As you likely already know, there are a variety of ways in which one can enter into a paralegal career in the state of Virginia. Individuals can choose to pursue simple associate’s degrees, more advanced bachelor’s degrees, or basic certificates, designed specifically for those who have already earned undergraduate degrees in an unrelated area and who now wish to switch their career focus. No matter how you wish to go about getting your education in the field, know that you can do so from a variety of different colleges and universities within the state.

One such school is J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College, which is located in Richmond. One thing that this school really has going for it is the fact that it is so affordable for those that have residency status. Another is the fact that the school is located in such a large and powerful city, one that has many positions available for paralegals once they complete their education, as well as many internship and other experiential learning opportunities for those still in school or who have recently graduated. The college offers an associate’s degree program in paralegal studies, which can be completed by the average person in about two years and which prepares students to begin working in the field immediately after graduation.

Another excellent schooling choice is Marymount University, which is based in Arlington, another large and important city full of opportunities. This school is proud to offer a bachelor’s degree program in paralegal studies. Students usually complete the program in around four years, and they enjoy many more benefits than just those with simple associate’s degrees. Bachelor’s degree holders are eligible for more and better positions and tend to make more money, from the start, than their peers with more basic degrees.

You also have National College, which is in the quaint and beautiful town of Salem. Students of National College can earn an associate’s degree in paralegal studies. The great thing about this program is that, upon completion, all students are qualified to take either the certified legal assistance examination or the certified paralegal examination. Certification can make finding a job much simpler and can also ensure higher salaries. Both examinations are administered by the prestigious National Association of Legal Assistants. This school is somewhat selective in terms of who it admits, so you will want to make sure to put extra effort into your application if this is one of your top choices.

Then, there is Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria. Again, this is another important city ripe with promise for the prospective paralegal. As you can see, the city in which your school is based is an important factor to consider, especially if you plan to stay in the area after graduation. You also should always think about your school’s general reputation in the area, as this can affect your chances of being hired for jobs in the future. Northern Virginia Community College is known for its associate’s degree program, which combines a paralegal education with a general education, which makes for a well rounded schooling experience.

Remember, too, that we live in today’s modern age, where technology is front and center. What this means for you is that if none of these schools seem like a good fit, you can always make the decision to pursue your education online. When you go this route, you can select from schools based all over the country, instead of just being limited to choices within your state. Plus, online schooling is much more flexible and lenient than traditional schooling.

If you do choose an online school, however, you will want to be even more careful and selective than you would be with just a traditional school. Even though online schooling has come a long way in recent years, there are still a lot of scams out there. This, in no way, means that you shouldn’t choose online education—it is the best option for many—but it does mean you have to put in some real research and effort in order to end up with the right school. Never take any claims an online school makes at face value; always check them out for yourself.