Ohio residents who are interested in becoming paralegals are incredibly fortunate. We say this because they live in a state in which there are tons of educational choices related to their desired careers. Not only are there lots of choices, but the vast majority of these choices are both accredited and approved by the American Bar Association.

Having both of these credentials is vital in order for a paralegal education to be considered valid. While some other states have no appropriate schools or only one or two, you will have your choice. This is both a good and a bad thing.

It’s a good thing, of course, because you will be able to look at your many different options and to select the one that is the absolute best fit for you. You will have the freedom to choose a school based on your learning style and many other factors, rather than just having to take what you can get.

The only negative is that having all of these choices can be a little overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be, though, not if you first sit down and think about how you want to go about pursuing your education.

For most professionals, a paralegal education is achieved in the form of an associate’s degree program. These programs will take the average person around two years to complete, and they are usually incredibly affordable. This is because they are most commonly offered by community colleges or by trade or technical schools.

However, in today’s competitive job market, many people are choosing to take their education to the next level and to earn a bachelor’s degree. Bachelor’s degrees usually take around four years to complete and, though they are not required for employment, they make getting a job and securing a higher salary a much more likely possibility.

If you are someone who already has a degree in an unrelated field, perhaps because you went to school before you knew you wanted to become a paralegal, then a certification program is for you. Whereas associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs only require that the applicant has a high school diploma or its equivalent, certification programs require a prerequisite bachelor’s degree.

They are also good choices for anyone who has made the mistake of securing a paralegal education from an unapproved school, as they can validate the degree and make it useful. Certificate programs will take the average person anywhere from six months to a year to complete in most cases.

When you have decided which type of program is right for you, then you can limit your educational options to just those schools offering your program of interest. This should make the process of choosing a school and applying a whole lot simpler. With that said, let’s take a look at some of the best all around schools in the state.

One great school is the prestigious Capital University Law School, which is located in Columbus. This school benefits greatly from its location in a large and powerful city, because graduates have access to many available jobs and students have lots of opportunities for internships and other types of experiential learning. The school offers a variety of certification programs, including specialized ones that are difficult to find elsewhere.

Then, you have the College of Mount St. Joseph, based in Cincinnati, another large and important city full of opportunities. This college, however, is private, so you should be aware that it will cost quite a bit more than public colleges and universities. However, it offers smaller class sizes and more individualized attention, which many feel makes it well worth the extra cost.

The College of Mount St. Joseph offers a bachelor’s degree program, a certification program, and an associate’s degree program in paralegal studies, so anyone can choose to attend this excellent school.

One other good option is Columbus State Community College, which is located in Columbus and is very affordable. It has an associate’s degree program and a certification program. A few other strong choices are Cuyahoga Community College in Parma, Edison Community College in Piqua, Fortis College in Centerville, Kent State University in Kent, and many others.