The drive to advance a career on a limited budget can be challenging while maintaining steady employment, but options exist to earn paralegal certification that will help you find a new job or get a promotion. Some employers are willing to cover part or all of tuition fees for employees, so if you are a secretary who desires paralegal certification, consider inquiring at your firm.
Free Online Paralegal Certification
In general, it is prudent to use caution when researching free paralegal certification online. Few legitimate educational institutions offer free certification. Carefully review any website for evidence of accreditation or at least Better Business Bureau approval. While taking advantage of Internet resources for personal study can be helpful, do not give your personal information to unsecured websites. If you do not have paralegal certification and you want to earn it to be eligible for a job, remember that some employers will provide the training you need, if they require it at all.
Accredited Online Paralegal Certification with Federal Grants
Potentially, free paralegal courses are available by pursuing an associate's degree with federal grants, made available through completion of a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, form. Although federal loans are available for many schools that offer paralegal training, even low-interest loans must be paid back eventually. Grants, however, can cover tuition and related educational expenses. Each school should have information on financial aid on its admissions web page.
Local Paralegal Courses with Federal Grants
Receiving financial aid for paralegal training at local schools is also possible. A student can earn paralegal certification at no cost, if the student qualifies for federal grants. Local community colleges patrons may offer scholarships on academic merit or demographic qualifications, so ask an admissions counselor about scholarship opportunities. Community colleges also may offer work-study programs, which credit students with partial tuition costs in exchange for hourly office or maintenance work.
Paralegal Certification Scholarships
While they can be limited to certain schools, cities or regions, paralegal certification scholarships exist for recipients who meet the requirements, often academically related. Although they may not cover all tuition or certification costs, scholarships are beneficial both by covering tuition costs and providing evidence on your resume of your academic abilities or civic accomplishments. Some scholarships include stipends for books, some are funded by local Rotary clubs, others carry grade requirements and still others require essay submissions.
- ITT Technical Institute: Paralegal Studies
- American Bar: Paralegal Approved Program Directory
- Scholarship: Scholarship Search
- National Federation of Paralegals Association
- National Federation of Paralegals Association: Career Resources
- Practical Paralegalism: 21 Places to Look for Paralegal Scholarships
- Paralegal Hub: Scholarships
Since 2005, Elly Turner's articles, essays, reviews and interviews have appeared regularly online and in print publications such as "Risen" and "Good News" magazines. She also has an essay in "The Philosophy of Sherlock Holmes" from the University Press of Kentucky. She holds a Master of Arts in theological studies from Asbury Theological Seminary.