Georgia is an excellent state to be in for anyone who would like to become a paralegal, because it is ripe with job opportunities. It is important to understand, however, that this is a serious legal profession. Paralegals are much more than just secretaries or receptionists, as many people mistakenly believe.

For this reason, they are required to undergo extensive training before starting work in the field. This training can take the form of a course of study that leads to an associate’s degree or of a certification program. In either case, the school that the prospective paralegal attends must be fully accredited, as well as approved by the American Bar Association.

An associate’s degree program to become a paralegal will take the average person about two years to complete. Most people will choose to earn these degrees from community colleges or from trade or technical schools, which is a smart and very affordable move. These schools cost a lot less than traditional colleges and universities.

Some people, however, will choose to earn their degrees from more expensive institutions. You should do whatever is the best fit for you, your personal and professional goals, and what you wish to get out of your educational experience.

As mentioned above, others will simply obtain a certification in paralegal studies. However, in order to take this route, you have to first hold an undergraduate degree, though it doesn’t have to be in a related subject. This is why most of the people who choose certification are those coming into the field later in life, after realizing that they would like to make the switch to being paralegals.

In any case, a certification course takes about six months to a year for the average person to complete. While certification is a viable option for some, most serious paralegals will choose to earn a degree.

Once you have decided whether you want to go for a certificate or a degree, then you can start looking at different schools, based on your decision. One excellent school in the state is Athens Technical College, which just so happens to be extremely affordable. You also have Clayton State University, located in Morrow. This school actually offers its students a variety of different options.

They can earn their bachelor’s degree in legal studies, which would take them above and beyond the minimum requirements to be a paralegal. They can also, however, choose to earn the basic associate’s degree or to complete the certification program. Students who are pursuing bachelor’s degrees can even minor in paralegal studies concurrently.

Another option that just about anyone can swing financially is Georgia Piedmont Technical College, in Covington. This school is very focused on preparing students for their future careers, so you will find that your certification or associate’s degree program at this school is incredibly hands-on and focused on doing practical, real work that would take place in the field.

Georgia is also home to Gainesville State College, which has just about every paralegal program under the sun. You can be super impressive by earning your bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies, or you can just stick with the traditional associate’s degree or certification. In any case, this school offers strong programs and is very good about allotting financial aid to those students who apply and qualify.

In the state, you also have Herzing University at Atlanta and South University, located in Savannah. Both of those fine schools would serve you well in the field, as would any of the ones discussed here. If, for some reason, none of them are your perfect match, then you might consider an accredited and approved online school.