Are you considering a career as a paralegal in Central Maryland? If so, you may be wondering if there are any continuing education requirements for paralegals in the area. The good news is that while the state of Maryland has not established standards for certification and education, there are still plenty of ways to gain the necessary training and experience to become a successful paralegal. Unlike some states, Maryland does not require paralegals to pursue post-secondary education. However, it is nearly impossible to get a job as a paralegal without some kind of college degree.
Fortunately, there are many options available for those looking to gain the necessary training. Paralegal programs in Maryland do not need to be approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). Depending on the university paralegal studies program you choose, you may have an internship integrated into the program. This can provide you with valuable experience working directly in the legal field in an assistant position.
If not, you should look for an entry-level paralegal (or junior paralegal) or assistant position. Legal aid agencies in Maryland may also hire legal assistants who seek experience, with a slightly lower salary. Gaining experience can help you in your future career plans, whether you plan to get certified or not. If you do decide to pursue certification, the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc.
offers approved Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs that must be completed every two years in order to maintain your certification. The Maryland Paralegal Association (MAP) offers membership to students and professional paralegals who live or work in Maryland. They also recommend certifications offered by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc., as well as a Paralegal Studies Certificate program designed for students who already have an associate's or baccalaureate degree in another field and want to start a career as paralegals. With a degree and optional certification available, you're now ready to look for a job as a paralegal in Maryland.
Lockheed Martin, Constellation Energy and Black & Decker are just a few of the top companies in Maryland that employ legal assistants, while big names in the legal world such as Venable LLP and Miles & Stockbridge PC continue to offer excellent career opportunities to both new and established paralegals. The National Capital Area Paralegal Association (NCAPA) is another great resource for those looking to become certified paralegals. Since 1974, NCAPA has worked to develop and expand the paralegal profession by representing the interests of public and private sector paralegals in the broader legal field, encouraging education and voluntary certification for paralegals, and providing networks, support, and resources for its members. As the paralegal profession continues to gain prominence, many employers want applicants with a degree or degree plus certificate when hiring an entry-level paralegal. With the right training and experience, you can become a successful paralegal in Central Maryland.