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How to Become a Paralegal in Massachusetts

How to Become a Paralegal in Massachusetts

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Paralegals play an integral part in the success of their law firms and can make a difference for their firms’ clients. Learn how to become a paralegal in Massachusetts and join the 7,330 employed paralegals/legal assistants already working in the state of MA.

Paralegal schools in Massachusetts

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Salary expectations

The salary rates in Massachusetts are way higher than most states and show a significant difference compared to the United States rate. The lowest paid paralegal in Massachusetts scoops about $14.71 which is a few cents lower than the estimates United States rate of $14.97. There is a little difference, but it doesn't seem to be the case with the other wages.

On average, a paralegal in Massachusetts gets an hourly pay of $27.24 which is higher than the general United States rate of $24.49. Now, when it comes to the highest salary, there is a significant difference, and it stands out from other states. The hourly rate of the highest paid paralegal in Massachusetts earns a total of $43.94 per hour of work. This is pretty high compared to the United States rate of $39.03. The annual income follows the same path with the difference becoming more significant along the payment levels. For instance, the lowest paid paralegal in Massachusetts gets a yearly income of $30,600 which is slightly smaller than the United States rate. On the other hand, the average pay on an annual basis takes a turn and exceeds the estimated rate for the United States.

The difference is significant also for the high pay on an annual basis. The highest paid paralegal in Massachusetts earns a total of $91,400 which is way higher than the estimated annual income for paralegals in the United States. The difference is more than 10,100 dollars annually, and that makes Massachusetts a hub for paralegal professionals.

Projected employment

As much as the state shows a considerable significance on the payment of paralegals, the employment does not reflect similar terms. It is one of the countries with the lowest stats on paralegal employment compared to the United States estimates. For example, in 2014, the state recorded a total of 6,910 paralegals. This is expected to grow to about 7,160 by the end of 2024. As seen here, the difference is way less than the estimated percent change in paralegal employment. The 4 percent change is not as significant, and the growth seems to be taking a slow pace. The gradual change is compared to the United States projection on paralegal employment. There is a difference not only in the general United States figures but also in comparison with other states.

The 15 percent change in paralegal employment around the United States is more than thrice that of Massachusetts. With this, it is expected that the state has few job openings for paralegals. On this note, Massachusetts shows a projection of 180 job openings each year which is a small portion of the 34,700 projection for the United States. Despite this, it still indicates quality employment with regards to the payment rates of paralegals.

How to become a paralegal in Massachusetts

There are no specific requirements for working as a paralegal in Massachusetts. However, the educational background plays a role in the position one takes in the paralegal field. On this note, one can opt for certificate or degree programs to gain the expertise in the profession. Another way can be the on-job training where one can learn and experience the rules of the job.

There is the need for certification although it is not mandatory to keep working in the State. Certification exams are offered by various organizations and have necessary paralegal requirements to qualify. Certification is essential for those that wish to scale up the ladder in the paralegal profession as is specialization.

ABA-Accredited paralegal programs in Massachusetts

Paralegal certificate programs

Associate degree programs

Bachelor degree programs

Massachusetts requirements for paralegals

Registration

Massachusetts happens to be one of the states that do not regulate the educational and training requirements for paralegals. Thus, the state allows those aspiring to join the field to get on-job training or pick up a paralegal program. On this note, it is not mandatory to accomplish specific educational requirements to work as a paralegal in Massachusetts.

However, the state rule makes it clear that anyone that wishes to work as a paralegal has to be under a licensed attorney. That means, therefore that the attorney has to take full responsibility for the paralegal's work and conduct. When choosing programs, aspiring individuals have to ensure that the program is accredited by the American Bar Association.

There are many of these, and one can choose a certificate program, an associate degree or a bachelor's degree. Each has a specific time frame for completion depending on the schools. The programs are necessary for those that wish to get national certification for paralegals.

Certification

The certification process is like other states in the US. Although Massachusetts does not regulate the training and educational requirements, some paralegals wish to acquire the national certification. The certification laces a paralegal on a higher standing concerning the employment levels and earnings. It is also a great way to distinguish themselves from other paralegals.

The certification requires individuals to meets educational qualifications or experience in the paralegal field. Some cases consider a combination of the two for accreditation. Four examinations are available for certification of paralegals in Massachusetts. However, the requirements differ from one organization to the other.

  • The PACE which is provided by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations
  • PCC which also comes from the National Federation of Paralegal Associations
  • CLA/CP which is offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants
  • PP which is provided by the Association of Legal Professionals

Renewal

The Massachusetts Bar Association requires paralegals to submit annual fees for membership. The rates are different depending on the profession a member holds. For paralegals, the rate is $160, and the expiry date falls on the day of application for membership.

Top law firms for graduate paralegals in MA

Massachusetts Paralegal Professional Organizations

This association is one of the largest and oldest serving paralegals across the state since 1975. It is committed to the development and advancement of the paralegal profession. It has members from Greater Boston, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine. The association is also a platform for communication among members and a channel of passing information that concerns paralegals in Massachusetts.

This association is affiliated to the National Federation of Paralegal Associations. It is a platform for communication among its members. It seeks to promote the educational and professional standards of paralegals across Massachusetts. Also, it aims to strengthen the relationship among paralegals and other legal professionals.

The association not only serves paralegals in the state but also other legal professionals. It creates a platform for its members to network while advancing and developing in their careers. It communicates changing regulations concerning the legal profession and encourages on maintaining the legal ethics for service delivery.

Western Massachusetts Paralegal Association

The association was formed to promote the paralegal profession while encouraging continuing education for paralegals in the Western area of Massachusetts. It is a platform for creating and enhancing paralegal networks among themselves and other legal professionals.

References

1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates,
Pennsylvania: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ma.htm
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 Occupational Employment and Wages, Paralegals and Legal Assistants:https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm
3. Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development: https://www.mass.gov/massachusetts-occupational-and-industry-projections

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