Find Accredited Paralegal Schools In Wisconsin
If you’re interested in a legal profession but don’t want to spend years and years in college, you may find becoming a paralegal an excellent choice. To get all the information on how to become a paralegal in Wisconsin, read below.
Becoming a paralegal in Wisconsin does not require any specific degree or paralegal classes, according to Wisconsin statutes. Although they are debating on the possibility of regulating paralegals in regard to education and training, there are currently no laws in place so paralegals can choose to pursue paralegal education or receive on-the-job training.
However, because education may be required in the future, aspiring paralegals may choose to seek education on their own. The American Bar Association (ABA) has certain guidelines with respect to training and semester hours. There are about six schools in Wisconsin that have ABA-approved curriculum. These schools offer both post-baccalaureate certificates and degrees. Paralegals in Wisconsin can also choose to become members of one of the following organizations.
• Paralegal Association of Wisconsin (PAW)
• Madison Area Association (MAPA)
• Wisconsin Association for Legal Professionals (WALP)
How To Get Certified In Wisconsin
As stated above, there are no educational requirements for becoming a paralegal in Wisconsin. However, employers look favorably on paralegals that are certified and consider it a demonstration of their commitment and competence. The three organizations listed above offer four national certification exams.
The National Federation of Paralegal Associations offers the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (PACE) and the Paralegal CORE Competency Exam (PCCE) while the National Association of Legal Assistants offers the Certified Paralegal Credential (CLA/CP) and the Association for Legal Professionals offers the Professional Paralegal (PP) exam. There are three factors that aspiring paralegals should consider regarding certification.
• Completing a paralegal certificate program only means they have a certificate, but they are not certified.
• Although Wisconsin has no educational requirements for paralegals, there is some education or work experience requirements to obtain certification.
• The requirements may be different with each certification.
Salaries For Certified Paralegal’s in Wisconsin
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), paralegals or legal assistants working in Wisconsin earned a mean annual wage of $44,750 as of May 2013, which is slightly less than the $51,170 which was the national average that year. The BLS also reported that there were 3,500 paralegals or legal assistants employed in Wisconsin in 2013.
Paralegals and legal assistants are expected to see an employment growth of 17% between 2012 and 2022, reported the BLS. Although competition may be stiff for potentials, there are still many excellent job opportunities for both paralegals and legal assistants. In many law firms, paralegals are considered a more affordable option to lawyers.
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