Paralegal/Legal Assistant Schools in Dallas, TX
It is a notoriously lengthy and expensive process to become a lawyer through law school, not to mention academically competitive. For those Dallas, Texas residents interested in working in the legal profession without going through too much expensive training, there is an alternative. To become a paralegal by attending one of the excellent paralegal schools in Dallas that are available to them.
Featured paralegal programs in Texas
What does a paralegal do?
A paralegal is a trained legal professional who assists lawyers on a daily basis in all kinds of area of law practice and participates in both office work and case planning, as well as doing comprehensive legal research. It is a fascinating, if also complex, career that those who have chosen it find both rewarding and lucrative.
How much do paralegals make in Dallas, Texas?
How lucrative is working as a legal assistant? For those working as paralegals in Dallas, the average salary in 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics was $57,260 per annum. That figure was the average, however. While an entry level paralegal may only be able to command around $32,000 which is still a good wage, the most experienced paralegals in Dallas, Texas earn $80,000 per year or more.
According to BLS 2019 data wage, here's the top 5 highest-paying metro areas in Texas with Dallas, being the best paid city for working paralegals.
1. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX - $57,260
2. Longview, Texas - $52,500
3. San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX - $52,140
4. Austin-Round Rock, TX - $51,560
5. Amarillo, TX - $51,560
Are paralegals in high demand in Texas?
The outlook for employment for Dallas based paralegals is good too, especially for those with the appropriate paralegal education. Legal assistants - as paralegals are also sometimes referred to as - are in demand in settings as diverse as white shoe corporate law firms, government law offices, smaller private practices and even as part of a non-profit corporation's staff.
How to become a paralegal in Texas?
As is the case in many US states, there is no formal licensing requirement for paralegals in the State of Texas. Any paralegal is the responsibility of their supervising or managing attorney, who must accept the blame for any wrongdoing on the part of their paralegal staff. A paralegal cannot practice law as they are not an attorney, but they can be involved in almost every aspect of case preparation and day to day law office workings.
Because they are responsible for their actions, almost anyone employing a paralegal requires some type of formal training, most commonly in the form of an associate degree in Paralegal Studies or similar for a large law firm. Alternately, students can choose to earn a Certificate in Paralegal Studies that will be acceptable to many employers as well.
Paralegal Schools in Dallas, TX
Peloton College offers its student career focused, intensive education that prepares them for a wide variety of occupations. With campuses located in Arlington, TX or in downtown Dallas itself the school serves both new high school graduates and adult learners making a career switch.
For those interested in becoming a paralegal the school offers a comprehensive Paralegal Studies Program that results in a Certificate in Paralegal Studies upon graduation. It is a full time, primarily campus-based program that takes 36 weeks (about 8 and a half months) to complete on a full-time day basis or approximately 42 weeks (about 9 and a half months) at night.
The program covers the basics needed to work as a paralegal in a general law office setting, as well as crucial legal and ethics education and legal research training that all good paralegals need. Graduates can offer employers a rounded set of skills that will qualify them for a wide range of entry level paralegal positions.
The cost of the program varies according to a student's personal situation and income. The school offers a net price estimator on their website, but on average the cost will be between $13,000 and $17,000. This may be met by traditional financial aid for those who qualify, and those who do not may consider a private student loan from a lender like Sallie Mae.
To enroll in the Peloton College Paralegal Studies Program, students must be over the age of 18, have never been convicted of a felony, which they will be required to prove by providing a background check report and hold a high school diploma or GED.
Collin County Community College
Collin County Community College serves county residents and others with an affordable education at a reasonable cost. For those interested in becoming a paralegal the school offers two options. A certificate program is offered to degree holding students or, for those just beginning their education a two-year AAS in Paralegal Studies is available.
Both courses offer an in depth look at the paralegal professional and provide students with a solid foundation in general law and legal ethics. Additionally, the legal research skills that are so central to a paralegal's work are covered in depth as well.
The Collin County Community College paralegal programs are approved by the American Bar Association (ABA), a high honor that helps assure students they will be getting a superior level of legal education.
The AAS program is a campus-based program that runs for two school years and includes required general education components. The certificate program is a 36-hour offering which is completed by most students in 9 months of full-time study. Both programs are campus based.
While Dallas is not in Collin County, it is in the adjacent Dallas County, tuition is still charged at a lower rate than for out of state students. The cost of both paralegal programs is charged on a per-credit basis, with the AAS totaling 60 credits and the certificate 36. The per credit cost paid is individual to each student depending on their personal situation and residency. Traditional federal financial aid is available to those who qualify.
To be admitted students must minimal educational standards, hold a GED or high school diploma and be over the age of 18. Only students that already hold an associate or bachelor's degree can be admitted to the Paralegal certificate program.
Arlington Career Institute
A vocational school geared towards working adults, this school offers a Paralegal/ Legal Assistant program that awards a Certificate in Paralegal studies upon graduation. The 10-month program is available as a campus-based offering or completely online, with the completion timelines being similar for both.
While not as in depth as an associate degree program, this course provides students with the knowledge and skills required to obtain an entry level paralegal position with employers like smaller specialized law firms, non-profits, and some local court systems. In addition, students must complete an externship with a local employer to graduate, even if they are taking the rest of the course online.
To be admitted to the program students must be over the age of 18, hold a high school diploma or GED and be able to prove legal US residency. The costs are charged at a standard rate which is $14,355.00 including all books and other supplies. If they qualify students may use traditional federal financial aid to pay for their schooling or seek a private student loan from a lender like Sallie Mae.
Dallas College admits students from Dallas County, TX who want to earn a vocational certificate or degree at a very affordable cost. County residents interested in becoming a paralegal can opt to take the four semester AAS in Paralegal Studies program offered by the school.
To be admitted to the program in addition to being at least 18 years of age and holding a high school diploma or GED students must meet The Texas Success Initiative (TSI) Program standards. This is required to ensure students can demonstrate the academic skills needed to perform effectively in college-level coursework.
The program itself covers all aspects of the duties and responsibilities of an entry level paralegal with a special focus on developing legal research skills. All course work is campus based and Dallas County residents are charged a flat $4,740 tuition fee for the four-semester program. Other students can apply to enroll, but their costs will be significantly higher.
National American Universities
National American Universities is an online only school (based in Mesquite, TX) that offers students the chance to complete a number of programs of study at home. They offer both ABA approved Associate's and bachelor's Degrees in Paralegal Studies that can be completed in two and four years, respectively.
Both programs offer a comprehensive education in all aspects of a paralegal's day-to-day responsibilities as well as in legal ethics and research. Graduates of the AAS program can complete their BA in 18 months after graduation by applying credits already earned. Many students choose to begin working in the field and complete their BA on a part time basis, something that online learning makes easier to accommodate.
The per credit cost varies from $314 per credit hour to $276 per credit hour. The AAS program is a 90.5 credit hour offering, while the BA can be completed with 180 credit hours of study. Traditional financial aid is available to those who qualify.