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How You Choose Between Traditional and Online Paralegal Programs

Posted by Gail Armatys

May 17, 2013 10:40:00 AM


The paralegal profession has been and is currently one of the fastest growing professions in the United States. Job satisfaction is high but rewarding as the career may be, the challenge often lies in getting started. There are a lot of questions to ask and have answered.  One thing you must consider is whether or not you will take your classes in an online paralegal program or in the traditional classroom.

According to the study by the Slaon Consortium group, “Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States, 2011”  more than 6.1 million students in the United States took at least one online class during the fall semester of 2010. This is a significant number compared to previous years, and the statistics only keep growing for all professions.

Online paralegal programs are a part of this growth. In a field where the job market is competetive and interest in such a professional career means you need the best education possible, how do you decide if you should attend a traditional classroom or online paralegal courses?

The following is a quick breakdown of what you can expect in terms of alternatives for gaining your paralegal skills.  You should assess both classroom options to determine the best fit for you, your situation, learning style, location, and schedule. 

Traditional Classes

Students who wish to take courses in a traditional setting generally do so because they like sitting in a physical classroom and find learning easier when they are placed in a group of like-learners.  These students desire the traditional face-to-face element of interaction with the instructor.  This type of classroom is known to most students and it is comfortable. 

                                                                              Traditional Paralegal Program

Being around others can often help keep the traditional student focused and motivated. And if time and transportation are available, the on-the-ground classroom can help meet this need. As history proves, the on-campus learning environment can be a great method of delivering paralegal courses.

At Center for Advanced Legal Studies (CALS), students have found success by completing their paralegal certificate program or AAS Paralegal Degree program on campus for over 26 years. As new methods of teaching continue to enhance traditional instruction, the brick and mortar classroom still has its place and produces graduates that excel in the paralegal profession.

Online Interactive Instruction

Although the traditional classroom has benefits for some, online classes offer students certain perks. Among them is the ability to save time and allow for significant flexibility throughout the work week.

Online classes may be the best method of learning for you if you are organized and self-motivated. Or, if you have other things to attend to during the daytime and cannot attend traditional classes the online classroom may accommodate your schedule.

Online Paralegal Certificate Student

The obvious and huge advantage to this method of instruction is that you can participate in class regardless of location. Center for Advanced Legal Studies provides virtual online classes to students across the country using the latest technologies. This ensures you get a high quality, online education that incorporates the values of the traditional classroom - wherever you are. 

Online Classes - Are They Inferior?

Sometimes the general concensus is that online classes are inferior to the traditional classroom. This may be true at some institutions.  However, online classes should not be considered second to traditional classes at Center for Advanced Legal Studies.  

Although some online paralegal classes include the basics such as emailing information back and forth, use of discussion threads, and some type of online platform to support grades, tests, and quizes,  CALS online paralegal programs go much further to provide the face-to-face interaction that so many people desire in their education. This interactive instruction mimics the opportunity for visual discussions, questions, and chances for clarification. It closely resembles the traditional and familiar form teaching.  

Often, students have had previous unsuccessful experiences with online courses.  Probably because of the low level of interaction.  CALS' online paralegal programs are centered around student-to-faculty interaction and student-to-student interaction. It is a top-tier method of learning at a distance.

In Summary

Traditional courses may be for you if you: 

  • prefer a more familiar method of instruction

  • are motivated by learning in physical surroundings with like-learners

  • have time available to commute

  • have reliable transportation

Online paralegal programs may be for you if you:

  • live outside the area of your chosen paralegal program

  • are organized

  • are self-motivated

  • have limited time or work during the day

Whether you live in the Houston area or across the nation and beyond the US borders, you can select the method of learning that best suits you to obtain a superior education from CALS, a college that specializes in paralegal education. Be assured, selecting the right form of classroom instruction for you is very important to your success.

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Graduates from traditional or online paralegal programs at Center for Advanced Legal Studies have the edge. For more information about these programs, please learn more about traditional classroom and online classroom or by contacting us at 800-446-6931 for assistance.

Gail Armatys, Paralegal School Co-Founder & CAO

Gail Armatys, Co-Founder & CAO

Center for Advanced Legal Studies

*Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States, 2011 [http://sloanconsortium.org/publications/survey/going_distance_2011]

Topics: online classes, paralegal certificate, paralegal degree

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