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How to Become a Paralegal in Maryland

Title: How to Become a Paralegal in Maryland


Becoming a paralegal in Maryland can be an exciting and rewarding career choice for individuals with a passion for law and a desire to contribute to the legal system. Paralegals play a crucial role in assisting lawyers in various legal tasks, such as research, drafting legal documents, and client communication. This article will guide you through the necessary steps to becoming a paralegal in Maryland, along with answering some frequently asked questions about this profession.

Step 1: Obtain the Required Education

The first step towards becoming a paralegal in Maryland is to acquire the necessary education. While it is not mandatory to have a specific degree, most employers prefer candidates with a paralegal studies certificate or an associate’s degree in paralegal studies. These programs provide a comprehensive understanding of legal terminology, procedures, and research methods.

Several community colleges and universities in Maryland offer accredited paralegal programs. It is vital to choose a program that is approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) to ensure quality education and enhance employment prospects.

Step 2: Gain Practical Experience

Acquiring practical experience is essential to succeed as a paralegal. Many educational programs offer internships or externships as part of their curriculum, allowing students to gain hands-on experience within a legal setting. Such opportunities can provide exposure to various areas of law and help develop essential skills.

Additionally, volunteering at legal clinics or local law firms can offer valuable experience and networking opportunities. This practical exposure will help you understand the day-to-day responsibilities of a paralegal and strengthen your resume.

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Step 3: Consider Certification

While not mandatory, obtaining a paralegal certification can significantly enhance your professional credibility and employability. The National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) offers the Certified Paralegal (CP) credential, which requires passing an examination covering various legal topics. Similarly, the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) offers the Paralegal CORE Competency Exam (PCCE).

These certifications demonstrate your dedication to the profession and can set you apart from other candidates. Additionally, some employers may require or prefer certified paralegals for certain positions.

Step 4: Job Search and Networking

Once you have completed your education and gained some practical experience, it is time to search for paralegal positions in Maryland. Start by creating a professional resume that highlights your education, experience, and any certifications you have obtained.

Utilize online job boards, professional networking platforms, and local legal associations to find job opportunities. Networking with professionals in the legal field can also be beneficial, as they may provide leads or recommendations.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q1: What are the essential skills needed to be a successful paralegal?

A: Some important skills for a paralegal include strong written and verbal communication, attention to detail, research abilities, organizational skills, and the ability to work well under pressure.

Q2: Can I become a paralegal without a degree?

A: While a degree is not mandatory, it is highly recommended to have at least an associate’s degree or a paralegal studies certificate to enhance your job prospects.

Q3: How long does it take to become a paralegal in Maryland?

A: The duration to become a paralegal depends on the educational path you choose. A certificate program can typically be completed within a year, while an associate’s degree may take around two years.

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Q4: Is continuing education required for paralegals in Maryland?

A: Maryland does not have specific continuing education requirements for paralegals. However, staying updated with legal developments and participating in professional development opportunities can enhance your skills and knowledge.


Becoming a paralegal in Maryland requires a combination of education, practical experience, and dedication to the profession. By following the steps outlined above, you can embark on a fulfilling career in the legal field. Remember to continuously enhance your skills, stay updated with legal developments, and maintain a professional network to thrive as a paralegal in Maryland.

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