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Paralegal Programs in Colorado – Salary and Certification

How to become a paralegal in Colorado

A lawyer typically assumes final legal responsibility, but paralegals do many of the routine tasks that they perform. These professionals have a supportive role. This career usually takes a college education to start, and paralegals enjoy many of the benefits of being a lawyer without all of the risks.

Becoming a paralegal in Colorado does not require certification by the state however a certificate looks good to employers, and many even require one before being hired. Once trained, a person can work in a variety of organizations or for the public sector. They can also work in one of the many different fields of law. Colorado institutions offer courses on campus as well as online.

Certification

The state of Colorado does not require paralegals to be certified to practice. No certificate requirement does not mean you should skip trying to get certified or at least build an educational background if you are interested in applying for these types of jobs. Many employers will select candidates that have certification from the National Association of Legal Assistants or other certifying bodies before candidates that do not have these credentials. A two or four-year continuing university study and 18 months of adequate training will suffice. Even though certification is not legally required to work, having this under your belt will open up much more opportunity for you.

Curriculum

The type of law you are going into will determine what type of curriculum you will have yet all paralegal students have general studies courses as well as general law courses that they must pass. The amount of general studies you must complete or test out of the will depend on your academic history. If you already have a degree and are attending school for a second time, you may be able to test out of many general studies courses. General Law courses that you can expect to attend include intro to law, torts, family law, contracts, property law, legal ethics, civil litigation, evidence, criminal law, legal research and writing, employment law, environmental law, intellectual property law and constitutional law. While your final area of practice may not have much to do with some of these courses, the basic foundation must be laid in order to proceed with your degree program.

Institutions

Colorado offers several institutions of higher learning that will enable you to get a certification. These schools span eleven different counties and range from traditional four-year colleges to smaller community colleges. In the Northwestern region, there is Colorado Northwestern Community College. To the South there is Pikes Peak Community College, Pueblo Community College, and Trinidad State Junior College. To the east there is Lamar Community College and the Community College of Aurora. Program curriculum may differ from school to school however all of these colleges offer some paralegal training and certification.

Length of Study

The State of Colorado does not require certification so the length of time it takes to become marketable will largely depend on the pool of available talent. For example, if most of the people applying for paralegal jobs in Colorado who are certified and have at least two years of education, then this probably will take some time for you to become marketable. Unless you already have some paralegal experience, being competitive means having at least the same or better credentials than another person applying for the same job.

Conclusion

Becoming a paralegal in Colorado is a great career choice and offers high potential for good earnings. While Colorado does not require certification, many employers in the state do. You can take courses at a number of local universities and community colleges. Training takes about 18 to 24 months.