Attorneys regularly depend on paralegals for research and other tasks that play an integral role in representing clients. This constantly evolving need has developed a growing career field for students with an interest in studying law, but not necessarily a desire to attend law school.
Find Accredited Paralegal Schools In Washington
If you have an interest in becoming a paralegal, the Washington State Paralegal Association maintains a list of paralegal programs that are currently approved by either the American Bar Association or the American Association for Paralegal Education. Currently, there are approximately 17 recommended programs that offer a paralegal certificate, including Central Washington University, Clark College, Columbia Basin College, Eastern Washington University, Edmonds Community College, Highline Community College, Lower Columbia College, Pacific Lutheran University, Perry Technical Institute, Pierce College, South Puget Sound Community College, Spokane Community College, Tacoma Community College, University of Washington and Whatcom Community College. Programs are available through both distance learning and traditional evening and day campus classes depending on the school.
How To Get Certified In Washington
There are no specific requirements in Washington state to practice as a paralegal. However, in order to qualify for open positions, most law firms require at least a high school diploma or GED and a certificate in Paralegal Studies. Additional certifications from organizations like the National Association of Legal Assistants are also helpful.
Salaries For Certified Paralegal’s in Washington
Salaries for paralegals in Washington state vary based on both location and law firm. For example, a paralegal in Seattle is likely to make more money than one in Spokane. Certain types of practices, such as corporate or real estate law may also pay more. However, the mean wage for these professionals in Washington state is an estimated $53,700 per year.
Paralegal graduates can work in most any legal field, as most training programs cover a wide range of course subjects. Common areas of law where these professionals are employed include criminal, corporate, real estate, family and intellectual law. Experienced legal professionals are also found in areas like environmental, entertainment, immigration and health law.
With so many different career fields requiring legal representation, paralegals can often find work in just about any field that interests them, whether it’s saving the environment or working in the criminal justice system. All you need is the right training to start your new career in this exciting field.
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