Paralegal/Legal Assistant Schools in Miami, FL
Becoming an attorney is a long, expensive, and often academically exhausting process that many people do not want to go through. There are other career options that can offer a challenging, satisfying career in the legal field that are less time and resource intensive, with the most common being taking on the role of a paralegal, an option an increasing number of those interested in a career in law living in Miami are choosing to take.
Featured Schools with Paralegal Programs in Florida
What is a Paralegal/Legal Assistant?
A paralegal - also known as a legal assistant - works as a skilled part of a legal team, under the supervision of an attorney, in almost every branch of legal practice. From high powered corporate law firms to small solo practices, government law offices and more paralegals undertake a wide variety of tasks - many of them related to legal research needed for cases to proceed - in support of their managing attorney.
Paralegal/Legal Assistant Salary in Miami
Miami is a large, vibrant city that is home to a growing number of attorneys and legal practices. In fact, according to statistics from the Florida Bar Association, there is one attorney in Miami for every 299 residents, with Miami boasting a population of more than 450,000. Paralegals in Miami are well paid. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that on average an experienced paralegal/legal assistant earned $56,560*, with the top earners commanding salaries of over $80,000 per year. Entry level paralegals averaged a yearly wage of around $33,000**, but that figure rises for those who hold an associate degree or higher. There is no formal legal registration or certification requirement to work as a paralegal in Miami, FL. However, as managing attorneys are responsible for all the actions of their legal assistants' education is prioritized by hiring managers. Graduating from a paralegal program in Miami usually impresses these hiring managers, and large law firms almost always set a minimum of an AAS in paralegal studies as an educational requirement for the paralegals they hire.
Paralegal Schools in Miami, FL
Miami Dade College
The acclaimed Miami Dade College offers a wide range of degree programs to local residents at an affordable cost. Their AAS in Paralegal Studies associate degree program is especially valued as it is the only associate degree level program offered in the county that is approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). The two-year program provides a comprehensive overview of all the skills required to work as an entry level paralegal in most law office types and places a specific focus on developing legal research skills. While they learn in the classroom, students simultaneously complete an externship with a local employer, allowing them to put their new skills into practice as they learn them. The campus-based program is completed by most students in two years. Although it may vary slightly according to a student's residency, the average cost for an in-county resident is $7,566.08. Out of county and out of state residents will be charged considerably more. To pay for school, most students make use of traditional Federal financial aid if they qualify, or a private student loan from a lender like Sallie Mae if they do not. To be admitted to the Miami Dade College AAS in Paralegal Studies program, students must be over the age of 18, hold a high school diploma or GED, meet minimum academic requirements as set by the school and prove US legal residency.
NSU Florida is a traditional four-year college, and as such offers a wide range of bachelor's degree programs, including a Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies. This ABA approved four-year degree is designed for those hoping to pursue a career as a paralegal with a large corporate law firm or who may consider law school themselves at a later date. The education provided by the program is intensive, and admission to it is competitive. In addition to being high school graduates students must pass a college admissions procedure that includes grade reviews and personal interviews. Those admitted gain a solid knowledge of every aspect of a paralegal's job and have the chance to intern with a local employer while they study. As is usual for a four-year college, tuition is charged on a per-credit basis. The per credit cost charged to a Miami-Dade resident was based on their personal circumstances, residency, and age. The school does provide a Net Price Calculator that can be used to estimate costs. Most students make use of financial aid to pay for school, or a private student loan via Sallie Mae or another similar lender.
City College Miami
City College Miami is a private college offering both associate and bachelor level degrees in a variety of subjects. For those interested in becoming a paralegal they offer a 2-year, campus based AAS in Paralegal Studies. The program, which is open to those over the age of 18 who hold a high school diploma or GED and can meet the college's educational standards, offers a campus-based education that includes both the general education requirements needed to complete any associate level degree and the specialist legal knowledge required of a paralegal. Tuition is charged on a per-credit basis, and the cost of credits depends on a student's personal circumstances and residency. The school advises speaking with their admissions department to get a sense of what this might be for each individual student. Most students meet that cost via traditional financial aid, or, for those who do not qualify, a loan from a private lender such as Sallie Mae.
Broward College is located in Fort Lauderdale, a 25-mile commute for Miami based students. As a traditional community college, it offers a wide range of programs to local students including an AAS degree in Paralegal Studies.
This is a 64-credit hour program that is usually completed on campus within two years. Students receive a comprehensive overview of the education needed to become an entry level paralegal in most legal settings as well as the chance to complete an externship with a prominent local employer. To be admitted to the program students most hold a high school diploma or GED, be over the age of 18 and meet the schools minimum academic and prerequisite education standards. Credits are charged at a rate determined by a student' residency and personal circumstances. Financial aid is available to those who qualify or those who are not may consider taking a private student loan to cover the cost of their education.
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* Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2019 Occupational Employment and Wages, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm
** O*NET OnLine, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/23-2011.00