The first step a person needs to take when he or she decides to become a paralegal in Delaware is to find a school. To accomplish this, a person should look for ABA approved paralegal programs in Delaware. The ABA is the American Bar Association. Schools that receive this acknowledgment provide a quality education that prepares a student for the real world of practicing as a paralegal.
In Delaware, a person needs a minimum of a bachelor’s degree to practice as a paralegal. After the degree program though, a person may choose to look into paralegal certificate programs in Delaware. These certificates can further a person’s skills in paralegal studies and show a prospective employer that a person is dedicated to learning as much as he or she can about paralegal studies.
Methodology: Ranking the Best Paralegal Programs in Delaware
For the ranking of the best paralegal programs in Delaware, the editors of Online Paralegal Programs sought out campus-based and online certificate and degree programs from accredited, trusted institutions. The final ranking reflects factors like the variety of degrees, students satisfaction, and potential salary.
1. Delaware Technical and Community College
Recognized by the American Bar Association, Delaware Technical and Community College’s campus-based certificate option is one of the best paralegal programs in Delaware. In order to qualify for the certificate, students must complete an associate or bachelor’s degree. No specific degree is specified but students can use the certificate to increase their legal knowledge. Like other Delaware paralegal programs, this certificate prepares graduates to work in federal, state, and local agencies, law firms, banks, and private businesses.
Delaware Tech – Terry serves students in Dover, Delaware. This public institution enrolls 4,629 undergraduates. The college accepts 100% of students, who choose from majors such as Nursing, Business and Human Services. The school neither recommends nor requires SAT/ACT scores, making it an attractive option for those who score poorly on standardized tests.
2. Wesley College
One of the more rigorous Delaware paralegal programs, Wesley College’s BS in Law and Justice Studies or Certificate programs prepares students for jobs in the legal profession. This campus-based study track also provides a framework for learners who plan to go on to graduate or law school. Courses cover the criminal justice system and the American legal system. While completing the common law and justice courses, students choose one of two available concentrations, Criminal Justice or Legal Studies. This is one of the more competitive paralegal programs in Delaware and is recognized by the American Bar Association.
A private, Christian institution, Wesley is in Dover, Delaware. It has over 1,100 undergrad students, making it a smaller school, and competition to get in is fierce. Wesley accepts just 62% of applicants. Besides legal students, popular majors include Kinesiology and Exercise Science, Nursing, and Psychology.
Program: BS in Law and Justice Studies or Certificate
3. Widener University
Widener University offers a BS or Certificate for those interested in pursuing a career as a paralegal or going on to law school. This campus-based program is one of the best paralegal programs in Delaware. Learners take courses in compliance, legal studies, international and graduate programs, making this major/certificate one of the most eclectic Delaware paralegal programs. This program is recognized by the American Bar Association. This highly respected program provides a great option for prospective students looking to change their careers.
At Widener University in Chester, PA, the faculty come from the fields they teach. Students have access to internships and paid co-op programs to get experience in their majors. For learners interested in research, there is a multitude of projects looking for help. Located in suburban Philadelphia, the campus has much to offer in the way of arts and culture, entertainment, and educational experiences. Graduates often find jobs in the city and network with professionals in the legal field there.
Program: BS or Certificate
4. Wilmington University
Wilmington Unversity’s Paralegal Certificate is an online program, making it one of the most flexible paralegal programs in Delaware. This ABA-approved post-grad certificate gives students the academic skills to pursue a career in legal services. Paralegals provide essential support to public and private sector attorneys. Paralegal certificates are valued by hiring managers in the legal field, so Delaware paralegal programs enhance the marketability of those looking to make a career change.
Wilmington University, a private school in the Philadelphia area, is a small school with approximately, 3,500 undergraduates. Wilmington U accepts all students who apply, and other popular majors include Behavioral Science and Nursing. About 83% of students believe their professors put a lot of effort into preparing for and delivering lectures. Four out of five students say they typically get the classes they need, and the vast majority of students surveyed thought they had a manageable workload.
5. University of Delaware
The University of Delaware offers a campus-based Paralegal Certificate that prepares students to fill entry-level paralegal positions. Like other paralegal programs in Delaware, this program is ABA-approved. Delaware paralegal programs teach students how to provide important legal services. Faculty members are experienced, practicing lawyers who teach students the foundations of the American system of law. Participants learn about legal and how to prepare legal documents for their corporate, government, or legal employers.
The University of Delaware is a well-respected school in the Philadelphia Area. It is a large institution with an enrollment of 18,355 undergraduate students. Applicants face fierce competition to impress the admissions panel, and the UD acceptance rate is 66%. Graduating 81% of students, and the school is ranked #33 among top public universities in the United States, according to Niche.com
How Do I Choose a Paralegal Program in Delaware?
After a person finds a list of ABA-approved paralegal programs in Delaware, he or she wants to compare these options based on their student-to-teacher ratio, graduation rate, and other similar criteria. A person should also look into the price of the school’s tuition. Keep in mind that a person has to pay for the remainder of his or her education that isn’t covered by grants and scholarships or tuition reimbursement if a person works for a company that’s in that particular field.
Additionally, a person should compare the ABA approved paralegal programs in Delaware based on their reviews. A person wants a school that has mainly positive reviews.
Will a Certificate Help My Paralegal Career?
A person may want to look into Delaware paralegal certification programs to specialize in a certain area of law. For instance, a person can find paralegal certificate programs in Delaware related to family law, estate planning, immigration, and real estate. These specialty Delaware paralegal certificate programs allow a person to gain special knowledge and skills that relate to a specific specialty of law, which can help a person find a job in his or her particular area of interest.
How is the Job Market for Paralegals in Delaware?
Paralegal jobs in Delaware are plentiful. In fact, the Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Camden metropolitan area ranks as one of the metropolises with the highest employment level for Delaware paralegal jobs when compared to other metropolitan areas in the US.
As noted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of paralegal jobs in Delaware was 1,350 as of 2018. A person can particularly find a high concentration of paralegal jobs in Dover Delaware as well as paralegal jobs in Wilmington Delaware.
Delaware in general ranks as number five on the list of states with the highest concentration of jobs, as noted by the BLS.
Fortunately, any area of Delaware is plentiful with entry-level paralegal jobs Delaware. Delaware paralegal jobs, both entry-level paralegal jobs in Delaware and ones for people with more experience, are plentiful in certain areas. For instance, the paralegal jobs in Dover Delaware are in demand because the area has a lot of law firms. Additionally, paralegal jobs in Wilmington Delaware are also plentiful because of the numerous law firms in the city.
Generally, when a person wants to find entry-level paralegal jobs in Delaware, he or she wants to choose a city with a high number of law firms because that’s where most of these positions are.
A person should also understand that the number of paralegal jobs, in general, is supposed to increase by 12 percent, as noted by the BLS. This growth rate is much faster than average.
How Much Do Paralegals Make in Delaware?
One of the main concerns a person may have about becoming a paralegal is the paralegal salary in Delaware.
As of April 2020, the average salary of a paralegal, in general, is $51,740 per year, which is the same as $24.87 per hour. Fortunately, the average paralegal salary in Delaware is much higher. In fact, the average Delaware paralegal salary is $57,140.
A person should keep in mind that certain areas of law pay more. Additionally, a person can make a higher paralegal salary in Delaware with a federal government job. The Delaware paralegal salary is higher for people who choose to work with grants, natural gas, or motor vehicle distribution.
Additionally, the Delaware paralegal salary varies based on the particular law firm a person chooses. The law firms that take on high-profile cases and have a solid reputation along with a long history in practicing law tend to make more money, so their paralegals also tend to make more.
A person may also make more in Delaware by earning certifications to specialize in.