These days, many Pennsylvania residents are thinking about pursuing a career as a paralegal. If this is the case for you, it’s important to learn more about how to pursue this vocational path. Obtain the information you need by reading the quick reference guide that appears below:
Paralegals are not required to meet any specific educational or certification requirements by law. However, it is prudent and practical to do so in order to optimize your knowledge and experience in the field. Some educational options you might want to pursue include:
-A bachelor’s degree in the field of paralegal studies. The paralegal program should be ABA approved. You should also attain one year of work experience in the field.
-A bachelor’s degree in any field from an ABA-approved program. The degree should come from an educational institution that is accredited. You should also complete an associate degree in paralegal studies or a certificate program. You will also need one year of work experience.
-A bachelor’s degree in any field from an accredited institution. You will also need to obtain three years of experience working in the field.
-An associate degree in the field of paralegal studies along with five years of work experience in this sector.
-Certification from a certificate program for paralegals. You should also obtain five years of experience working in the field.
-National certification as a RP, CP, or CLA. You could also obtain certification from any organization that is recognized by the Keystone Alliance of Paralegal Associations. Additionally, you will need to earn two years of work experience as a paralegal.
Paralegals who complete educational requirements and pass a certification exam become certified paralegals. There are four national exams you can take to become a certified paralegal:
The PCC (administered by National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA)
The PACE (administered by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA)
The PP (administered by the Association for Legal Professionals (NALS)
The CLA/CP (administered by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)
Aspiring paralegals are not required to meet any specific training requirements. However, attaining experience through on-site training, internships, and other vocational opportunities is always a good idea.
There are several paralegal schools in Pennsylvania that an individual can enroll in. Some of them include:
Central Penn College (Summerdale)
Bucks County Community College (Newtown)
Community College of Philadelphia (Philadelphia)
Clarion University of Pennsylvania (Oil City)
Duquesne University (Pittsburgh)
Delaware County Community College (Media)
Harrisburg Area Community College (Harrisburg)
Gannon University (Erie)
Manor College (Jenkintown)
Lehigh Carbon Community College (Schnecksville)
Peirce College (Philadelphia)
Northampton Community College (Bethlehem)
Villanova University (Villanova)
Pennsylvania College of Technology (Williamsport)
Paralegal Job Outlook
Employment for paralegals is expected to grow 8% between the years of 2014 and 2024. This is as fast as average for all vocations. Formally trained paralegals who have strong database management and computer skills will likely have the most job options.
Paralegals typically earn $48,810 per year. Salaries are subject to vary based on factors such as education, experience, location, and employer.
If you have given consideration to becoming a paralegal, it’s important to gain basic information about educational requirements, certification options, job outlook, and more. You can use the information provided above to determine whether this vocational path would be ideal for you.