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Becoming a Paralegal in Ohio

Becoming a Paralegal in Ohio

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The state of Ohio employs more than 9,150 paralegals or legal assistants. While a high percentage of Ohio paralegals have earned associate degrees many people starting in this career usually have a certificate in paralegal studies. Additional information on becoming a paralegal in Ohio can be found below.

Paralegal Schools in Ohio

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Paralegal Salary Factsheet

The pay per hour for paralegals in Ohio varies just like other states. The rates are however lower than the general rate estimated for the United States. On an hourly wage, a paralegal in Ohio scoops about $21.79. 

On average, a paralegal gets an annual income of $49,200 in Ohio compared to a national average of $50,940 across the US.

Projected Employment

Like other states, Ohio shows significant growth in the employment of paralegals. However, it is way lower than the projected job for the United States. In 2014, the states recorded a total of 7,300 paralegals. It is estimated to grow to about 7,910 by the end of 2024. That marks an 8 percent change in the employment status of paralegals in Ohio. On this other side, United States recorded a total of 285,600 paralegals in 2016. With a 15 percent change, the number is projected to grow to 327,400 by the end of 2026. The growth is quite significant compared to Ohio within the ten years duration.

Annually, Ohio stands at 220 annual projected job openings for paralegals. It is more than other states but matches the slow growth in the ten years projection. This is just a portion of the annual projected job openings in the United States which fall at 34,700.

How to Become a Paralegal in Ohio

The stages of becoming a paralegal in Ohio are similar to most other states. First, one has to go through the different paralegal programs. There is still an option of on-job training for legal assisting coupled together with work experience for certification. The essential part is to ensure the program is accredited by the American Bar Association.

The next step is finding relevant work experience to allow certification. One can start working immediately after completion of the program without the need for certification. However, going through the certification process exposes one to better paralegal jobs and networks. To be certified, an applicant has to sit for the national certification exams.

The other stage is joining a paralegal association which is optional. Associations provide paralegals with information, education, and networks for enhancement of the career. There are a number of these in Ohio that are open for new members.

Paralegal Programs in Ohio

Paralegal Certificate Programs ABA Approved

Paralegal Associate Degree Progams ABA Approved

Paralegal Bachelor Degree Programs ABA Approved

Ohio Requirements for Paralegals

Registration

Ohio does not require a minimum education status to work as a paralegal. Therefore, those aspiring to work in the state can go for the on-job training by studying a paralegal program. The registration process, however, checks on the levels of education to offer certification as a paralegal.

  • A bachelor's degree with at least 20 additional semester hours of paralegal coursework. Also, one year of paralegal experience equivalent to 2,000 hours.
  • A bachelor's degree in paralegal studies, 124 semester hours of paralegal coursework and a minimum of 1-year paralegal experience.
  • An associate degree in paralegal studies, 60 semester hours and at least five years of work experience, equivalent to 10,000 hours.
  • A high school diploma and seven years' experience practicing as a paralegal.

Certification

Like other states, there are mandatory exams that one should sit for to qualify for the certification process. The Ohio State Bar Association offers a voluntary certification program for paralegals. However, the applicant has to have met the above educational requirements to qualify for certification.

Additionally, one has to have completed at least 12 credit hours of continuing legal education (CLE) in courses approved by the various regulatory bodies. They include:

  • The Ohio Supreme Court Commission
  • The Ohio State Bar
  • The National Federation of Paralegal Associations
  • The National Association of Legal Assistants
  • The OSBA Paralegal Certification Board.

Additional requirements include the provision of at least three professional references. Two references should be licensed attorneys in good standing with the Supreme Court of Ohio. The other reference should be a judge, mediator, magistrate, hearing officer or an educator. After sitting for the exam and hitting the mark, one carries the title; OSBA Certified Paralegal.

Renewal

Certification in Ohio lasts two years after which all members have to show that they have completed the 12 CLE hours. Membership fees apply during this period after the CLE confirmation.

Law Firms for Graduate Paralegals in Ohio

  • The Zimmer Law Firm
  • JPMorgan Chase
  • Ice Miller
  • Mancini Law Group
  • The Becker Law Firm
  • The Koffel Law Firm
  • Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease
  • Squire, Sanders and Dempsey
  • Frost Brown Todd
  • Thompson Hine

Ohio Paralegal Professional Organizations

Paralegal Association of Northwest Ohio

The association aims to encourage continuing educations for its members together with enhancing and ensuring professional ethics in the paralegal field. It also provides mentoring, leadership and networking opportunities for paralegals in the Northwest area of Ohio.

Paralegal Associations of Central Ohio

This association seeks to promote the interests of paralegals by enhancing the service delivery paths for clients’ satisfaction. It has embers from Central Ohio and surrounding areas.

Cleveland Association of Paralegals, Inc

With a network of more than 160 members, this association works closely with corporations, law firms, educational institutions and local bar association to promote the paralegal profession. It is affiliated with the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations.

Cincinnati Paralegal Association

The association is committed to the enhancement and development of individual paralegals and the profession. It also aims to establish a support system for the paralegals for the advancement of careers and professionalism. The association is open for new paralegal members that wish to promote the profession.

Ohio State Bar Association

Since 1880, the Ohio State Bar Association has been a platform for law practitioners. It is open for law students, paralegal students, qualified paralegals and other legal professionals. The association aims to encourage members through continuing education, information on regulations and advancement of careers.

References:

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, New Jersey, CareerOneStop.org
3. Colleges: AAfPE https://www.aafpe.org/page/FindingProgram

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