Connecticut is one of the best states to become a paralegal, thanks to the state’s high number of attorneys (especially in areas that function as suburbs of NYC). Paralegals perform research on legal, business, and regulatory matters for the lawyers they work for. They also assist with legal activities such as filing memoranda, motions, briefs, and pleadings. Some paralegals accompany lawyers to talk to clients or attend court sessions. If you’re passionate about what you do, organized and a quick learner, the paralegal field must be a great choice for you. Most paralegal professionals enjoy a steady rise in salary commensurate with their experience and expertise.
The paralegal salary Connecticut professionals hope to earn is highly competitive when compared to similar roles in other states. This might be a great career choice for workers hoping to change careers or who are returning to the workforce after a brief or long absence. Getting the proper education with an ABA certified school can set you up for a deeply rewarding, professional career with tons of room for growth.
How We Ranked the Best Paralegal Programs in Connecticut
When it came to ranking the best paralegal programs in Connecticut, Online Paralegal Programs editors had a wealth of accredited, trusted institutions to choose from. Programs are ranked according to their affordability, job market success, and salary potential.
1. Quinnipiac University
When you are looking for paralegal programs in Connecticut that help with your career goals, the program at Quinnipiac University is a good option. The university offers a certificate in legal studies, or a minor for students who are taking a bachelor’s degree at the university, that provides students with the fundamental skills they need to work as a paralegal.
Quinnipiac University stands out from other schools by emphasizing specialized skills like mediation and negotiation that a student needs to work in the legal field. The school does not limit education to the legal aspects and ensures that students have practical skills they can apply to their careers. That focus on practical skills allows students to succeed in different firms and situations.
Highlight: Quinnipiac University’s legal studies certification is approved by the American Bar Association.
Program: Legal Studies Certificate
2. University of Connecticut
The University of Connecticut offers a variety of certificate programs in the school of law that are designed for varying levels of education. Students with a bachelor’s degree or higher may take the professional certificate program. It also offers many certificate programs for J.D. students and LLM certificate programs. The programs offer specialized training in specific aspects of the law that may assist paralegals who are working in firms that offer specialized services.
The University of Connecticut stands apart by offering a variety of specialized certificate programs that help students with their goals. The certifications are designed to provide specialized training, so students should focus on certifications that fit their situation and plans. It also sets different standards of education based on the specific program.
Highlight: The University of Connecticut is accredited by the American Bar Association for its legal programs and has a long history of providing quality education to law students.
Program: Paralegal Certificate
3. University of Hartford
The University of Hartford offers a program in paralegal studies that is designed around the needs of paralegals and students who plan to work as paralegal. The program provides students with a strong foundation in the law and ensures that students have specialized skills that allow them to become competitive when seeking a job or position in a firm.
The University of Hartford ensures that students in the paralegal studies program have the training to handle legal paperwork, trial preparation, and related tasks to assist a lawyer or attorney. The training provides the fundamental skills that a paralegal can build on in their careers as they gain experience and learn from lawyers in a real-world environment.
Highlight: The University of Hartford was the first school in Connecticut to offer a training program for paralegals.
4. University of New Haven
The undergraduate program in legal studies at the University of New Haven prepares students to work under the supervision of a lawyer. The degree program offers insight into the law of the state and federal laws to prepare students for challenging careers in a law firm. It also offers opportunities to work in government positions by providing students with the training to understand the legal system from the side of law enforcement.
The University of New Haven differs from other programs by emphasizing the investigative aspects of the law. It provides students with training from former FBI agents, local police departments, and former CIA agents to offer insight into the challenges of investigating a crime and evaluating evidence. Due to the specialized training, the program is ideal for students who plan to become paralegal in a firm that works on criminal cases.
Highlight: Students at the University of New Haven have access to state-of-the-art research labs when working on their legal studies degrees.
Program: Paralegal Studies Certificate
5. Charter Oak State College
Charter Oak State College offers a paralegal certificate program that helps students focus on their career goals. The certification provides a strong foundation in topics related to ethics, legal research and writing, and civil procedures. It also allows students to choose elective courses to gain specialized training in specific areas of the law. The emphasis on specialized training ensures that students are prepared to work in different law firms.
Charter Oak State College offers credits for each course students take in the certificate program. The credits can apply to an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree through the college if students decide to pursue a higher level of education after completing the certificate program and starting a career. That ensures that students are able to make decisions about their careers over time that may change as they gain experience or decide to adjust to a different situation.
Highlight: Charter Oak State College allows students in the paralegal certificate program to transfer up to 12 credits into the program to speed up the process of completing the certification.
Program: Paralegal Certificate
6. Post University
Post University offers a certificate in paralegal studies that emphasizes the skills a paralegal needs to work under a lawyer’s supervision. It provides a strong foundation in different areas of the law and ensures that students are aware of the ethical standards that apply to the legal industry. It also provides students with the basic training to determine if they want to pursue a higher level of education in the future.
Post University emphasizes communication skills as a critical part of working in a law firm. A paralegal must have a clear understanding of written and oral communication as it applies to the law to ensure that paperwork is completed without errors. By emphasizing communication and legal writing, the program ensures that students are able to handle any paperwork they may work on in a law firm.
Highlight: Post University is NECHE accredited for its educational programs, including certification programs for paralegal students.
Program: Paralegal Studies Certificate
7. Gateway Community College
Gateway Community College offers one of the best paralegal programs in Connecticut for students who want to obtain an associate’s degree. The associate’s degree in business office technology with a paralegal option is designed to provide the fundamental training students need to work as a paralegal in a law firm. It also provides specialized training in business office technology that ensures that students are able to handle new technological advances and software programs.
The way Gateway Community College differs from other schools is the emphasis on technology as it applies to different office settings and environments. The degree program teaches students about office procedures as it applies to a law firm as well as the preparation of legal documents using the latest technology and tools. It also provides fundamental training in legal writing and communication to ensure that students are ready to work as paralegal.
Highlight: Gateway Community College is a military-friendly school that works with veterans to help them determine when they are qualified for veteran benefits.
Program: AAS in Business – Paralegal
8. Sacred Heart University
Sacred Heart University offers a certificate program in paralegal studies that prepares students for their work as paralegal working under the supervision of a lawyer. The program ensures that students are prepared to handle the challenges of their careers and have the basic training they need to work on legal research and writing. It also provides students with a competitive advantage when seeking a career due to the training and basic experience students gain throughout the program.
Sacred Heart University uses up-to-date technology and tools to give students the skills they need to work in a modern law firm. It prepares students to work with new software programs and technological tools that may be used to research information or look up laws, as well as tools to improve the office environment. Since the school uses updated information, it prepares students to step into a career without wasting time on extra training.
Highlight: Sacred Heart University offers eight different certification programs that focus on specialized skills or general paralegal studies.
Program: Paralegal Studies Certificate
9. Naugatuck Valley Community College
When you are looking into paralegal programs in Connecticut, the paralegal degree from Naugatuck Valley Community College is a good option for your career goals. The associate’s degree program teaches students about the law, policy, and related topics to prepare them to work as a legal assistant or a paralegal in a law firm. The degree program also ensures that students are able to take on their responsibilities as a paralegal when they start in a new position.
Naugatuck Valley Community College offers a certificate program and an associate’s degree program for paralegals. The certificate program allows paralegals to gain basic training that allows them to work without the full two years required for a degree. Students can also opt for the degree program if they are looking to advance in their careers or need more rigorous training for their career goals.
Highlight: Naugatuck Valley Community College allows students to transfer credits into the degree program to cut back on the time required for the degree.
Programs: Paralegal AS or Certificate
10. Manchester Community College
Manchester Community College offers a paralegal certificate program and a paralegal associate’s degree program that allows students to gain the fundamental skills they need to work in a law firm. The program teaches students about the law of the state and federal law, as well as topics related to legal ethics, legal research, and legal writing.
Manchester Community College is designed around the needs of working adults who may have limitations in their schedules. Since the classes are primarily available at night, it allows students to work on a degree when they are finished with their normal daily activities. The flexibility of night classes ensures that students are able to focus on their studies and avoid complications with their personal obligations.
Highlight: The paralegal degree program at Manchester Community College has been approved by the American Bar Association since 1984.
Programs: AS or Certificate
Why Should I Get a Paralegal Degree or Certificate in Connecticut?
Here are a few benefits of getting a paralegal degree or certificate:
- Marketability – Paralegal certificate programs in CT help successful candidates obtain employment at law firms. Many legal organizations like to advertise the certifications of their staff, including lawyers and paralegals. Attorneys face ruthless competition and are willing to invest in paralegals with certifications that help them win more clients and ensure the cases run smoothly.
- Profitability – Paralegal programs in CT imbue successful graduates with unique experience and qualifications. Law firms depend on how many billable hours they can charge. Firms can bill a paralegal at a higher hourly rate when they have a degree or certification.
- Client Satisfaction – To pass the certification exam, paralegals must have superior administrative abilities and competence.Paralegal schools in Connecticut teach students the importance of efficiency and maintaining a high quality of work. Casework must be handled with the utmost care without spending excess time on any one task.
Choosing the Right Paralegal Certificate Programs in CT
The American Bar Association reviews paralegal programs in CT and across the United States. Without the ABA certification attached to your school, you may have a hard time getting a job. You can look up schools you are interested in on this list of ABA approved paralegal programs in CT.
There are several paralegal schools in Connecticut with the appropriate credentials.
ABA approved paralegal programs in CT include:
- The University of New Haven has several options for those who want to be a paralegal. Its Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies offers an option for a Concentration in Paralegal Studies. The university also offers an Associate of Science in Legal Studies and a Paralegal Certificate.
- The University of Hartford has a Bachelor of Arts in University Studies featuring a Paralegal Studies concentration. You can also apply for an Associate in Science in Paralegal Studies or Certificate in Paralegal Studies program.
- Quinnipiac University, located in Hamden, offers a Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies with minors available in Studies in the Law and Dispute Resolution.
- Norwalk Community Technical College offers an Associate of Science in Legal Assistant and Legal Assistant Certificate.
- Manchester Community College has an Associate of Science in Paralegal degree.
Are there a Lot of Jobs for Paralegals in Connecticut?
Data shows that there are a lot of job openings for paralegals in Connecticut. Salary is commensurate with experience and education. Learn how salaries in Connecticut compare to the rest of the nation.
According to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, there is a demand for over 5,100 Connecticut paralegal jobs. Paralegal jobs in Connecticut average $28.69 or $60,240 per year. Entry level paralegal jobs in Connecticut start at $57,140. As in other careers, experience and skills learned on the job enable paralegals to move up and earn more pay. At the high end of the salary scale, Connecticut paralegal jobs pay up to $82,010.
Paralegal jobs in Connecticut pay more than the average in the United States as a whole. BLS data indicates that paralegals make an average of $51,740 countrywide, which comes to $24.87 an hour. Entry level paralegal jobs in Connecticut also pay higher than the U.S. average. Approximately 10% of paralegals start out in the bottom 10% salary-wise at $15.46.
How Much Do Paralegals Make in Connecticut?
As you can see from the BLS data reviewed above, there is a large gap between entry level and experienced paralegal salary Connecticut. Below, you can see the breakout of U.S. salaries based on years of experience.
Senior paralegals in supervisory positions often serve in law firms of more than 75 attorneys. These are typically the largest wager earners, making between $70,000 and $96,000 as of 2016. That figure jumped 4% in 2017, indicating the salary potential at the high end of the field.
Mid-level paralegals with 4 to 6 years of experience often serve in small to midsize legal firms. Their salary range lies between $55,750 and $70,000.