Legal Secretary Certificate: Certificate Overivew
Research certificate programs for legal secretaries. Get information on requirements, courses and salary to make an informed decision about your education.
Legal Secretary Certificate
Aspiring legal secretaries or those already employed as legal secretaries can benefit from earning a legal secretary certificate. Studies often focus on managing a legal office, writing legal documents, data processing or performing legal research. Individuals could have the opportunity to learn in the classroom as well as online. Depending on the program, students could earn a certificate in anywhere from two months to a year. Schools might request that applicants have fundamental word processing knowledge and typing skills. Applicants might also have to take placement tests before being accepted to certificate programs.
Students receive instruction in various legal and jurisdictional concepts as well as computer programs specific to legal office procedures. Proofreading and citation formatting are other areas that certificate classes could cover. Schools could also help students build on their office skills with correspondence, telephone etiquette and file management training. Programs might also have writing assignments that require students to prepare a group of legal documents to turn in at the end of the term. Other course topics might also include:
- Civil investigation
- Business communication
- Insurance law
- Estate probate
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that between 2010 and 2020, employment opportunities for legal secretaries are projected to grow 4%, which is below average when compared to other occupations (www.bls.gov). This sluggish growth rate is attributed to current slow growth in the legal field in general.
The BLS indicated in 2012 that most legal secretaries made $26,250-$67,790 per year at that time. The majority of legal secretaries worked in legal services, the BLS reported, though those employed by the natural gas distribution industry earned the highest wages, averaging $68,500 per year.
Legal secretaries have the option to pursue further education as a paralegal, which usually requires a paralegal certificate or associate degree, though some schools offer bachelor's or master's degrees in paralegal studies. Another option is to earn a professional certification from an association like the National Association of Legal Secretaries (NALS), the International Association of Administrative Professionals or Legal Secretaries International, Inc., each of which offers legal secretary credentials. Earning designations such as the Certified Professional Secretary (CPS), the Accredited Legal Secretary (ALS), the Professional Legal Secretary (PLS) or the Certified Legal Secretary Specialist (CLSS) require passing required tests and having various years of experience.
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