Becoming a Paralegal in Georgia
Whether you are a working paralegal or a student seeking to become a paralegal in Georgia this resource page contains key information pertaining to paralegal schools, statistical employment and salary data and job links in the state of Georgia.
Featured Paralegal Programs in Georgia
Paralegal Salaries in Georgia
Paralegals or Legal Assistants in Georgia are somewhat closer to the overall United State regarding how much they earn. The highest paid scoops about $79,6501 compared to the general United States rate of about $82,050. The difference is minimal compared to other states meaning Georgia is up to the standards.
An average paralegal working in Georgia takes home about $54,130 annually, which is surprisingly higher than the average United States rate of about $50,940. The lowest scoops about $33,600 per year which is also higher than the United States rate of about $31,400. The difference on this is significant and shows the improved employment in Georgia.
The hourly rates differ equally, and the difference is more like the annual one. An average paralegal gets an hourly pay of about $24.60 which is 11 cents higher than the average United States hourly rate for paralegals. On the higher side, a paralegal scoops about $38.29 which is $1.16 lower than the highest United States rate of $39.45. Georgia is overall compensating well above what the average paralegal earns across the United States.
Job Outlook for Paralegals in Georgia
Georgia seems to be on the right track as far as the employment of paralegals is concerned. In 2016, there were about 8,290 employed paralegals 2 in the state. In the large United States, employed paralegals totaled to about 285,600 in 2016. The employment projection for Georgia is on the higher end compared to the current rate of United States generally.
Ten years to comes, Georgia projects to have about 9,840 employed paralegals with a change of 19 percent. For the United States, the projection expects a 15 percent change to about 327,400 paralegals for all the states. Georgia has estimated annual openings of 1,060 paralegals each year translating to the growth. On the other hand, United States generally has estimated job openings of 34,700 posts in the paralegal departments.
How to Become a Paralegal in Georgia
Georgia does not pay much attention to the level of education and other requirements to practice as a paralegal. However, one has to be under the supervision of a licensed attorney operating within the state. But, for you to become a registered paralegal, you have to attain the minimum education level and certification to hold the title.
Other requirements include the age, citizenship and clear criminal background. You also need to have completed the education level and sat for an association's exam. This is not mandatory in Georgia, and people can take on paralegal tasks within the state under supervision.
Top Paralegal Schools in Georgia
Paralegal Certificate Programs
Georgia Piedmont Technical College | Covington | Certificate Paralegal Program | ABA- approved | 2 years.
Central Georgia Technical College | Macon | Advanced Legal Assistant | 27 credit hours.
Clayton State University | Morrow | Certificate Paralegal Studies | ABA-approved
Kennesaw State University | Kennesaw | Paralegal Certificate Program | 36 months
Gainesville State College | Paralegal Studies Certificate | ABA-approved | 30 hours
Darton College | Albany | Legal Assistants Program Certificate | online
Paralegal Associate Degree Programs
Athens Technical College | Athens | Paralegal Studies program | 72 credit hours
Atlanta Technical College | Atlanta | Paralegal Studies Program | 2 years
Georgia Piedmont Technical College | Covington | Paralegal Studies Program | ABA-approved | 2 years
University Of North Georgia | Oakwood | Paralegal Studies Program | 2 years
Columbus Technical College | Columbus | Paralegal Studies Program | 69 credit hours
Clayton State University | Morrow | Paralegal Studies Program | ABA-approved
Savannah Technical College | Savannah | Paralegal Studies Program | 69 credit hours
Paralegal Bachelor Degree Programs
South College | Atlanta | Paralegal Legal Studies | 4 years.
Herzing University | Atlanta | Legal Studies Program | 4 years.
Clayton State University | Morrow | Legal Studies Program | 4 years.
University Of North Georgia | Oakwood | Paralegal Studies
Registration, Certification and Renewals in Georgia
First, certification is not mandatory to become an active paralegal in Georgia. However, there are essential requirements that one must meet to qualify for registration. The applicant must be over 18 years before venturing into the paralegal field. Also, one has to be a legal US citizen or an alien residing in Georgia.
It is important to note that Georgia does not license paralegals, but the educational background is crucial during the registration process. One has to have attained a 2 or 4-year degree program approved by the American Bar Association. Certificate holders also get through the registration, but it is highly recommended to have gone through a paralegal degree program.
In some instances, a law firm may request the candidates to allow a criminal background check before taking the other steps. Also, professional ethics are majorly upheld, and applicants have to show an understanding of the same.
Georgia, among other states, does not require mandatory certification or extensive education to work as a paralegal. As long as one is under the supervision of a licensed attorney, paralegals can perform any tasks passed down to them. However, it is essential to get a certification which helps to improve the career path and professionalism.
That means taking an exam to get certifications from bodies such as the National Association of Legal Assistants. Another way of getting the certification from the association is by following a specific curriculum to attain the requirements. Also, the National Federation of Paralegal Association has two sets of recommended exams which one can take to get the certification.
One is known as the Paralegal Core Competency Exam which is suitable for entry-level paralegals that have not had any experience in the past. After passing the examination, one attains the title Core Registered Paralegal. The other exam is known as the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam and is designed for paralegals that have been working for while without certification. After passing the exam, one attains the title a Registered Paralegal.
The Georgia Association of Paralegals accepts the active paralegals, those seeking employment and students involved with the paralegal field. An annual fee applies depending on the membership status of the paralegal. For a regular membership, paralegals that are currently practicing are expected to pay a cost of $125.
The associate status requires those seeking employment to pay an annual fee of $125 as a renewal fee of certification. Students involved in paralegal work and wish to maintain the membership need to pay a minimum of $60 annually with proof of the student status provided.
The membership expires of the exact month a paralegal joins the association. Therefore, if a one joins in May, then they are expected to pay the fee before end May to retain their membership status. Also, one should pay within 30 days of the renew deadline. Those that fail to pay within the timeframe are snatched off the membership and can no longer enjoy the benefits.
Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in Georgia
Ford and Harrison
The Firm has close to 200 lawyers in 28 offices across the county and offers services to clients all around. The firm operates with integrity and client satisfaction in mind. It covers issues in labor relations, employee benefits, business immigration and employment litigation. Visit them at fordharrison.com
Fisher and Phillips
The firm has its central office in Atlanta, Georgia but operates across the country. The significant issues of concern covered by the lawyers include employment litigation, compensation, workers harassment, etc. Visit them at fisherphillips.com.
The firm was founded in 1897 and has over 650 attorneys operating around the United States. The firm deals with both large multi-national corporates and individuals in almost all sectors. It has a broad range of service which makes it one of the most recognized around Georgia and the broader United States. Visit them at troutman.com.
King and Spalding
This firm is one of the few that covers a broad scope in various sectors. The attorneys are qualified to handle corporate investments, global disputes, the medical industry, energy sector, etc. Visit them at kslaw.com.
Smith, Gambrell and Russell
The lawyers at Smith, Gambrell, and Russell take a keen interest in providing exceptional value in the services they offer to clients. They currently operate across the United States and have offices in Atlanta, Georgia. The firm covers a broad scope of issues including individual and corporate matters. Visit them at sgrlaw.com.
Georgia Paralegal Professional Organizations
The association seeks to mentor paralegals across Georgia by advancing the profession and expertise of the members. That is through networking, enhancing education opportunities and creating strong relationships with partners. The association guides active paralegals and those that wish to join by setting the standards in professionalism and ethics.
A few years in existence, the association aims to assist members in enhancing professional and personal routes to success. It is an affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants which is the main backbone of paralegals across the United States. Membership is open to active paralegals, assistants, students, bar associations, etc.
The association was established in 1948 with the aim of providing educational, social and professional influence to legal assistants. It also seeks to improve the experiences by enhancing education around the legal community. The association is keen on ethics and encourages every member to uphold the same.
The association seeks to bring closer active paralegals working in the South Eastern region of Georgia. It upholds the professional ethics and enhances the relations between members. Also, the association briefs the members of changes in the regulations of paralegal practice.
Georgia Paralegal Schools
Here are all the guides on Georgia 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, Georgia, CareerOneStop.org
3. Colleges: AAfPE https://www.aafpe.org/