New Jersey is a bustling state with the highest rate of urbanization and densest population in the U.S., mostly because it is wedged between two major cities: New York and Philadelphia.
90 percent of New Jersey’s population lives in an urban area and all counties are classified as being part of the statistical metropolitan area.
It also has one of the highest median household income levels in the U.S.
With all these businesses and people, the legal profession in the state is growing at a rapid pace, so those looking to become qualified as a paralegal must follow the required steps.
Keep reading to learn more about becoming a paralegal in New Jersey!
Article Table of Contents
- 1 Licensing Requirements to Become a Paralegal in New Jersey
- 2 5 Paralegal Schools in New Jersey
- 3 Salary
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions
Licensing Requirements to Become a Paralegal in New Jersey
New Jersey does not require any schooling or certifications to be a paralegal, but most employers require both to demonstrate core competency.
For those that do not, it is still advisable to pursue these paths to remain competitive within the field.
To become licensed in the state, follow these steps:
Complete Paralegal Training
Like any degree or certificate program, you must apply to be accepted into the school.
Researching the best paralegal schools in the state and applying to them is the best first step.
Once you are accepted, you must go through the coursework and pass to receive the degree or certificate.
Pursue an Internship
Many programs also require an internship to graduate.
However, if your school of choice has this step as optional, it is advisable to pursue an internship so you can gain valuable real-world experience, which looks great on your resume.
Pass the Certification Exam
The next step is to pass the New Jersey Paralegal Certification Exam, where you must apply through the state.
The cost is $35, payable to the South Jersey Paralegal Association.
Once you pass the exam, the state will mail the Certificate of Completion to you, which is proof of certification.
Find a Job
Once you have all the credentials to make you a competitive candidate, you must look for a full-time job in the legal area of your choice.
New Jersey is a well-developed state with plenty of large and small law firms, so the choice is yours!
5 Paralegal Schools in New Jersey
Given the large population, New Jersey has numerous institutions offering legal studies for those looking to hit the ground running after completing the program or those seeking additional educational opportunities at a four-year school.
Bergen Community College
The Bergen Community College Legal Studies program was created to give students the background needed to transfer to a four-year school and earn a bachelor’s degree in legal studies.
The degree is an Associate of Applied Science in legal studies, which allows students to enter a variety of fields, including becoming a paralegal.
The school has an excellent transfer services department, which can help students continue with their school in the legal field.
Montclair State University
The Montclair State Paralegal Studies Certificate Program was created for students to learn the appropriate written and verbal communication skills, practical fieldwork experience required for employment, and legal fundaments.
The program works to develop analytical and intellectual skills, offers career possibilities, and educates graduates for direct employment within the legal field.
Students must complete 21 credit hours to earn the certificate and must already hold a bachelor’s degree.
Raritan Valley Community College
This American Bar Association-approved paralegal studies program is available during the day, evening, or online for extra student flexibility, and provides critical internships for students to gain experience before graduation.
Also, the program is two years for those seeking an associate degree and who do not have a college degree yet, and one year for those with an existing associate’s or bachelor’s degree.
All faculty has real-world experience as practicing paralegals or attorneys who also hold a passion for teaching.
Located in South Jersey, Rowan College offers an associate degree program for aspiring paralegals.
Graduates will be able to recognize ethical issues that could occur in a legal work environment, learn specialized training to better analyze facts, demonstrate written and verbal communication skills, and apply basic legal research and analysis principles.
Other learnings include time management skills and demonstrating human sensitivity when working across diverse individuals.
Union County College
The paralegal studies program offered by Union County College was created to prepare graduates for different paralegal roles.
The curriculum includes understanding the role paralegals play in the American legal system, the development of problem-solving and critical thinking skills, and how to effectively communicate with others in a confident, clear, and professional manner.
Students also learn how to conduct legal research, write according to legal standards, recognize the different areas of law, analyze legal issues, prepare documents for litigation, and utilize computer technology for office management.
Paralegal Schools in New Jersey – Summary Table
|Bergen Community College||400 Paramus Rd, Paramus, NJ 07652|
|Montclair State University||1 Normal Ave, Montclair, NJ 07043|
|Raritan Valley Community College||118 Lamington Rd, Branchburg, NJ 08876|
|Rowan College||201 Mullica Hill Rd, Glassboro, NJ 08028|
|Union County College||1033 Springfield Ave, Cranford, NJ 07016|
The median U.S. average for a paralegal hovers around the $60,000 per year mark with a range from $46,800 to $75,000.
In New Jersey, the median salary is higher than the national average at $68,700 with a range from $53, 500 to $85,600.Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
Frequently Asked Questions
Does New Jersey mandate a minimum experience level in law to become a paralegal?
The State of New Jersey does not mandate any experience levels to get into the field.
However, most employers expect applicants to have some sort of legal experience to be competitive against other applicants.
What organizations offer certification programs?
Nationally, certifications are offered by NALA (National Association of Legal Assistants and NFPA (National Federation of Paralegal Associations). Additionally, the state has NJCP (New Jersey Certified Paralegal).
Is a formal degree required to work as a paralegal?
Similarly, the state does not dictate a formal degree to practice law as a paralegal.
However, most employers require a minimum level.
With countless colleges and universities in the state having paralegal training programs that are American Bar Association accredited, there are plenty of options for new students.