Becoming a Paralegal Florida
The process of becoming a paralegal in Florida along with registered paralegal programs is laid out below with supplementary information on the certification, registration and licensure requirements pertaining to the state of Florida.
Paralegal Schools in Florida
Paralegal Salary Factsheet
Paralegals in Florida fall under different classes with regards to the salary. The lowest hourly wage for a paralegal in Florida is about $14.761 which is slightly higher than the United States lowest at $15.10. The difference is slight but makes more sense for highly paid paralegals.
The average paralegal working in Florida scoops an hourly wage of $22.46 which is a few bucks lower than the average salary of $24.49 for the overall United States paralegal. For the highest paid though, a paralegal working in Florida gets an hourly pay of $35.18 which is a few dollars lower than the $39.45 overall United States wage.
Annual income varies with the number of hours worked, but on average, the highest paid paralegal scoops about $73,180 annually which is lower than the general expected pay of $82,050 annually in the United States. The lowest gets about $30,690 annually with the general United States paralegal lowest income totaling to $31,400 per year.
In 2016, statistics show that there were about 24,960 employed paralegals in Florida. In 10 years from then, the paralegal positions were projected to grow with an addition of about 3,250 posts. This takes about 21 percent growth to a total of 30,090 in 2026 2 . In general, the projection employment in the United States hits a 15 percent change. That is from the total 285,600 in 2016 to 327,400 in 2026.
In 2014, statistics show that there were about 22,150 employed paralegals in Florida. In 10 years from then, the paralegal positions were projected to grow with an addition of about 4010 posts. This takes about 18 percent growth to a total of 26,160 in 2024. In general, the projection employment in the United States hits a 15 percent change. That is from the total 285,600 in 2016 to 327,400 in 2026.
The data shows that Florida seems to be on the right path following the scale while comparing to the total growth in the United States. On this note, annual job openings in Florida lie at an average of 3,250 with the overall United States totaling to 34,700. That is pretty impressive for Florida which seems to have real opportunities for upcoming paralegals.
How to Become a Paralegal in Florida
For you to qualify as a registered paralegal in Florida, you must attain the educational requirements, work experience, and certification. The conditions are similar to those stated in the registration section where the years of experience and the educational levels vary. Following the steps as indicated in registration and certification, you can finally work as a paralegal in Florida.
Additional requirements applied such as the age. You must be an adult as stated in the law. In addition to the certification, one has to show proof of citizenship and therefore has to be a legal resident of the United States. Also, an applicant has to sit for the exams and pass according to the set standards before certification.
Paralegal Programs in Florida
Paralegal Certificate Programs
Sheridan Technical College | Hollywood | Legal Administrative Specialist | 10 months full time
University of Miami | Miami | Paralegal certificate program | 4 months
Paralegal Associate Degree Programs
Broward College | Pembroke Pines | Legal Assisting Program | 4 years.
Eastern Florida State College | Melbourne | Paralegal Studies Program | 4 years.
Florida Southwestern State College | Fort Meyers | Paralegal Studies Program.
Florida State College | Jacksonville | Paralegal Studies Program | 2 years.
Miami Dade College | Miami | Paralegal Studies Program | 2 years.
Seminole State College of Florida | Sanford | Legal Assistant Paralegal Program | 2 years.
St. Petersburg College | Clearwater | Legal Studies Program |4 years.
Valencia College | Orlando | Paralegal Studies Program | 2 years.
City College of Central Florida | Casselberry and Gainesville | Legal Assisting Program | 64 credit hours.
Gulf Coast State College | Panama | Legal Assistant Program.
Hillsborough Community College | Ybor | Paralegal Assisting Program.
Pensacola State College | Pensacola | Paralegal Studies | 64 hours.
Paralegal Bachelor Degree Programs
Nova Southeastern University | Davie | Paralegal Studies Program | 4 years
St. Petersburg College | Clearwater | Paralegal Studies Program.
South University | West Palm Beach | Paralegal Studies Program.
Hodges University | Naples | Legal Studies
Paralegal Registration, Certification and Renewal in Florida
One can work as a paralegal in Florida without the need for registration. It is voluntary, and there is no specified deadline to register. However, applications should not be sent electronically. Once it is filled, one is expected to post it to the address included in the application fee along with $145 application fee.
Previously paralegals used grandfathering to register in Florida. This was scrapped off in March 2011. That means that the work experience does not solely guarantee the eligibility for registration. On this note, education levels in addition to the work experience are necessary to qualify for certification.
Those that apply using grandfathering will have their application rejected. Also, the application fee is not refundable. As much as grandfathering remains in the rule, it is not applicable during registration. The law also states that applications under grandfathering must get to the Florida Bar not later than three years from the exact chapter effectiveness date.
Educational and work experience to qualify for registration:
- A Bachelor's degree from a reputable paralegal program with a 1-year minimum experience as a paralegal.
- A Bachelor's degree or higher from a college certified by a nationally recognized accrediting agency which is approved by the Department of Education in the United States or the Florida Department of Education. A minimum of 3 years paralegal work experience.
- A Paralegal Associate Degree from a recognized paralegal program (ABA approved) plus a two years minimum experience in paralegal work.
- An associate degree from a college endorsed by an accrediting agency in the United States Department of Education or the Florida Department Of Education. 4-years work experience as a paralegal.
- A Juris
- Doctorate from an institution accredited by the American Bar Association and 1-year paralegal experience.
One becomes a Florida Registered Paralegal by obtaining the following certifications. One, the person has to have completed the mandatory exam known as the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam. The National Federation of Paralegal Association provides the examination. Therefore, an applicant has to have a good standing with the association for certification.
Another way one can get certified is by successful completion of the Certified Legal Assistant examination. The exam is also known as the Certified Paralegal Exam and is offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants. Equally, an applicant has to have a good standing with the association.
A certified paralegal has to maintain the status by paying an annual fee of $150. The payment is due every July 1st of each year and considered late after August 15th of the same year. If the payment is delayed, a $40 amount is applicable. If an applicant does not send the renewal fee and payment delay fee by October 1st, the FRP status is canceled. The annual renewal statements are sent towards the end of May or beginning of June.
Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in Florida
Leifer Law Firm
This is a personal injury firm and is situated in Boca Raton, Florida. It serves clients across the state. The firm covers areas such as vehicle accidents, premises liability, medical devices, dangerous drugs, product liability, etc. Read more at LeiferLaw.com
Morgan & Morgan
This law firm is located in Orlando, Florida and is a national personal injury firm. It covers medical malpractice, product liability, workers compensation, etc. Read more at ForThePeople.com
It is a personal injury firm located in Fort Lauderdale and works for clients around South Florida and Treasure Coast. It covers vehicle accidents, dog bites, pedestrian injuries, etc. Read more at WeinsteinInjuryLawyer.com
The firm is located in Maitland, Florida and covers employment and business issues. That is wage and hour matters, compensation, harassment at work, contracts, etc. Visit them at WilsonMcCoyLaw.com
The firm is an immigration law firm located in Jackson and serves client all around Florida. The firm covers spousal visas, marriages, work visas, green cards, family-based petitions, etc. Visit them at NeedImmigrationHelp.com
Florida Paralegal Professional Organizations
The association was previously known as Dade Association of Legal Assistants. It came into existence in 1979 after paralegals felt the need to form an association in that area. The aim was to have a body where they can address the problems facing paralegals as well as act as a forum for ideas and other information concerning paralegals.
The association later became an affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants. From then the association has been sending representatives to annual meetings held by NFPA to help in setting paralegal regulations.
This association is a member of the NFPA that is the National Federation of Paralegal Associations. It is also a member of the Florida Alliance of Paralegal Associations and also an affiliate of NALA. The association represents paralegals from Tampa Bay area. It covers issues on regulations, education, and ethics of paralegals around the city.
The association covers paralegals operating around Central Florida and aims to promote high standards of professionalism. Through the meetings held, paralegals can keep up with the changing requirements, updates on regulations and network with others in the same area.
The association was formed in 1981 with an aim to improve professionalism among paralegals and encourage further education among the members. It is an affiliate of NALA and has about 145 active members.
It was started in 1997 to enhance education, circulation of information and network among paralegals in the area. It also aims to strengthen professionalism, increase awareness and encourage participation among members. It runs under the ethical stipulation of the National Association of Legal Assistants.
Florida Paralegal Schools
Here are all the guides and Florida Paralegal Schools:
1. Salary Data: Paralegals and Legal Assistants, Bureau of Labor Statistics https://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/mobile/paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm
2. Employment Statistics: Paralegal and Legal Assistants, Florida, CareerOneStop.org
3. Colleges: AAfPE https://www.aafpe.org/page/FindingProgram