Paralegal requirements in Maryland can be quite demanding, and although certification is not mandatory, the Maryland Association of Paralegals strongly recommends it. There are no specific education, training, or certification requirements for paralegals in the state, as long as they work under the supervision of a qualified attorney. However, most employers prefer candidates with some form of formal paralegal education. Legal assistants may choose to specialize in different types of laws, such as criminal, family, immigration, real estate, etc. Paralegals can work in any state since they are not subject to a specific state licensing board.
This means that a paralegal certification is valuable across the country. It is also possible to go from paralegal to lawyer; however, you'll need a bachelor's degree before you can apply to law school and pass a state bar exam. Becoming a certified paralegal demonstrates to employers the commitment a paralegal has to the profession and represents the mastery of certain skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the industry. To maintain this credential, certified paralegals must continually update their knowledge. ABA-approved paralegal programs in Maryland can help paralegals prepare to work at any law firm. The Maryland Paralegal Association (MAP) offers membership to students and professional paralegals who live or work in Maryland.
Online opportunities to become paralegal certified in Maryland can broaden a candidate's job prospects. For example, experience in legal administration, legal research, drafting, document management, or customer service can be transferable skills that can help you in a legal assistant position. Smaller Maryland firms can offer a more general introduction to paralegal work, which can be beneficial for paralegals new to the field. Learning to become a paralegal in Maryland includes obtaining the proper education and credentials that make you a valuable asset to any employer. Although the paralegal requirements in Maryland are light, most employers prefer candidates with formal education in paralegal studies. For those planning to study law and become lawyers, passing a certification exam as paralegals is a step forward as it will require them to acquire in-depth knowledge of certain areas of practice and prepare to take the rigorous law school admission exam (LSAT), before law school.