Being a paralegal in North Carolina will have you drafting legal documents, conducting legal research, and even helping lawyers prepare for trials in the courtroom.
You can get started as a paralegal quickly, and without having to deal with a lot of licensing requirements.
When you have decided on being a paralegal as your career path, there are a few key things that you should know about.
Article Table of Contents
- 1 Licensing Requirements to Become a Paralegal in North Carolina
- 2 5 Paralegal Schools in North Carolina
- 3 Salary for Paralegals in North Carolina
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions
Licensing Requirements to Become a Paralegal in North Carolina
The state of North Carolina doesn’t have a lot of licensing requirements, making it easy for you to become a paralegal easily – and without having to worry about securing licensure or certifications.
The state does offer a voluntary certification program – and law firms may require that you be certified by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).
For this, you would need to pass the North Carolina State Bar Board of Paralegal Certification.
Further, you would need some kind of formal education, whether it is a paralegal certificate, an associate degree, or even a Juris doctorate.
Other requirements include:
- Being a legal U.S. resident
- Being at least 18 years of age
5 Paralegal Schools in North Carolina
You can choose from a number of paralegal programs at schools in North Carolina.
Some courses are online while others are on campus.
Either way, you will want to compare schools to understand what they have to offer and what the cost of the program will be.
Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute
CCC & TI offers a few options – a Certificate in Family Law, a Certificate in Wills & Estates, or an Associate Degree in Paralegal Technology.
The AAS will require 64 credit hours, which includes year one being fall, spring, and summer, and year two being fall and spring.
You can take the program at either the Hudson or Watauga campus, and some courses are offered online.
The average cost per semester will be $1200, which does not include books or other supplies.
If you choose a certificate program, the cost is based on a per credit hour of $76.
At Meredith College, the Paralegal Certificate program is ABA-approved.
There are in-person and online options, and the school helps with job placement upon completion of the program.
You will finish in one year and have access to financial aid to help pay for the program.
The cost is around $42,000 and will include all of the tuition and fees.
Room and board, if desired, would add up to another $12,544.
Pitt Community College
At Pitt Community College, you can earn an Associate degree in Paralegal Technology.
You will have day and evening classes as well as some that are offered online.
You will learn how to work in various legal environments and how to conduct yourself ethically.
The program for NC residents will cost $1216 per semester, and you will need to be enrolled in four semesters to complete the necessary credit hours.
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
The paralegal studies certificate program at UNC Chapel Hill has actually qualified under the North Carolina State Bar, allowing you to sit for the certification exam upon completion.
Throughout the studies, you will learn about law-related research, investigating fact patterns, and preparing cases for the courtroom. If you attend full-time, you can finish in about one year.
The certificate program costs $5895 and is inclusive of not only tuition and books but also a full year of access to LexisNexis, a critical resource for legal research.
Coastal Carolina Community College
In Jacksonville, NC, you can study Paralegal Technology with a few different paths.
The first is a Corporate Law or Litigation Legal Assistant Certificate, both of which take one year (fall, spring, and summer semesters).
There is also a diploma program which takes one year.
Then, there is an Associate in Applied Science, which takes two years to complete for a total of 72 credit hours.
You’ll take such courses as Introduction to Paralegal Study and Legal Research/Writing.
The cost of the program will vary depending on the path that you choose.
Generally, if you are an in-state resident, you can expect to pay approximately $81 per credit hour.
Paralegal Schools in North Carolina – Summary Table
|Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute||2855 Hickory Blvd, Hudson, NC 28638|
|Meredith College||3800 Hillsborough St, Raleigh, NC 27607|
|Pitt Community College||1986 Pitt Tech Rd, Winterville, NC 28590|
|University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill||Chapel Hill, NC|
|Coastal Carolina Community College||444 Western Blvd, Jacksonville, NC 28546|
Salary for Paralegals in North Carolina
The salary for paralegals can be high considering that you do not need a lot of education.
In many instances, you can get started with only a one-year certificate.
Your salary is often based on experience, education, certifications held, and special skills.
Salary.com estimates that paralegals in Raleigh earn an average annual salary of $58,205.
Additionally, those who are experienced may be in the 90th percentile, where the average salary jumps to closer to $72,559 per year.Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
Regional Salary in North Carolina
|Region||Employed||Avg. Annual Salary||Avg. Hourly Pay||Top 10% Annual Salary||Bottom 10% Annual Salary|
|Durham-Chapel Hill, NC||630||$55,920||$26.89||$80,830||$35,110|
|Greensboro-High Point, NC||780||$51,000||$24.52||$71,750||$36,880|
|New Bern, NC||180||$48,630||$23.38||$72,820||$31,550|
|Rocky Mount, NC||100||$44,360||$21.33||$59,670||$29,440|
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.
Frequently Asked Questions
What state-level associations are good to join?
Beyond the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), it is a good idea to explore some of the ones that are in North Carolina.
This includes the North Carolina Paralegal Association as well as ones that focus on specific areas of the state, such as the Raleigh-Wake Paralegal Association or the Asheville Area Paralegal Association.
Is there a growing need for paralegals in North Carolina?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the need for paralegals will grow by 12% over the next five years.
That is much faster than many other industries, and the growth will be in North Carolina as well as elsewhere in the country.
Where are the most opportunities for paralegals in North Carolina?
The larger cities are where you will find the most opportunities as a paralegal in North Carolina.
Consider exploring such cities as Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensboro.