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New Jersey Paralegal Requirements

Earning a certificate in paralegal studies is not a mandatory requirement for employment in New Jersey, but many employers are looking for certified candidates, while some employers require a diploma and/or certification (“CP/CLA”) and specialization (“ACP”). Whether you are pursuing a certificate, diploma, certification, or simply continuing your education, the following information will be helpful. On this page, you will find American Bar Association** and unapproved paralegal studies programs available in New Jersey. There are many paralegal training programs throughout the state and the information listed below should help you find the program that best suits your needs. An Associate in Applied Science and an Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies are available at Atlantic Cape Community College (ACCC). Courses in both programs include legal research and writing, document preparation, litigation preparation, computer skills, and other specialized skills required to work as a paralegal; Fieldwork is required as part of a three-credit co-operative education course. Students benefit from a solid education in the humanities as well as a basic training in law. The following paralegal programs in New Jersey are approved by the ABA: Available during the day, evening, or online for flexibility for students, this paralegal degree program, approved by the American Bar Association, offers important internships for students to gain experience before graduation. The program includes understanding the role paralegals play in the U.S. legal system, developing problem-solving and critical thinking skills, and communicating effectively with others in a confident, clear, and professional manner.

Bergen Community College offers an ABA Accredited Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Paralegal Studies, combining general education courses with law courses to help students develop the communication skills, experience, and legal knowledge necessary for a career in the legal field. Students in the 60-credit program receive instruction in legal ethics; legal research and writing; the principles of law; and legal accounting for a career as a paralegal, legal assistant and court reporter. While a minimum of nine credits must be completed in a synchronous format to meet ABA requirements, the AAS in Paralegal Studies offers several courses through an online or hybrid degree program. The four-semester program includes specialized courses such as the mechanics of real estate transactions; mechanics of family law; and personal injury and product liability. Bergen also offers a co-op work experience course, where students work 180 hours in a law firm or legal position. In addition to the AAS in Paralegal Studies, Bergen offers an ABA-recognized Legal Nurse Consultant certificate with 30 credits for registered nurses (RNs) who wish to hold a legal position. All professors have hands-on experience as paralegals or lawyers who also have a passion for teaching. As of May 2017, 8,060 paralegals and paralegals were working in New Jersey, making the state one of the leading states for paralegal employment in terms of total number of professionals.2 As employers seek to optimize the cost of providing legal services, law firms should increase support positions and further diversify the roles of paralegals and paralegals. These trends support the Bureau of Labor Statistics` forecast of 15% national employment growth from 2016 to 2026 for paralegals and paralegals.3 Paralegal job growth rates in New Jersey are expected to be similar to 15.7% between 2016 and 2026.1 New Jersey does not require education or certification to be a paralegal. But most employers require both to demonstrate their core competency. Mercer County Community College (MCCC) in Trenton offers an ABA Accredited Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Paralegal, who prepares students to serve as paralegals within the legal system, work ethically and professionally, and use effective legal research and writing skills.

Students will take 18 credits of paralegal courses in various areas of law such as wills and probates, family law, litigation and business law. The two-year program also includes practical courses for paralegal students, including career development for legal and judicial professionals and law firm management and technology. Of the 18 credits required for the major, 12 must be taken on campus. All law courses are taught by lawyers or doctoral professors. Courses are available during the day and evening, as well as online, and graduation can be pursued full-time or part-time. MCCC also offers an ACA-recognized Paralegal Certificate of Qualification for students who have already completed an associate`s degree or bachelor`s degree. Bergen Community College (BCC) offers an Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies, a 65- to 66-credit program that balances a humanities background and a core of law courses. These law courses are designed to provide students with a solid understanding of substantive law and an understanding of the legal system, as well as practical skills that will help them find employment and be effective in the legal workplace. Paralegals are able to perform tasks authorized by their supervising legal employer, who takes full responsibility for their actions.

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