Online legal administrative assistant certification programs can be completed within a year or less as part of a fully online legal administrative assistant certificate program or as a concentration with an online administrative assisting diploma program. In addition to the completion of online coursework, students may be required to fulfill an internship requirement to gain hands-on experience in the field, as well as take tests in a supervised facility. Admission into the program may require the ability to type 50 or more words per minute.
Legal Administrative Assistant Certificate
Students of online legal administrative assistant programs develop required typing, administrative and communications skills. Some schools require that students have proficient keyboarding skills or have the ability to type a determined number of words per minute before entering the certificate program. Depending on the school, students completing this program can be awarded either a diploma or a certificate. In some cases, legal office administration can be a specialization within an office administration or office technology certificate program.
Program Information and Requirements
Distance learning legal administrative assistant certificate programs are generally conducted entirely online, though some schools offer an internship or administer tests at proctored sites rather than online. This certificate can typically be achieved in one year or less.
Common Legal Administrative Assistant Certificate Courses
The curriculum of an online legal administrative assistant program typically addresses business communications, legal terminology and legal office administration procedures. Additional program coursework is likely to include business law, keyboarding, business English, legal writing, interpersonal communications and word processing.
The use of letters, e-mails and memos as means of professional communication are studied in business communications courses. Writing and interpersonal communication skills are generally developed in these types of courses.
Legal terminology courses address the use and definitions of legal terms. Students learn the language used in specific legal documents, such as contracts, wills and court proceedings.
Legal Office Administration Procedures
Students of legal office administration procedures courses learn how to process legal documents, interact with clients and maintain confidentiality. Technology and equipment used in legal offices might also be covered.
Career Information for Graduates
Legal administrative assistants work for private law firms, banks, corporate legal departments and state and federal government offices. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth for legal assistants is expected to be 8% between 2014 and 20224. Annual salaries for legal administrative assistants vary. They are impacted mainly by geography and employer type. In 2015, the BLS reported a median annual salary of $48,810 for legal assistants. Payscale.com states that legal administrative assistants made between $12.02 and $29.16 per hour as of October 2016.
Continuing Education Information
Those who complete this online certificate program can pursue an associate's degree for legal administrative assistants, as some employers might require applicants to possess a degree. Several colleges and universities throughout the U.S. offer online 2-year programs for legal administrative assistants that result most commonly in an Associate of Applied Science degree.
Legal administrative assistants with 1-5 years of experience can choose to pursue certification in this field. NALS offers the basic Accredited Legal Secretary (ALS) and advanced Professional Legal Secretary (PLS) certifications. Legal Secretaries International, Inc. provides the Certified Legal Secretary Specialist credential for legal administrative assistants with five years of experience.
Aspiring legal administrative assistants can gain the technical skills and basic legal knowledge they need for entry-level jobs in the offices of law firms by earning an online undergraduate certificate or diploma. When they finish, they may boost their job prospects by enrolling in an undergraduate degree program, and after gaining work experience in the field, they can seek professional certification.