2023- Paralegal Schools in New Hampshire
Paralegal schools prepare students to work as paralegals or legal assistants. The main job responsibility is to help another lawyer. A paralegal cannot practice independently on their own. Becoming a paralegal can be an important step toward furthering your legal career by accumulating legal experience before starting your own practice or joining a law firm/institution.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 5 out of 1,000 jobs in New Hampshire fall into legal occupations, which include lawyers, administrative law judges, adjudicators, hearing officers, arbitrators, mediators, conciliators, paralegals, legal assistants, legal support workers, and a few other job titles. With a median hourly wage of $47.8, having a legal career in New Hampshire is better than that in many other states.
The job growth outlook is also pretty solid in the paralegal profession. You can easily become a lawyer if you have at least a year’s worth of experience as a paralegal – especially if you paid attention to all aspects of lawyer work ranging from evidence collection and arguing in court to questioning witnesses and doing proper paperwork.
Legal assistants have roughly a $59,300 annual mean wage – higher than the total mean wage across all occupations in New Hampshire. Are you also looking forward to becoming a paralegal? In this guide, we’re going to discuss becoming a paralegal in New Hampshire while solving any questions that you might have.
How to Become a Paralegal in NH
Paralegal programs in NH
New Hampshire provides good scope to succeed as a paralegal and build a legal career in a few years. Though one of the least populous states, New Hampshire still employs thousands of paralegals and it’s all thanks to the many paralegal programs from law schools of all types.
Relying on paralegals or legal assistants helps law firms as well as practicing attorneys to cut down on their costs.
What to look for in a paralegal program in New Hampshire?
Let’s see what to look out for before you decide on a program/school.
The most important factor to consider is the accreditation of the college or university. Only choose among accredited universities because it ensures safety and quality. The primary accreditation is the seal of ABA (American Bar Association) approval. ABA-approved paralegal programs (and law programs as well) are the best programs for your career.
If a program doesn’t have ABA approval, then you need to look elsewhere.
There are different types of programs, such as certificates, diplomas, associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and master’s degrees (in order of duration and complexity).
- Certificate programs are generally short ranging from 2 months to 1 year in most cases. These can be awarded by institutes, colleges, and technical universities. Costs are lower and flexibility is higher. These are comparatively more limited in terms of the scope of education (more specific vs. more balanced).
- Diplomas are good for gaining a specialized skill. Generally, longer than certificate programs, they are only given by universities.
- Degrees are longer programs ranging from 2 years to 6 years. These are more expansive and balanced, providing you with a complete knowledge of the discipline. Different degree programs exist for different educational levels, such as Associate’s degrees, Bachelor’s degrees, Master’s degrees, and doctorate.
The program length should be suitable. You will likely find a conventional program with conventional lengths, such as:
- Associate’s degree: 2 years
- Bachelor’s degree: 3-4 years
- Master’s degree: 4 years – needs a Bachelors
- Doctorate: 4-8 years – needs a Masters
Most likely, you’ll be choosing between a 2-year Associate’s degree or a 4-year Bachelor’s degree to start your career as a paralegal.
Different programs lead to different outcomes. Generally speaking, once you pass either an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree, you’re eligible for pretty much the same job roles – such as a legal assistant to an attorney or an intern in a law firm – but some programs specialize in different job positions simply because of their network and past record.
Take a closer look at the previous students and what are they doing to determine which program is more suitable for you
Paralegal program admission requirements in New Hampshire
Though there can be exceptions and differences between schools or programs due to a variety of factors, here’s what you can expect, generally speaking:
- Certificates (Certified Paralegal, for example) generally don’t have minimum requirements in New Hampshire. Basic high school education will be sufficient in most cases. Technical institutes are more liberal with their intake.
- A diploma in paralegal studies will require a high school diploma or the above.
- An associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree also has the same requirement just with more hours.
There are also some basic eligibility requirements to enroll in a paralegal program. Students should:
- Be 18 years old or older.
- Have completed a high school education with at least one year of college coursework.
- Have a clear criminal record and no drug-related felony convictions.
Paralegal programs are offered at both the associate and bachelor's degree levels. The requirements for admission to a paralegal program vary by institution and state, but some common requirements include:
- A minimum 2.5 GPA on your last 60 hours of college work
- An ACT score of 22 or higher
- One year of English composition, with a grade of C or better
- A two-year diploma or certificate from an accredited law school
Different programs have different requirements. For example, it’s not rare for an Associate’s Degree in Science (AS) in Paralegal Studies to have looser requirements than a Bachelor’s in Paralegal Studies from a different university. All of this depends on the university you select.
- Normally, universities don’t require GRE, LAST, or GMAT scores to apply for a certificate, diploma, or associate’s degree in paralegal practice.
- The majority of employers require either an AS or BS – so look for opportunities in these two.
Tuition and costs of paralegal programs in NH
Non-ABA-approved paralegal certificates cost around $5,000 (more than double for out-of-state students). ABA-approved ones also generally cost the same, but some can cost remarkably more. Technical schools provide cheaper certificates.
Associate of Science degrees generally cost upwards of $12,000 – costing as much as $30,000+ for out-of-state students in reputable institutes. For example, Nashua Community College has an Associate in Science in Paralegal Studies degree for $13,440 for state residents. The New England Regional Student Program rate is $20,160 and it can cost over $30,500 for out-of-state students.
Bachelor’s paralegal programs cost over $60,000 in New Hampshire.
New Hampshire Paralegal Certification
Law is an ever-growing industry and New Hampshire provides a fine selection of suitable programs to enter this niche specifically. You’ll have a bunch of options depending on your qualifications, location, and preferences. Knowing how to cut through the talk and arrive at actionable intelligence to make a smart career decision is critical when selecting among certificates.
Paralegal programs are available for students in a variety of locations, including community and technical colleges, private and public universities, and online. The programs vary in length: some require four years of study, while others may be completed in two years.
2023 Best Paralegal Programs in New Hampshire
Selecting the best paralegal school in New Hampshire can be difficult. To make the process easier first look for a school that is ABA approved. Programs reviewed include schools that offer an Associate in Paralegal Studies, (AAS), BA or Certificate.
1. New Hampshire Technical Institute
NHTI offers an Associate in Science in Paralegal Studies program which is ABA-approved. The estimated cost is $14,000 for state residents and you’ll need GED or a high school diploma to apply. Two letters of recommendation, passing an interview, writing an essay, and a basic math requirement also exist. This is an on-campus program.
Address: 31 College Dr., Concord, NH 03301-7412
Tel: (603) 271 7104
2. Nashua Community College
NCC’s on-campus Associate in Science in Paralegal Studies is not ABA-approved. It focuses on a wide variety of disciplines ranging from financial accounting and computer applications for legal work to trial preparation and American constitutional history. It’s a good all-rounder course for $14,738 (in-state) or $28,890 (out of state)
NCC also has a paralegal certificate program for around $5,900.
Address: 505 Amherst St. Nashua, NH 03063
Tel: (603) 578 8908
3. Franklin Pierce University
FPU’s paralegal certificate program costs around $10,300 and needs a high school diploma. It’s not ABA approved and introduces students to the fundamentals of paralegal work, legal analysis, litigation, and relevant laws.
This is an online based undergraduate certificate program.
Curriculum includes: tort law, probate law, litigation, real estate, legal analysis, research and writing.
Address: Rindge, NH
Tel: (800) 325-1090
NH Paralegal Education FAQs
Let’s answer some commonly asked questions pertaining to the paralegal career and education.
How long does it take to train as a paralegal?
A 2-year Associate’s degree and 1 year of experience under a lawyer are recommended. This is also the minimum requirement for roughly 20-40% of companies that hire paralegals in the New England region.
How do I become a paralegal without a law degree?
Technically, paralegals don’t require a degree or certificate. You can start working under a lawyer as a paralegal or legal assistant at any time. It’s up to the discretion of the attorney or law firm, and rules or eligibility requirements differ. It’s rare to get a good offer without a degree or diploma/certificate in paralegal studies, however.
Is paralegal hard?
Not at all. The whole point of paralegal work is to prepare you for legal practice. As such, it’s more tedious than intellectually challenging. Some cases are tough, while some clients make your life tough. But that’s part of the job. As long as you’re prepared to put in the hard work and be open to learning new tools, techniques, and methods – you should be good to go.