If you are thinking that a career as a paralegal in Idaho could be a viable option for you, then you are likely wondering just how to get started. Taking that first step, and knowing just which step to take, can be a challenge. Unfortunately, there is no one simple answer as to how to get started. What you will need to do will depend upon your specific career and personal goals and on where you currently are in your education.
So, before you make a move, spend some time learning about the paralegal field in general, making sure that it is a good fit for you. Then, take the time to research the many different jobs within it and what the various requirements are for those jobs. This should help you to choose your intended career and to start forming an idea of what you will need to do to achieve your goals.
The vast majority of paralegals currently working in Idaho hold a degree in paralegal studies or a related area. While some will opt for bachelor’s degrees, most simply hold associate’s degrees. These degrees can generally be obtained from a community college or from a trade or technical school. They can also be earned from a traditional college or university, but these are usually a much more expensive choice.
It is important to note, however, that your degree program must be both accredited and approved by the American Bar Association. If it is not, your degree will not be useful to you, and you will not be able to secure work in the field.
If you do not think that you want to obtain an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree, then you may have one other option. Today, many paralegals are working in the field with only a certificate. Certificates, however, can only be obtained by those who already hold bachelor’s degrees, though they need not be in a related field.
This is why the majority of people who choose certification programs are those who went to school earlier in life, before they knew they wanted to become paralegals, and who want to enter into the profession without going back to school for years. These programs can also be a good choice for those who obtained a degree in paralegal studies from an institution not accredited by the American Bar Association.
Once you have decided whether you want to get a degree or a certificate, your next step is to start searching for schools and programs in Idaho. As mentioned above, you will want to make sure that any school you attend is accredited and that any program you enroll in is approved by the American Bar Association.
Outside of that, you will want to look for a school and program that has a good reputation in the area, that can connect you with internship opportunities either while you are in school or after graduation (or both), and one that works with your learning style, your budget, and your professional and personal goals.
As you find these schools and begin the application process, a good piece of advice is to always apply to more than one school. Ideally, you would select your top choice or choices and apply, and you would also apply to “backup” or “safety” schools that you strongly feel would grant you admission.
That way, you will be able to enroll even if your top choice doesn’t accept you. Keep in mind that for a degree program you will need to hold a high school diploma or its equivalent, and for a certificate program you will need your high school diploma or equivalent and a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.