Paralegal Schools in El Paso, TX
A paralegal, also known as a legal executive, is a legal professional who performs a growing number of legal tasks under the direct supervision of a managing attorney. Large corporate law firms, smaller boutique firms, various branches of the government, civil rights issues with non-profits, and more all increasingly employ paralegals and that is certainly true in El Paso, TX, where immigration law is also a large source of paralegal employment.
While becoming a paralegal in Texas has no formal legal requirements most law firms do give preference to those with at least some formal paralegal education. This education does not take the form of the seven to nine years becoming a paralegal does, and via paralegal schools in El Paso, TX can be completed in two years or less.
Before taking the time - and making the financial investment - in obtaining formal paralegal education it only makes sense to try and determine what the ROI will be on such an investment. Paralegals in the United States are typically well compensated on a national level. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national average salary for a paralegal in 2020 was $56,610 per year, or $27.22 per hour.
By comparison, for the same time period the average salary for a paralegal working in El Paso, TX was $49,490 per annum, or $20.79 per hour. Salaries do vary according to education level, employer and experience and in El Paso while the lowest entry level positions pay around $19,950 that figure can rise as high as $75,500 per annum or more.
Growth for the paralegal profession is increasing across the board in the US, and Texas is included in that, with a projected growth in paralegal employment projected at 12-15% over the next few years.
Law firms are seeking ways to reduce operational costs without diminishing the quality of the legal representation they offer to clients. One way to do that effectively is hiring experienced and educated paralegals to perform some of the tasks that, in the past, have been assigned to junior attorneys.
Paralegal Schools in El Paso, Tx
El Paso Community College
El Paso Community College offers two programs to those interested in becoming a paralegal. For those who will be taking a first degree they offer a 2-year Associates in Science in Paralegal Studies, and for those who already hold the minimum of a Bachelor's Degree (in any subject) a one-year certificate program.Both programs are competitive in terms of admission, and past academic performance is heavily weighted. Both of the programs are also American Bar Association approved and they provide a comprehensive overview of the role of a paralegal - and their ethical and legal responsibilities in the State of Texas in a campus classroom based setting on a full time basis. Tuition is charged on a per credit, sliding scale basis, with the lowest rates charged to El Paso County residents. Financial aid is available to those who qualify, as well as a limited number of school scholarships.
Vista College offers a 2 year, full time, campus based Associates in Science in Paralegal Studies to El Paso residents (and others at a higher cost) interested in becoming a paralegal. The program provides a comprehensive overview of the profession and prepares students for an entry level profession in all fields of the law. Entry into the program is competitive, and in addition to academic past performance being taken into consideration applicants are required to sit in on a class to determine fit. For those who are admitted tuition is charged on a per-credit basis and according to residency and personal circumstances. Financial aid is available to those who qualify.
University of Texas at El Paso
For those interested in learning a great deal more about what a paralegal does, and what their job duties and responsibilities are the online, six-week course Paralegal Certificate offered by the University of Texas at El Paso may be an option worth considering. Geared towards students of all ages, the course provides an overview of all this, and may even qualify a graduate for an entry level position with a small law concern. The cost of the course is set at $1595 and while traditional student loans cannot be used to fund this program, flexible financing is offered by Affirm after a $500 deposit is made. Qualifications are minimal, although a high school diploma or GED is the minimum preferred by almost all legal industry employers for any position.