liaison Coordinator
Chi Chi Marcus (slcoordinator@ncapa.com)

Divisional Director of Committees and Liaisons
Angela M. King (president@ncapa.com)