Choosing enrollment in an ABA approved paralegal program can affect your employment options.
Not every employer requires that you graduate from an ABA approved program, but most seem to prefer it. When perusing job postings you'll find law offices typically expect this.
Here in California, most law firms expect that you have completed your studies through an ABA approved paralegal program. They may cite in their listing that you must be compliant with California Business and Professions Code Section 6450-6456.
What is Section 6450-6456?
(a)"Paralegal" means a person who holds himself or herself
out to be a paralegal, who is qualified by education, training, or work experience, who either contracts with or is employed by an attorney, law firm, corporation, governmental agency...."
Essentially, CA law offices are more inclined to protect themselves by citing this code. You can still find work if you don't meet the code, but that will come through in house training.
Entry level positions may lead to mentoring and possibly financing a college program. Various factors will influence a firm's decision to do this, but your attitude and aptitude will play a significant role.
Other states have ABA approved paralegal programs. You can find them at the
ABA Standing Committee's Directory.
Of course not all states will have this requirement. Consider that Maine, Vermont and North Dakota do not have approved programs on the ABA's web site.
What are these potential candidates to do?
Start by checking with your local association, if one exists. You've also got the NALA and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations to offer you guidance.
Clearly, there are legal agencies and law offices in the three states listed above and it stands to reason those attorneys need assistance.
Candidates looking for work in these states must develop their skills through education and training.
All is not lost if your state or region doesn't offer a local ABA approved program. Instead, consider certification through NALA or NFPA. Adding that to your resume will enhance your job prospects and show your commitment to this profession.