Alabama paralegals are always ready for anything that throws in their way. Documents are organized, schedules are reviewed and re-examined, and court documents are always submitted on time. Follow the step-by-step process to become a paralegal: Samford University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Paralegal Studies at its Birmingham campus, which can be completed at the same time as the Paralegal Certificate Program. This evening program requires 128 credits. Students will gain business, leadership, and oral and written communication skills to prepare for a career as a paralegal. External experiences, internships, and job shadowing are great career development and networking tools for potential paralegals and can give candidates an edge in competing for paralegal jobs in Alabama. These resources can be offered as part of a paralegal training program or directly through organizations that employ paralegals. Internship programs can be a particularly useful starting point for new graduates looking for a job to create professional networks. High ethical standards are also essential. Any work in the legal field requires difficult ethical decisions, so it is very important that a paralegal has high ethical standards.
Whether you`re getting a job at one of Birmingham`s largest law firms like Maynard Cooper & Gale PC or Burr & Forman LLP, getting a spot in the legal department of a large corporation like Encompass Health or Regions Financial, or lending your talents to a well-known nonprofit like Montgomery`s American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Alabama is the perfect place for where you want to be if a career as a paralegal is in your sights. Part of learning how to become a paralegal in Alabama is making sure you have the qualifications that today`s lawyers need. The Alabama Association of Paralegals, Inc. (AAPi), a subsidiary of NALA, was founded in 1982. Its objectives include supporting new paralegals through a mentorship program, networking, and providing educational opportunities to its members, including the units required for National Certification in Legal Education (CLE). You must be at least 18 years old to become a paralegal. In many cases, some experience in a law firm is also required. You can gain this experience by applying for internships at a law firm.
An internship is an unpaid training program where you can see first-hand how a business works on a daily basis. This is often an essential part of professional preparation. SALARY INFORMATION: Salaries are influenced by many factors such as location, education, training, certifications and years of experience. For more information on paralegal salaries in Mobile, Alabama, please visit: www.salary.com/ research/salary/benchmark/paralegal-i-salary/mobile-al. Certification of Alabama paralegals is voluntary, but it is recommended by the ABA and its accredited paralegal schools in Alabama. There are many certification options. Some of the most popular in Alabama are: In May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 4,130 paralegals and paralegals employed in Alabama.3 During the same reporting period, the average salary for paralegals in Alabama was $49,150.3. While this salary is lower than the national average salary of $56,610, it should be borne in mind that the cost of living in Alabama is lower than the national average.3 In addition, more competitive salary offers are typically found in urban areas. For example, the average salary for paralegals in the Mobile metropolitan area is $55,670.4. When many people consider pursuing a career in law, they automatically think about becoming lawyers. Becoming a lawyer can be a long and time-consuming process.
Many people are disappointed when they realize that they don`t want to engage in this process, but they still want to pursue a legal career. Becoming a paralegal is the perfect solution. There are very light requirements to become a paralegal in Alabama. This is great news for people who want to start their careers quickly. Read on to find out what you need to know about how to become a paralegal and the requirements of the Alabama paralegal. The association offers two forms of certification. The first is to become a certified paralegal, which requires you to pass an exam that covers areas important to paralegal practice. The second type of certification is an Advanced Certified Paralegal (ACP). This is a curriculum-based certification and requires you to choose a specific educational path, such as a social security disability or family law. Certified paralegals have completed a training program that has awarded a certificate in paralegal studies. Certificate programs may offer admission to individuals without prior training or require candidates to have already obtained a bachelor`s degree in another field. CERTIFIED PARALEGAL EXAM REQUIREMENTS: The requirements to take the National Association of Legal Assistants Certified Paralegal Exam vary depending on your education and experience.
The U.S. Paralegal Studies Certificate consists of 945 hours. You can read more about the requirements for the Certified Paralegal exam here. Compared to the projected 12% employment growth for paralegals and paralegals across the country from 2018 to 2028, Alabama is expected to grow slightly 13.1% higher over the same period, according to Central Projections.2 This could translate into an average of 390 open positions in the state per year.2 Candidates with paralegal training, voluntary certification and work experience could be more competitive for new openings. and may require a higher salary. Estimates are based on national data and not school-specific information; Access to data in November 2021. Certification is not required by the State of Alabama. However, many law firms only hire certified paralegals. Once you have completed your degree in paralegal studies, you can obtain certification from the National Association of Legal Assistants.
Enterprise State Community College offers low-cost programs and has been ranked among the top 10% of community colleges nationwide. The short-term 28-credit paralegal/legal assistant certificate provides students with the basic legal knowledge and skills needed to support law firm professionals. AALS has chapters throughout the state. Its members are open to all those working in the legal community, including court assistants, paralegals, text processors and legal librarians. Gadsden State Community College`s (GSCC) Associate in Applied Science Paralegal program provides both legal context and practical career preparation, with an emphasis on strong written and oral communication skills and technical expertise. Students practice writing legal documents, learn how to conduct research with programs such as Westlaw, and gain experience through an internship. Special courses are taught by experienced lawyers. There are many careers that look like paralegals, except lawyers. Claims adjusters, paralegals and legal secretaries all perform some of the same functions as a paralegal. Alabama Employment Figures As the paralegal profession has grown and paralegals have been better used in the legal field, standards for entry-level applicants have increased.
On-the-job training is still available, but positions are often awarded to candidates with degrees or certificates in paralegal studies or internship experience in a law firm. Aspiring paralegals may choose to make themselves more competitive in the job market by pursuing a certificate of studies program, an associate`s degree in paralegal studies, or a bachelor`s degree in paralegal studies, especially if these programs also prepare them for national certification. According to the U.S. Department of Labor`s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the 2950 paralegals and paralegals working in Alabama had an average annual average of $44,770 in May 2012. Those who worked in Huntsville earned much more than the state average wage, an average of $58,460. Paralegals who worked in Mobile also earned $47,320 in higher annual wages than those who worked in the rest of the state. Becoming a paralegal in Alabama requires specialized training, skills, and experience. If you want to learn how to become a paralegal in Alabama, read on. Employers often exchange the words “certified” and “certified” when specifying their requirements for a paralegal candidate. It is important that candidates understand the distinction and clarify with the potential employer the level of training they really want. Although it is not mandatory in the state, paralegals can apply for voluntary certification by a national association. This extra step can help you strengthen your application and inform you about new job offers.
For more information about certification, see below.