Becoming a Paralegal in Indiana
In Indiana, becoming a paralegal or legal assistant is certainly an attractive career choice; but where to start? We've put together information pertaining to paralegal education, certification, registration and career outlook to help you achieve the goal of working as a paralegal in the state of Indiana.
Paralegal Schools in Indiana
Paralegal Salary Factsheet
Paralegals in Indiana have about the rate of the United States regarding hourly and annual income. The lowest paid in Indiana take home $14.21 which is a few cents lower than the United States rate. The same applies to the average wage although the difference is significant. A legal assistant in Indiana gets an average hourly pay of $22.13 which is lower compared to the United States rate of $24.49
Like the hourly rates, there is not much difference between the annual rate of the US and that of Indiana. Paralegals in Indiana get a yearly income of $49,090 compared to the general US rate of $50,940. As the pay goes higher, the difference becomes significant.
Unlike the differences in rates, Indiana shows significant growth in the employment of paralegals. In 2014, the state recorded a total of 3,790 active paralegals. In about ten years, Indiana projects an increase of 14 percent the last recording to a total of 4,530 paralegals by the end of 2024. The US projection rate on employment shows a 15 percent change by the end of 2016. The 10-year projection as far as paralegal employment is concerned looks to hit about 327,400 paralegals by the end of 2026. That is a massive growth from the 2016 recording of 285,600 in the entire US.
On the side of employment opportunities, Indiana looks to take the right path with just a 1 percent lower rate than that of the United States of 15 percent. This is considerably higher compared to other states, and although the pay is below the US cut, there is a chance for employment in the future.
How to Become a Paralegal in Indiana
- The first step is usually getting paralegal education in the state. One can opt for certificate programs, associates or bachelor’s degree. The program can be (but does not have to be) accredited by the American Bar Association or the American Association for Paralegal Education.
- The next step is getting paralegal experience in law firms, organizations or state agencies. Another optional stage is getting certification by sitting for the national examinations for certification. This is not mandatory but helps to scale up the paralegal career. The exams are provided by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations and the National Association of Legal Assistants.
- After passing the examinations, one obtains an RP or CRP title which means they have to renew the credentials every two years. The certification process is optional but is essential in the paralegal career. At this stage, you can now find paralegal jobs and join a recognized association for networking with fellow paralegals. One can start searching for employment in organizations and government agencies before considering specific law firms for work.
Paralegal Programs in Indiana
Paralegal Certificate Programs
Paralegal Associate Degree Programs
Paralegal Bachelor Degree Programs
Indiana Requirements for Paralegals
The process of becoming a registered paralegal in Indiana is quite demanding compared to other states. Here are the requirements one needs to pass to go through the process. The applicant needs to be currently employed as a paralegal. That is, one should be employed by a lawyer, a government agency, law office and working under the supervision of a certified attorney. Also, one should be an Indiana State Bar Association member for three consecutive years. For the applicant to go through the process successfully, one needs to have one of the following educational achievements:
- Bachelor’s degree with 12 minimum hours of undergraduate credit in law. That is from an accredited paralegal program.
- A bachelor’s degree and a paralegal certificate form a recognized paralegal program.
- A bachelor's degree and at least two years of paralegal experience.
- An associate's degree from an accredited program plus two years of paralegal experience.
- Certification in paralegal studies and at least 2 years paralegal experience.
A paralegal can freely work in Indiana without certification. But, earning the national accreditation is a great way to land better jobs and higher paralegal pay in the legal assistant job market. The certification process requires one of the following achievements.
- The Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam which is offered by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations.
- The Paralegal Core Competency Exam which is provided by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations.
- The Certified Legal Assistant or the Certified Paralegal which is offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants.
- The PP which is offered by the Association of Legal Professionals (NALS).
After becoming a PCCE or PACE paralegal, one needs to maintain good standing with the National Federations of Paralegal Associations. Also, one should review the credential at least 60 days before the expiry date. Other requirements include at least 12 hours of CLE for RPS and 8 hours for CLE for CRPs. Both titles should consist of one-hour ethics every two years. The renewal fees depend on the credentials one holds. If you are an RP, you are expected to pay $50 for members and $75 for non-members. A CRP, on the other hand, is expected to send a renewal fee of $35 for members and $50 for non-members. If you pass the renewal deadline, you will need a Renewal Extension Request Form.
The extensions allow 60 extra days from the deadline date but do not alter the deadlines for future renewals. The renewal date falls on the date you passed the credential exams every two years. Renewal requests attract a $50 charge, and you should include an explanation if you need more than 60 days for the renewal process.
Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in Indiana
- Quarles & Brady, Indianapolis (Web: https://www.quarles.com/office-locations/indianapolis-office/)
- Kightlinger & Gray, Indianapolis (Web: https://k-glaw.com/)
- Baker & Daniels, Indianapolis (Web: https://www.faegrebd.com/)
- Ice Miller (Web: https://www.icemiller.com/)
- Barnes & Thornburg (Web: http://www.btlaw.com/Indianapolis-United-States-of-America/)
Bingham Greenebaum Doll (Web: https://www.bgdlegal.com/)
Indiana Paralegal Professional Organization
The association aims to provide a platform for the members to interact, discuss issues affecting the legal field and form networks within themselves. It encourages paralegals and other legal professionals to adopt a high level of professionalism while keeping the ethics in service delivery. The association has offices in Indianapolis and is open for new members.
The association serves paralegals around the Fort Wayne area and other nearby counties. It is an affiliate member of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations. The association works together with IPA and the Michiana Paralegal Association for service delivery across Indiana. It is a base for paralegals to create networks, share experiences and scale up the career by interactions among themselves.
The association aims to bring together dedicated professionals in the legal field as part of the missions. It acts as a platform to promote paralegal profession and continuous education to scale up career levels among its members. More to this, the association serves as a channel to pass across latest developments and regulations affecting paralegals in Indiana.
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, Indiana, CareerOneStop.org
3. Colleges: AAfPE https://www.aafpe.org/