How Long does it take to become a paralegal

Becoming a paralegal is not as dauting as you may think.

In fact, given the salary paralegals enjoy through the course of their careers, more people should really consider this high paying and always in demand profession.

This article will show you how long it takes to become a paralegal, how to prepare for this career path as well as key insights for specific states requirements.

What does a paralegal do?

Paralegals work requires a good understanding of the Law even though they cannot practice law.

They have a critical support role for the attorneys who they work with in a team effort to satisfy their clients.

To give you an idea of some of the tasks performed by paralegals, here is a non-exhaustive table.

Preparing contracts, wills, mortgages and case documentsDrafting motions, writings reports or plea deals
Background Research on attorney casesBriefing attorney on the facts of a case
Documents gathering and organizationInterviews with witnesses and clients
Legal cases research to find precedentCommunication Interface between attorney and Clients
Different Roles of a Modern Paralegal

Paralegals are in high demand

I often look at the professions around law as an evergreen industry.

This is because when there is a conflict between two parties, lawyers are involved.

That tis how most people think of the law.

However, lawyers are always needed in good times for merge r and acquisitions for instance, a living will or any business transaction that require legal documents.

Therefore, it is not a surprise that as of 2022, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that paralegal profession will grow 12% through 2030.

Such a rise is much higher than the national average.

How long does it take to become a paralegal

Your path to become a paralegal depends on your current starting point.

For most paralegals, an associate degree in paralegal studies will take two years after your high school diploma.

The next level of entry is with a bachelor’s degree in legal studies which will take you four years to complete. More and more employees in this field are making this a requirement.

Lastly, if you already hold a bachelor’s degree, you should consider a master’s degree in legal studies (MLs). Several schools offer Online Master of Legal Studies program that take between 12 months and 16 months in average according to our analysis of such programs.

Here is a summary table of how many years it takes to become a paralegal as a function of your current education level.

If you currently have a High School Diplomaif you currently hold a high school diplomaif you currently hold a bachelor’s degree
Degree to become a paralegalAssociate Degree in paralegal studiesBachelor’s degree in legal studiesMaster’s degree in legal studies
Years to become a paralegal 2 years 4 years 12 -16 months
Years to Become a paralegal based on your current education level

Paralegal certificate vs degree

A paralegal certificate is the document that you will receive after completion of one of the three degree we mentioned above.

Getting a paralegal certification is not a requirement to get a job in this field.

However, it will go a long way in demonstrating your expertise.

Often, organization that offer paralegal certifications may require that the candidates maintain a continuous level of education.

How long does it take to get a paralegal degree?

We learned that it could take you as little as one year to get a paralegal degree (Master of Legal studies)

or as many as 4 years if you are starting with a high school diploma and want to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Legal studies.

How long does it take to become a paralegal - 5 steps process to become a paralegal
5 Steps Process to Become a Paralegal

The above 5-step process showcases the full path to becoming a profession in the field of paralegals which can land you a job in law firms, nonprofit organizations and even governmental agencies.

How much does it cost to become a paralegal?


How long does it take to become a paralegal in California?

The duration of your education to become a paralegal is really not regulated at the national level.

A few states such as California, Florida, Texas and Utah may have a few requirements.

However, your potential employers will decide on what you need to become one of their supporting staff members.

How to become a paralegal in California

  • Potential candidates need a paralegal certificate from a school approved by the American Bar Association (ABA)
  • Complete some semester hours in paralegal studies from an institution accredited by the State of California

As you can see, the first requirement is not much of a big deal because any of the three degrees mentioned above provide you with a paralegal certificate already.

Furthermore, if you obtain your paralegal certificate from a school located in California, you have a high probability of fulfilling the second requirement as well.

Typically, people who may hold foreign degrees are the ones who must start from the initial steps when trying to become a paralegal in California.

How long does it take to become a paralegal in Texas?

In Texas, there exists a Paralegal entity within the State bar of Texas and certification is voluntary through the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

The timeline we provided earlier do not differ that much in Texas.

It is always a good idea to check updated information as the law

How long does it take to become a paralegal in Florida?

No minimum requirements needed in the State of Florida.

The best practice when looking for a job as a paralegal is to ask the hiring company of the requirements before you apply.

Quick Facts on Paralegals and Legal Assistants

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

  • 2021 Median Pay: $56,230 per year | per hour

How long does it take to become a paralegal - 2021 Bureau of Labor Statistic median pay for paralegals and legal assistants
BLS | Paralegal 2021 Median Pay is $56230

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