Becoming a paralegal in Maryland is a great way to start a career in the legal field. Although the state does not have any formal education or training requirements for paralegals, aspiring paralegals can pursue certification or degree-granting programs in paralegal studies. Certificate programs often provide a specialized focus on paralegal studies without general education requirements. As the paralegal profession continues to grow, many employers prefer to hire entry-level paralegals with a degree or degree plus certificate.
Major corporate players such as Lockheed Martin, Constellation Energy, and Black & Decker are some of the largest employers of legal assistants in Maryland, while renowned law firms like Venable LLP and Miles & Stockbridge PC offer excellent professional opportunities for both new and experienced paralegals. The National Capital Area Paralegal Association (NCAPA) has been working since 1974 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. The Maryland Paralegal Association (MAP) offers membership to students and professional paralegals who live or work in Maryland. Education in paralegal studies can also help beginning paralegals stand out from their peers in a competitive labor market. Additionally, paralegals may voluntarily choose to demonstrate their expertise by becoming certified paralegals.
Certification is available through organizations such as the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA). Certification requires passing an exam that tests knowledge of legal principles, procedures, and terminology. The job outlook for paralegals in Central Maryland is strong. With the right education and credentials, you can become a valuable asset to any employer. The National Capital Area Paralegal Association (NCAPA) and the Maryland Paralegal Association (MAP) are great resources for aspiring paralegals looking to gain experience and network with other professionals in the field.
Additionally, voluntary certification through organizations such as NALA and NFPA can help demonstrate your expertise as a paralegal.