State By State Requirements to Become a Lawyer

Paralegal Career Information in Virginia

The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the annual mean wage of Virginia paralegals as of May 2012 at $50,990. This is a high average salary in a state in which the paralegal profession is not regulated by the government. Education is not mandatory in Virginia in order to become a paralegal, although it is recommended. With the many opportunities for paralegals in Virginia and nearby Washington, D.C., this is a great time for you to discover how to become a paralegal in Virginia.
 

Step 1

Launch Your Paralegal Education in Virginia

Virginia does not require paralegals to obtain any education, by law. However, the Virginia Alliance of Paralegal Associations has set educational standards that they feel all paralegals working in the state must meet. Most Virginia employers of paralegals go by these standards. Paralegals in Virginia should complete one of the following educational options:

  • Graduate with a bachelor degree in any field plus one year of paralegal experience
  • Graduate with a bachelor degree in any field plus 24 credit hours of paralegal specialty courses
  • Graduate with an associate degree in paralegal studies with at least 60 credit hours, 24 of which are in paralegal specialty courses
  • Graduate with an associate degree in any subject with 24 credit hours of paralegal specialty courses
  • Graduate from an American Bar Association (ABA)-approved paralegal education program

Virginia Paralegal Online and Campus Schools

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Washington University School of Law - Online Master of Legal Studies (MLS) Degree
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In lieu of education, you can complete one of the following requirements, which will be discussed in detail later:

  • Have five or more years of paralegal work experience under attorney supervision (See Step 2)
  • Complete a national certification examination for paralegals and maintain that certification (see Step 3)

These paralegal programs in Virginia are approved by the ABA:

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Step 2

Attain Paralegal Work Experience in Virginia

One way to fulfill the standards of the Virginia Alliance of Paralegal Associations is to accrue five years of paralegal work experience. Some prospective paralegals reach out to legal aid agencies in Virginia to begin their work experience. These legal aid agencies would likely hire an aspiring paralegal in Virginia:

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Step 3

Get Certified as a Paralegal in Virginia

Another route to meeting the paralegal standards of the Virginia Alliance of Paralegal Associations is to become nationally certified. While this is not required of a paralegal in order to work in Virginia, the Alliance recognizes two national certification bodies:

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Step 4

Inquire About Paralegal Jobs in Virginia

Jobs for paralegals abound in Virginia, especially with its proximity to our nation’s capital. Law firms, corporations, government agencies and many other entities employ Virginia paralegals, including:

  • Cooperative Finance Corporation – Dulles
  • Banner & Witcoff, Ltd. – Washington, DC
  • Institute for Justice – Arlington
  • McDermott, Will & Emery – Washington, DC
  • Evolent Health - Arlington
  • Hogan  Lovells US, LLP- Washington, DC
  • Fairfax County Government – Fairfax
  • Attorney General – Roanoke
  • Ahmad & Associates – McLean
  • Capital One- Richmond
  • Department of Veterans Affairs – Salem
  • Department of Social Services – Lynchburg
  • Rosenberg & Associates – Vienna
  • One on One Accounting & Consulting – Woodbridge
  • Hirsch & Ehlenberger, PC - Reston

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Step 5

Whats Next for Paralegals in Virginia

Congratulations! You have worked hard to become a paralegal in Virginia! If you haven’t already, think about joining one of the following voluntary membership organizations for paralegals in Virginia. They can help you with advancement of your career, networking, and more:


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