I was doing some research on taking the Louisiana Exam to become a Certified Paralegal. One of the requirements are that the school must be approved by the American Bar Association. I was wondering if Ashworth was approved for this certain thing. Its not time for me to graduate yet, but its something I would like to know in advance. Since I am already employed at a law office I would like to advance in my job position. By knowing this information I can start figuring out where this education from Ashworth is going to take me.! I'm going to post a link where there are other requirements that I must meet in my state. If anyone has this information please let me know ASAP!!! Thanks
I found this website, and according to The American Bar Association, California is the only state that requires the licensing of Paralegals as of right now.
They also have an official list of the approved Paralegal programs.
Hope this helps.
Check out this website at nala.org and under certification scroll down to Examinee Informationa and click on Applicationa Form & Requirements. Read the section that states Eligibility and I think this will answer alot of questions...
Hello, please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Clarence Beasley. My friends call me Ceecee. I've planted my roots in Georgia; because the, "city of Atlanta, as I asked my Higher Power. I want to see?". I am terribly excited due to the fact I start my Masters' Degree Juris Doctorate Monday 01/14/13.
However, I am so glad to hear about CLA and NLA to compare and contrast the Institution from the Certificate was introduced to me by you. Thank you.... Keep in mind, I am still at Ashworth and I am coming soon. I sincerely hope the back-swing of Christmas and the financial cliff didn't bliss ya... lol...
Clarence "Ceecee" Beasley, Min., Legal, BA/AJ (Notary)
One more thing, Ashworth is not in the list of approved Paralegal programs by the American Bar Association. I guess the next question would be directed to Ashworth! Are they planning on getting approved by the American Bar Associaton? I guess for us at this point, a Paralegal Diploma from Ashworth will be just as good as one of the approved programs, to work in the industry. However, from experience I can tell you that most employers will rather hire a certified Paralegal than one who is not!!! And as I said before, the only state who requires licensing at this point, is California.
Thank you for that information Rach9901.
I really wanted to take the exam just to have the reasurance of knowing that I am certified and for personal accomplishment reasons. I agree with you, I'm sure that a certified paralegal would be hired over one who is not, that could be the one thing to determine between two people who apply for a job. I guess that my next question will be if Ashworth plans on getting aproved by the bar. That would be awesome because once certified it would be like having an extra sparkle on a resume`. If ever I have a position as a paralegal I just would like my employer to know that I studied and worked just as hard as student who have gone to on campus classes, colleges, and universities. Also what if other states start to require paralegals to be certified in the long run? Then what are we supposed to do, take the course over again at a certified school? I'm kind of confused right now!!!! But thanks again for answering my question!!!!
Hi First Lady,
I will submit a request to find out if Ashworth plans on getting approved by the ABA.
Most states don't even require a degree to work as a paralegal, so you will have one step up on your competition in applying for jobs by having a degree.
I'll let you know as soon as I find out.
Paralegal Studies Instructor
Each state is unique in what is required to work as a Paralegal. I would advise everyone to find out what their state requirements are.
The following requirements are for the state of Texas:
On April 21, 2006, the STANDARDS," which are intended to assist the public in obtaining quality legal services, assist attorneys in their utilization of paralegals, and assist judges in determining whether paralegal work is a reimbursable cost when granting attorney fees:of Directors approved amending this definition by including the following "
A. Support for Education, Training, and Work Experience:
1. Attorneys are encouraged to promote:
a. paralegal attendance at
b. paralegal board certification through the (TBLS);
c. certification through a national paralegal organization such as the (NALA) or the (NFPA); and
d. membership in the Paralegal Division of the State Bar and/or local paralegal organizations.
2. In hiring paralegals and determining whether they possess the requisite education, attorneys are encouraged to consider the following:
a. A specialty certification conferred by TBLS; or
b. A CLA/CP certification conferred by NALA.; or
c. A PACE certification conferred by NFPA; or
d. A bachelor's or higher degree in any field together with a minimum of one (1) year of employment experience performing substantive legal work under the direct supervision of a duly licensed attorney AND completion of 15 hours of Continuing Legal Education within that year; or
e. A from an ABA-approved program of education and training for paralegals; or
f. A certificate of completion from a paralegal program administered by any college or university accredited or approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board or its equivalent in another state.
3. Although it is desirable that an employer hire a paralegal who has received legal instruction from a formal education program, the State Bar recognizes that some paralegals are nevertheless qualified if they received their training through previous work experience. In the event an applicant does not meet the educational criteria, it is suggested that only those applicants who have obtained a minimum of four (4) years previous work experience in performing substantive legal work, as that term is defined below, be considered a paralegal
My name is Eugene Hodge; student ID# L1200057. I am in the Paralegal Course. I have been trying to get a couple of issues straighten out. I am at my wits end. It concerns my exams. I took exam No. Lesson 3. On the first try, I got all the answers correct; however, the grade I got was "80" I didn't understand that. Since taking this exam, I have written Ashworh College with my concerns explaining this matter; I gotten no response. After receiving no response, I faxed and even called and still have gotten no where. I have been checking to see if this matter has been resolved, and to my surprise, I got another problem, somehow the test grade for Lesson #4, was listed. The problem with this, I had not taken the test for Lesson #4.
I am proceeding with my lessons without taken any test until someone can get a handle on all of these problems. I would like to finish with this section and go on to the next, but with the grades that I make, not with what is already there. I don't know what happen, or how it as happened, but several error errors has been made. Oh, I did notice that I have to change my password, (now I am not sure what that about); but I also had to change the password on one of my email accounts.
Just a correction for all concerned. California has no license requirements. However, there is a requirement under the Business and Professions Code section 6450 that defines who is qualified to be a paralegal. The requirements range from the graduation from an ABA program or the completion of a program that requires the completion of 24 semester units or its equalivent. Usually an online program with 900 clock hours meets this requirement of 24 units of law related subjects. I am mystified why Ashworth does not market itself more to the nations largest market of Paralegals who are in California? We have 220.000 licensed lawyers in California and an estimated fifty thousand legal assistants. However, holding a "Certified Paralegal" ranking from 'NALA"(National Association of Legal Assistants)carries a lot of weight with employers who might consider this either equal or above that of an ABA school. I believe graduates from Ashworth are eligible to sit for the two day 16 hour exam.
To take the certified exam given by NALA (National Assoiation of Legal Assistants), one of the requirements is to complete a paralegal prpfgram which offers 900 clock hours of instruction. It is true that many
law firms say they want a paralegal who recieved their education from an ABA approved school, however, many do not require it. If you can take the certified exam and pass it, it will look that much better for you.
Although Ashworth's Paralegal program is very compreh
ensive, it does not define it's course in clock hours. I hope one day they will.
Another option is to have an Associates Degree. If you take the Paralegal Associates degree program through Ashowrth, that should qualify you to take the national exam. In addition, after completing the Associate Program, I would purchase and study test materials for the exam, as I understand it can be diffiuclt.
As a side note, let me tell you what MY personal plan is, to maybe give you an idea for yourself.
I hope what I ahve written has helped you
You will be able to work with you degree.
Certifying paralegals is a way to keep un-certified paralegals from working as paralegals.
Some of the benefits of certifying paralegals are collective bargaining power for better hours and pay. Some of detriments to certifying paralegals are that the group can decide which schools to accept as good enough to give a paralegal degree (thus shutting people out), ongoing education requirements, and stricter standards of who can become a paralegal.
Paralegal Studies Instructor
hi! how do i join the paralegal group?
If you are looking to become a member of a paralegal organization, one of the most affordable is the American Alliance of Paralegals (AAPI), which is a national organization. They offer an associate membership (for students) for $20 per year (membership dues). Once you obtain experience, you could then become a full member (also $20 per year). They also offer a paralegal certification leading to the AACP designation.
Keep in mind though that "all" of the certifications being offered by paralegal organizations are "non-accredited" and that the vast majority of working paralegals are not certified. Nor do most employers even know the difference between a "certificated" paralegal and a "certified" paralegal. One possible reason is that there are too many different paralegal certifications out there, for example:
NALA (CLA, CP, ACP); NFPA (PACE RP); NALS (PP); AAPI (AACP); Delaware Paralegal Association (DCP); etc.
Paralegal certifications should not be confused with other professional certifications that come with “specific rights” to work in a field, such as nurses (CNAs, RNs, LVNs, NPs); accountants (CPAs); Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT-Basic and EMT-I); and Paramedics (EMT-P), et cetera.
Unlike most other professional certifications, paralegals are “not required” to be certified to work for a lawyer, law firm or other paralegal position. Like anything else, you should shop around for the best membership that fits your individual career plans and objectives.
In short, no certification trumps a paralegal credential issued by an accredited school, such as the one you will receive from Ashworth.
So what does this mean exactly that once all is said and done we arent going to be able to do anything with our degree?????
It seems there are students who are concerned whether or not their paralegal credential is enough. Yes, it is and here’s why:
The Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) is a recognized accreditor of colleges, universities and vocational schools teaching primarily by distance learning. I downloaded the Accreditation Handbook from the DETC’s website, which I am attaching. I encourage everyone to read what is required of a school to become accredited. To say the least, the process is intensive, wherein not only is a school's programs scrutinized, but how they run their business, to how they teach, also falls under that scrutiny.
The DETC is the only organization in the United States that accredits schools predominantly involved in distance education methods. Ashworth College is accredited by the DETC. What it means is that the credentials awarded by Ashworth carry the weight of national accreditation, and that they've met rigorous standards.
By contrast, there are numerous paralegal associations in the United States and some of them sell certifications to paralegals, usually based around the educational criteria they have set. However, none of them are accredited nor have they met any standards administered by a third party accreditor.
At the other end of the spectrum are organizations that offer personnel certifications, which are accredited by ANSI. At present, close to one million professionals currently hold certifications from organizations accredited under ANSI.
In short, a non-accredited paralegal certification can never replace your Ashworth certificate, diploma or degree, since it is backed by a recognized accrediting agency, the DETC.
I kind of scanned over many people's replies, but I can offer the following regarding Florida:
True, Ashworth is not approved by the ABA, but here in Florida, you can sit for the NALA exam and provide the certificate to the Florida bar for registration.
That is one of the routes you may want to look into since the program isn't ABA approved.
The paralegal field is extremely competitive. I wonder if Ashworth has any intentions of becoming approved. It stands to reason they would want their students to make the most of their career (even if becoming an ABA approved school might raise tuition rates a little bit).
Just my two cents.
I am attaching the requirements I was able to find for North Carolina if anyone was curious. Virginia to follow shortly.
To become a NC Certified Paralegal you must fulfill the educational requirements of Subchapter G, Certification of Paralegals, .0119(a) of the Plan for Paralegal Certification and successfully pass an examination:
To be eligible to sit for the exam, an applicant must satisfy the following criteria:
1. Be a legal resident of the United States.
2. Have a degree in paralegal studies from a qualified paralegal studies program. To be qualified, the program must be ABA approved or qualified by The Board of Paralegal Certification. You can check the ABA website at to see if your school is approved by the ABA. There is also a listing of NC Qualified Paralegal Studies Programs on our website.
3. Submit a completed application along with the filing fee ($125.00). The application must be accompanied by an official transcript from your paralegal program as well as be signed in the presence of a notary.
Hope this helps,
Victoria - here is a list of non-ABA paralegal schools in North Carolina that qualify for certification with the North Carolina Bar:
1. Caldwell Community College, Hudson NC Associate DegreeSeptember 1981
2. Cape Fear Community College, Wilmington Associate Degree May 2006
3. Central Carolina Community College, Sanford Associate Degree May 1987, Certificate May 1997
4. Coastal Carolina Community College, Jacksonville Associate Degree September 1987
5. Davidson County Community College, Lexington Associate Degree May 1976
6. Duke Paralegal Studies Certificate Program, Durham Certificate July 2005
7. Durham Technical Community College, Durham Associate August 2000
8. Forsyth Technical College, Winston-Salem Associate Degree September 1999; Diploma February 2009
9. Gaston College, Dallas Associate Degree May 1994
10. Greensboro College, Greensboro Associate & Certificate May 2006
11. Guilford College, Greensboro Certificate September 2007
12. Guilford Technical Community College, Jamestown Associate Degree January 1998
13. Halifax Community College, Weldon NC Associate Degree August 2002
14. Johnston Community College, Smithfield Associate Degree & Diploma January 1989
15. King's College, Charlotte Associate Degree January 1992
16. Miller-Motte College, Cary Campus Associate Degree June 2009
17. Miller-Motte College, Fayetteville Associate Degree May 2010
18. Miller-Motte College, Raleigh Campus Associate Degree January 2010
19. Miller-Motte College, Wilmington Campus Associate Degree August 2006
20. South College, Asheville (f/k/a Cecil's College) Associate Degree September 1997; Certificate February 2008
21. South Piedmont Community College, Monroe Associate Degree January 2001
22. Southwestern Community College, Sylva Associate Degree January 1975
23. Surry Community College, Dobson Associate Degree January 1993
24. UNC - Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill Certificate June 2009
25. UNC - Charlotte, Charlotte Certificate September 2005
26. Western Piedmont Community College, Morganton Associate Degree January 1997
27. Wilson Community College, Wilson Associate Degree August 1992
*Note: Carteret Communitty College, Central Piedmont Community College, Fayetteville Technical Community College, Meredith College, Methodist University, and Pitt Community College were removed from the list, since they are ABA approved paralegal programs.
Also, a paralegal does not need to be certified by the NC Bar to work as a paralegal nor are they getting anything in return (quid pro quo) for paying for such certification, since it does not come with any right to do anything that a non-certified paralegal can't already do.
If you compare the bar certifications being offfered to paralegals with a certification from a nurse, accountant or financial planner: those certifications come with specific rights to do something.
I am attaching a short study I conducted over a period of months analyzing thousands of job listings to determine what paralegal credentials employers are looking for. It was a tedious task to say the least, but I gained valuable insight into the paralegal job sector.
Each job category was triggered by selecting the first qualification listed for each job listing.
It can be downloaded at http://napa.club.officelive.com/Documents/ParalegalJobEdu.pdf
This is why it is so important to do research on your state's requirements, industry's requirements, and most employers requirements. Also, research your intended school, find out if its right for you before you start going to it. It is also important to not give up so easily. When you get told no, be ambitious, look harder. I have known people from Ivy League universities, with PhDs, who cannot find work. I don't believe it is because they are less qualified, I believe it is because they allow others to beat them out of a lot of jobs, because they loose their drive. If you have a Bachelors degree from Ashworth, when you are asked what college you have gone to,keep your head up, say it proud. If you do not believe in your education, your prospective employer will not believe your education either. Tell them what you learned, make sure you know what you are talking about, do the research on the company.