There are multiple routes to become a paralegal within the state of Maine. These routes include obtaining a nationally recognized certification, on-the-job training and paralegal education. Take a closer look at these pathways more in detail.
Paralegal Certification in Maine
There are no state organizations that offer official paralegal certification, but there are three national organizations that offer certifications. To become officially certified, you must pass the examination. All four of these exams take around four hours to complete and are offered multiple times a year.
Certified Paralegal Professional (PP)
Offered by the National Association for Legal Professionals (NALS)
This certification has the most varied qualifications among the national certifications. To qualify to take the test you need five years experience as a paralegal, completion of a paralegal program or Bachelor’s degree with a year experience.
Paralegal CORE Competency Exam (PCCE)
Offered by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA)
To qualify for this exam, a person will need either experience working as a paralegal or have completed a paralegal degree program.
Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (PACE)
Offered by the National Federation of Paralegal Association (NFPA)
This test is designed for the experienced and educated paralegal. To be eligible for this certification, you need either an Associate’s degree or a Bachelor’s degree plus at least two years experience working within the field.
Certified Paralegal (CP)
Offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)
This certification offers varying degrees of qualification. To be eligible, you need to have graduated from paralegal program, have a Bachelor’s degree with paralegal experience or have a high school diploma with seven years experience.
Requirements for Becoming a Paralegal
There is no legal requirement for a certification to work as a paralegal in Maine, but the state does have a law that forbids anyone to advertise themselves as a paralegal without proper qualifications. This means that to work in the state of Maine as a paralegal, a person needs to either have work experience as a paralegal or completed some sort of paralegal education program whether it’s a certificate program or a degree program. To increase your chances of employment, certification from one of the three associations that offer national paralegal certifications is a good option.
Paralegal Training in Maine
One option to become a paralegal in Maine is on-the-job training. It’s possible for law offices to hire non-paralegals and offer on-the job training. Some law firms will also train paralegals from their in house staff. If you’ve previously received on-the-job training that led to a career as paralegal, you may qualify for one of the national certification like PACE and PCCE.
Paralegal Schools in Maine
There are multiple types of paralegal programs that can meet multiple types of needs. There are on campus offerings from the two of the main universities in Maine. If a more traditional setting isn’t the right fit, keep in mind that there also universities in other states that offer fully online paralegal programs.
Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies: This is a good match for anyone preparing to enter a four year degree program or someone looking to transfer into a four year paralegal degree program.
Univeristy of Maine at Augusta
Postgraduate Certificate in Paralegal Studies: A postgraduate certificate is a good choice for anyone who already has a bachelor’s degree in another field but would like to enter into the paralegal profession. This particular certificate requires 21 additional credit hours of coursework.
Paralegal Studies, Certificate: UMA also offers a certificate for undergraduate students with at least 60 hours of undergraduate credits. This program is a great match for anyone with an Associate’s Degree or someone who has completed the bulk of their general education requirements at a Community College or other University.
Paralegal Job Outlook
The job outlook on the national level for paralegals shows a positive growth through 2024. According to the National Labor Statistics, there is a 8 percent projected increase in paralegal jobs in the U.S.
Paralegal Salary in Maine
There is only a slightly difference between the national average salary of paralegals and the average salary of paralegals in Maine. Nationally, the average salary is $48, 810 per year or $23. 47 per hour. In Maine, the average salary for paralegals is $45, 410 per year and $21.83 per hour.