Becoming a Paralegal Professional in Central Maryland: Online Resources to Help

The position of paralegal in Central Maryland is an attractive one offering administrative and legal support to attorneys investigating civil rights complaints. Learn about options for obtaining certification online.

Becoming a Paralegal Professional in Central Maryland: Online Resources to Help

The position of paralegal in Central Maryland is an attractive one, offering administrative and legal support to a team of attorneys and investigators who investigate civil rights complaints in the state. Maryland Legal Aid (MLA) provides life-changing civil legal assistance to eligible residents everywhere in the state, and since 1911, has been helping marginalized and low-income individuals and communities solve their civil legal problems. With major corporate players like Lockheed Martin, Constellation Energy, and Black & Decker, as well as big names in law like Venable LLP and Miles & Stockbridge PC, there are plenty of excellent professional opportunities for both new and established paralegals. In Maryland, aspiring paralegals have the advantage of not being regulated, meaning that the state has not mandated any formal education or training requirements for paralegals.

This allows them to enter the field through training or on-the-job education. However, Maryland Rule 5.3 does define the scope of practice for paralegals, requiring them to work under the supervision of an attorney who accepts responsibility for their professional actions. For those looking to obtain education in paralegal studies, there are certificate programs or programs that award degrees available. Many of these programs help beginning paralegals prepare to take one of the voluntary national certification exams. Obtaining the proper education and credentials can make you a valuable asset to any employer, and can help distinguish entry-level paralegals from their peers in a competitive labor market. For maximum flexibility, many students complete their paralegal certification in Maryland online.

The required experience can be replaced with thirty credit hours or a certificate of paralegal studies from an accredited college or university. Aspiring paralegals can also choose to pursue a degree in paralegal studies, with associate degree, bachelor's degree, and master's degree programs available. Earning a degree or a degree plus a certificate can help a paralegal qualify to take a national certification exam more quickly. Although there is no Maryland paralegal license, students can expand their knowledge and employment opportunities with certifications offered by professional organizations such as the NALA Certified Paralegal. The Maryland Paralegal Association (MAP) also offers membership to students and professional paralegals who live or work in Maryland. Experience in military service in the Armed Forces as a petty officer in classifications of paralegal specialists or specialty codes of paralegal specialists in the legal and related fields can also be used year after year to obtain the required experience.

Options for Obtaining Paralegal Certification in Maryland

So what are a student's options given Maryland's lack of paralegal certification? ABA-approved paralegal programs in Maryland can help paralegals prepare for employment at any law firm.

Legal aid, case assistance, paralegal interns, and legal administrative assistance are some of the names given to entry-level paralegal jobs. Maryland's online paralegal certification is faster and easier for adult students, single parents, people with mobility issues, and older students. Although certification is not mandatory, the Maryland Paralegal Association strongly recommends it for those looking to find a job as a paralegal professional. With the right training and education, becoming a paralegal professional could be a good career option for those looking for flexibility in their career.

Rose Opie
Rose Opie

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