BlogCareer DevelopmentLegal Careers6 Organizations to Join as a Paralegal to Boost Your Career

6 Organizations to Join as a Paralegal to Boost Your Career

Many professionals looking to propel their careers to the next level join professional organizations to help them do so. Professional organizations provide great opportunities for networking and career advancement. Paralegals are a perfect example of one career field that can benefit greatly from joining professional organizations.

Some reasons that paralegals might join professional organizations include opportunities for training, education, and certifications, as well as great networking opportunities. Since there is no single oversight committee or authority for paralegals nationally or on a state-by-state level, membership in paralegal organizations and certifications offered by organizations provide a critical way to boost your credibility as a paralegal professional.

Whether you want certifications next to your name to boost your credibility and open doors for career advancement, you are looking for networking opportunities, or you are seeking education or mentorship from more experienced paralegals, professional organizations can provide excellent opportunities to advance your paralegal career.

If you are looking for the best organizations to join as a paralegal to boost your career, you’ve come to the right place. We break down the top six paralegal organizations below:

1. National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)

The National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) is one of the longest-standing paralegal organizations in the country. NALA was founded in 1975, and has become known as one of the top paralegal organizations mainly thanks to its educational programs and certifications.

For paralegals looking to continue their professional education, you can find a variety of resources at NALA. Webinars, self-study courses, conferences, and other events are held regularly.

For those looking for certifications to boost their professional credibility, NALA is a top choice for many paralegals. Two main levels of certification are available: Certified Paralegal and Advanced Certified Paralegal, each with stringent requirements. If you want to stand out from the pack, a certification from NALA will help you do so.

Blackstone’s Legal Assistant/Paralegal Program includes NALA Certified Paralegal (CP®) Exam Preparation materials and covers the cost for students to sit for the Certified Paralegal (CP®) Exam after completion.

2. National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA)

As the name suggests, the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) is made up of dozens of smaller member organizations. In total, over 9,000 individual members are a part of the NFPA. The NFPA was founded in 1974, making it the nation’s first paralegal association. The NFPA offers educational and networking opportunities, scholarships, awards, and multiple levels of certification for paralegals.

Those who wish to be certified by NFPA must pass an exam and, based on the level of certification, may need to meet other requirements including a specified number of years in practice as a paralegal.

3. American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE)

People who are looking to pursue an education to become a paralegal, or who want to continue their education while working as a paralegal, should look into the American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE). Rather than offer membership opportunities for individual paralegals, the AAfPE offers membership to educational institutions that offer courses relevant to the paralegal profession. Institutions must meet certain standards to gain AAfPE membership.

4. National Association for Legal Support Professionals (NALS)

Another solid option for paralegals looking to boost their career through education, networking, and certification is the National Association for Legal Support Professionals (NALS). NALS offers the Professional Paralegal certification, which is available to those who have either a paralegal degree or at least five years of experience as a legal assistant or paralegal. People interested in the certification must pass a four-part exam. Once you have attained this certification, additional Specialty Certificates are available to be earned from NALS in various areas of law.

5. American Bar Association (ABA)

That’s right, the American Bar Association (ABA) is not just for lawyers. You can also become a member of the ABA as a paralegal. In fact, the ABA has over 400,000 members nationwide from a variety of legal professions. The ABA is great for networking, as there are several specialty groups you can join in specific areas of interest. You may also find mentorship opportunities through the ABA.

6. American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc (AAPI)

The American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc (AAPI) is yet another excellent paralegal organization to consider joining. The AAPI provides training, education, and certification for people in the paralegal profession. Unlike many other organizations that offer certification, AAPI certification does not require that you take an exam, making it one of the most straightforward certifications to gain. You must meet certain requirements for education and experience. Membership is just $35 per year, making the AAPI one of the most affordable professional memberships available to paralegals.

Advanced Paralegal Courses at Blackstone Career Institute

Professional paralegals who are looking to advance their careers can also do so by continuing their education to broaden their realm of expertise. Blackstone Career Institute offers several accredited Advanced Paralegal CE courses in various areas of expertise, ranging from Criminal Law to Real Estate Law, and many topics in between. See our course brochure to learn more!

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