Becoming a paralegal is an excellent option for you if you want to work in the legal field but do not want to commit the time, energy, or financial resources to becoming a lawyer.
If being a paralegal sounds like the job for you, this guide can help you determine how to make it happen and educational programs that can help.
Article Table of Contents
- 1 Licensing Requirements to Become a Paralegal in Alabama
- 2 5 Paralegal Programs in Alabama
- 3 Salary Information
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions
Licensing Requirements to Become a Paralegal in Alabama
Being a paralegal in Alabama does not require any type of certification, license, or degree.
However, independent law firms might require that you attend a paralegal education program.
Additionally, many require some type of experience, but this is something you can gain through most programs.
5 Paralegal Programs in Alabama
You have several educational options for becoming a paralegal, including the five listed below.
1. Wallace State Community College
Wallace State Community College offers an Associate in Applied Science to become a paralegal.
It’s a 65-credit program that is spread out over four semesters, allowing you to complete it in as little as two years.
It includes a mix of general education classes and legal classes specific to your career.
Tuition runs $125 per credit hour for in-state students, bringing the total tuition to $8,125 prior to fees, books, and additional expenses.
If you are not a resident of Alabama, you can expect to pay $250 per credit hour, increasing the tuition to $16,250 prior to books, supplies, and fees.
2. Gadsden State Community College
Gadsden State Community College also offers an Associate’s Paralegal Program for those looking to step into the legal field.
This program requires a total of 71 credits that can be completed in four semesters or two years.
It covers five basic areas, including written composition, humanities, and fine arts, natural sciences and mathematics, history, social and behavioral sciences, and career-based courses.
If you are an Alabama resident, tuition is $166 per credit hour for a total tuition of $11,786.
Out-of-state students pay $291 per credit hour for a total tuition cost of $20,661.
These totals do not include books, supplies, fees, or additional expenses.
3. Samford University
If you’re interested in night classes, Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law offers a paralegal certificate program that might suit your needs.
It’s a 30-credit-hour program designed to be completed in as little as one year.
It’s a great option to both gain knowledge of the field and develops the practical skills to succeed as a paralegal.
Tuition is $350 per credit hour, which brings the total to $10,500 prior to books, fees, supplies, and additional expenses.
You can also choose paralegal studies as a minor if you are completing a full degree program.
4. Jacksonville State University
You can choose this paralegal certificate program in various options, including online only or the online flex option.
The price of the program starts at $1,895 but can increase depending on how you take the course.
Additionally, how long it takes to complete depends on which avenue you choose.
The online-only course takes approximately 14 weeks, whereas the online flex format takes up to six months.
5. Auburn University Montgomery
Auburn University’s Montgomery campus offers a Bachelor’s of Science in Criminal Justice with a Concentration in Legal Studies.
If you are committed to getting a four-year degree, this is a great school and program to consider.
It requires 51 credits as long as your prerequisites are met.
Undergraduate degrees at AUM are estimated to be approximately $9,546 per academic year for in-state students or $20,336 per academic year for out-of-state residents.
This leads to the total in-state tuition of this Bachelor’s program to be approximately $38,184 for Alabama residents or $81,344 for non-residents.
Keep in mind that these are estimates and do not include the cost of books, supplies, fees, and additional expenses.
Paralegal Schools in Alabama – Summary Table
|Wallace State Community College||801 Main Street Northwest, Hanceville, AL 35077|
|Gadsden State Community College||1001 George Wallace Dr, Gadsden, AL 35903|
|Samford University||800 Lakeshore Dr, Homewood, AL 35229|
|Jacksonville State University||1602, 700 Pelham Rd N, Jacksonville, AL 36265|
|Auburn University Montgomery||7400 East Dr, Montgomery, AL 36117|
Paralegals in Alabama make an average of about $56,359 each year.
However, it often ranges from $49,842 to $63,634.Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
Regional Salary in Alabama
|Region||Employed||Avg. Annual Salary||Avg. Hourly Pay||Top 10% Annual Salary||Bottom 10% Annual Salary|
|Florence-Muscle Shoals, AL||90||$41,630||$20.02||$50,220||$31,270|
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.
Frequently Asked Questions
How old do you have to be to become a paralegal in Alabama?
You will need to be at least 18 years old and be legally able to work in the state.
Do I have to work in a lawyer’s office?
Not at all.
Many types of companies use paralegals, including government agencies and corporations.
Additionally, you can freelance if you would like.
If I move to a different state, will I need to go through another program?
Unlike a lawyer, a paralegal is not bound by the state they study or get certified in – if they choose to get certified.
The biggest challenge you might face is what employers might require.
However, if you have been to school and gotten some experience, you should not have trouble finding work in any state you choose to move to.
If I do not have to have a degree or certificate, why should I enter a paralegal program?
There are a few good reasons to go through a program – the first being that it prepares you for your career.
Another is that being educated in the field opens more doors for you, as most law firms will not hire someone who hasn’t been.