Follow the step by step process on how to become a paralegal below:
Per information supplied by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Texas has the fourth highest employment level of paralegals and legal assistants of any state in the nation. In May 2012, there were 19,340 paralegals and legal assistants working in Texas, making an annual mean wage of $50,630. If you would like to learn how to become a paralegal in Texas, read on.
Education is not required in Texas to become a Paralegal. You might find it difficult to qualify for a job without the skills or work experience needed. Paralegal and legal study programs are a great way to fine tune your skills for this career.
Texas Paralegal Online and Campus Schools
Although education is not required of paralegals in order to legally work in Texas, the State Bar of Texas has outlined criteria that it feels attorneys should look for in prospective paralegals they are considering hiring. These include education, experience and certification. We will examine education first. The State Bar of Texas recommends that attorneys hire paralegals with one of the following educational qualifications:
ABA-approved paralegal programs in Texas include:
Another criterion that the State Bar of Texas says attorneys should look for in paralegals they hope to hire is experience, both with and without education. For example, in Step 1 above, candidates who hold a bachelor’s degree in any field need one year of paralegal work experience. In the absence of education beyond a high school diploma, it is recommended that attorneys hire paralegals who have completed at least four years of paralegal work under an attorney’s supervision. Where do you get this type of experience? Legal aid associations in Texas often hire students who need work experience. These organizations include:
Still another criterion that the State Bar of Texas tells attorneys to look for in prospective paralegals is certification, either at the national level or through the Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBS). National certification may be through either the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) or the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). The TBS offers annual certification examinations for paralegals who have completed at least 30 hours of continuing legal education (CLE) in a specific specialty area, and have five years of paralegal experience, three in the specialty area in which you seek certification. Areas in which TBS certification for paralegals is available include:
If you qualify, you must pass the appropriate Paralegal Exam for your chosen specialty. Once you pass the exam, you are Board Certified and given a Certificate of Special Competence within your specialty area of law.
Paralegal jobs are found within law offices, corporations, nonprofit agencies, government organizations and more across Texas. Recent examples of employers hiring paralegals in Texas include:
Congratulations on becoming a paralegal in Texas! If you are TBS certified, remember to complete the necessary CLE to maintain certification every five years. Also, consider joining a voluntary, optional membership organization for paralegals in Texas. It can help provide you with relevant CLE opportunities, as well as networking and other resources:
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