Types of Legal Certificate Programs

Learn about different types of legal career training.

Do you want to join legal services, but don’t want to spend years (and money) attending law school?

Good news! You can become a valued member of a legal team without earning a degree.

Lawyers might get the public recognition, but they have a whole legal team behind them helping them with each case.

A certificate program is especially helpful for students who already have a degree in another field and want to switch jobs

Legal Assistant/Paralegal Certificate

Paralegals perform many of the same functions as a lawyer. The difference is they are not allowed to practice law, such as giving legal advice to clients. They help lawyers prepare for hearings, perform extensive research, fact check and write reports based on their legal evaluation of the case.

In a paralegal certificate program, you learn legal terminology, theory, research and writing. While you can earn a paralegal associates degree or bachelors degree, a certificate program provides you with enough knowledge to obtain an entry-level position.

A certificate program is especially helpful for students who already have a degree in another field and want to switch jobs. But don’t worry if you don’t have a degree, you could still get a job after graduation and then work your way through a degree program while you are employed.

Legal Studies

A legal studies certificate may be used for a variety of careers. Those interested in becoming a paralegal can benefit from this certificate, as the course material is similar to a paralegal certificate program. However students who are considering law school could also benefit by getting a taste of what it would entail.

A legal studies certificate can sometimes be earned at the same time as you are earning a degree in another field. Professionals who already have a degree can continue their education to brush up on laws and regulations. Or, you might work in a related field such as economics, political science, criminal justice or public policy where understanding applicable laws is important to your career.

Court Reporting

A court reporter is not a newscaster assigned to cover court cases. Court reporters transcribe verbal correspondence in a court room, law office or government agency.

In a court reporting certificate program, you are trained on the latest transcribing technology, legal terminology and professional writing. Your state may require court reporters to earn licensure. If so, make sure your program prepares you with the knowledge to pass any required exams.

Legal Administrative Assistant

Organization is the key to running a successful law firm. There is usually an administrative assistant assigned to each department, or lawyer depending on the size of the firm. While legal assistants aid lawyers in legal work, administrative assistants perform general office duties such as transcription, filing, billing and answering telephones.

A legal administrative assistant certificate program teaches students basic office skills that would be learned in any administrative assistant program such as filing, keyboarding, accounting and scheduling. In addition, students also learn legal terminology and procedures so that they may conduct the office according to them.

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