So, you’ve decided that you are interested in pursuing a career as a paralegal. Congratulations are in order, because you have just chosen one of the most well paying and rewarding career fields. Before you get too excited, however, you must realize that a paralegal career isn’t just something that you can go out and apply for without preparation.

Being a paralegal will take a lot of work on your part, including the proper schooling, and all of this has to be done before you even begin working in the field. So, if you’re not a fan of tough work, then this might not be the right career choice for you after all.

Those who are still interested in the paralegal field, after hearing all of that, might just stand a real chance at success. The first thing you will need to do to start working toward your goal is to decide how you wish to go about getting your education; there are a lot of options.

The most common one is to simply earn an associate’s degree in paralegal studies or something very similar. This will take the average person about two years to complete.

Or, if you’re ambitious and would like to make a higher salary and give yourself even more opportunities, you can consider earning a bachelor’s degree. This will take you about four years on average to complete. If you’ve already earned a bachelor’s degree in something unrelated to the paralegal field, don’t worry!

You don’t have to start your education over from scratch if you don’t want to. Instead, you can simply earn a paralegal certificate, which will act as a supplement to your degree and will enable you to find work in the field.

It is important to note, however, that when choosing a school for your degree or certificate, you can’t just choose any school you come across. Instead, you will need to find a school that is accredited and a program that has been approved by the American Bar Association.

If your school and program don’t meet these qualifications, then the degree or certificate that you receive will not be of any real use to you in the field. Instead, you will be left with a useless degree and will have wasted your time, energy, and money in the process. Don’t let this happen to you!

When you know how you want to earn your education, choosing a school from Minnesota’s many options will be much simpler. Your choices will be limited, but in a good way. You’ll still have options but not so many that it is overwhelming. One school to consider is Hamline University, located in St. Paul.

This school benefits greatly from its location, which is full of employment and internship opportunities for prospective paralegals. Plus, it has excellent certification and bachelor’s degree programs in the field, making it a viable options for students on either one of these paths.

Other students have found success with Inver Hills Community College, in Inner Grove Heights. This is a very affordable option for those who are seeking associate’s degrees or certifications. Another community college, which is also very low-cost, is North Hennepin Community College, based in Brooklyn Park.

This school offers both an associate’s degree program and a certification program as well. Then, of course, you have Minnesota State University, in Moorhead. This fine school offers a very prestigious bachelor’s degree program to its students. It is also quite affordable for those with residency, though not as affordable as the community colleges discussed previously.

Even though you have these many options, you might find that none of them seem like the right fit for you. If this is the case, don’t worry. You can choose to get your degree online. If you do this, however, you will need to be especially selective, as there are a lot of scams in the online world.

Always make sure to research any online school you are thinking about attending, and never take any of its claims at face value. Always check out anything the school tells you for yourself, and remember that the rules surrounding accreditation and American Bar Association approval still apply.