Ah, New York—such an incredibly beautiful state filled with life and opportunities. This couldn’t be truer for anyone than it is for prospective paralegals in the state. While paralegal hopefuls in other states often have only one or two, or sometimes even no, paralegal schools to choose from, New York offers several.

So, no matter how you wish to enter into the field, what kind of a school you are looking for, or what your learning style and lifestyle are like, you can find an educational institution that is just perfect for you.

With so many choices, though, it’s quite easy to get overwhelmed. That’s why it’s best to come up with a plan of action before you start looking at schools. The first thing that you will need to know is how you want to go about getting your paralegal education.

The vast majority of paralegals in the area hold only an associate’s degree, which can generally be earned in around two years on average. These degrees are typically quite affordable to obtain, especially if you choose a community college or a trade or technical school. However, with them being so common, more and more people are taking things up a notch and earning a bachelor’s degree in order to try and stand out above the competition.

For a bachelor’s degree, you can expect to be in school around four years, on average. Most of these degrees come from traditional colleges or universities in the state, and since many people do not have them, having one can greatly increase your chances of getting hired soon after graduation and of earning a higher salary when you do. For both associate’s degree programs and bachelor’s degree programs, the only educational prerequisite is a high school diploma or its equivalent.

For certification programs, however, this is not the case. You will have to hold a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated area before you can be admitted to a certification program. This is because these programs are designed to help students who have decided to become paralegals later in life, after already having gone to school.

A certification, which can usually be completed in anywhere from six months to a year, allows students to have the career that they want without having to earn an entirely new degree. These programs are also useful to those who have received degrees from programs not approved by the American Bar Association and who now cannot use them.

That is one very important thing to keep in mind as you consider your options. Not only must any school you attend be fully accredited, but any paralegal program you enroll in should be approved by the American Bar Association.

Without this seal of approval, you will be hard pressed to find work. It is an absolute necessity, so always check before you sign up for any classes or programs!

When you have a clear idea in mind of how you want to go about earning your degree, then you can start looking at various schools in the state.

Since you’ll already have your educational path planned, you can easily pass up schools that don’t offer the program you are looking for, thereby limiting your choices in a good way and keeping you from getting too confused and run down with so many choices being thrown at you.

One prestigious New York school that has an excellent paralegal program is Berkeley College, which is located in New York City itself. Not only is this school very well known and reputable, but it is also in an excellent area, due to the many job opportunities and internship and experiential learning opportunities that exist for paralegals there.

The school has a strong associate’s degree program that has been very successful at producing graduates who enjoy long and lucrative careers in the field.

For those seeking out a more affordable option, there’s the Bronx Community College, which also has a good associate’s degree programs. Other choices include Finger Lakes Community College in Canandaigua, Genesee Community College in Batavia, Hilbert College in Hamburg, Hofstra University in Hempstead, LaGuardia Community College in Long Island, and many more.