In the state of Colorado, there are many options for students wanting to break into the growing field of a paralegal. It has had increased growth for the past few years and is expected to continue throughout the next decade. Becoming a paralegal is not complicated either; most law offices and firms do not require lengthy work history. In fact, many employers will hire applicants right after they complete a Paralegal certificate, earn an associate degree in Paralegal studies, or the equivalent.
According to the Bureau in Labor and Statistics, for the past decade, the paralegal field has increased in job growth by fifteen percent in the state of Colorado. One reason for the job growth for paralegals in Colorado is that many employers are now giving their legal assistants more responsibilities or duties than lawyers or attorneys would normally have done before. This allows paralegals more work experience and prepares them for law school if they choose to attend.
Ranking the Best Paralegal Programs in Colorado
If you’re interested in becoming a paralegal, you’re probably interested in finding a program that will really pay off in the long run. That’s why the editors of Online Paralegal Programs focus on schools with full accreditation and history of really helping graduates get ahead. Programs are ranked according to Cost, Job Placement, and Salary Potential, based on data from IPEDS and College Scorecard.
1. University of Denver
The University of Denver’s Socio-Legal Studies program is an interdisciplinary course, designed to provide students an understanding of the law system and paralegal community. The program focuses on law in everyday life, the shaping of social institutions, and the need to empower individuals, families, and communities about legal issues. Courses in the program include Sociology, Political Science, Environmental Science, and Journalism. The University of Denver’s Socio-legal studies is one of the most affordable paralegal programs in Colorado. The course is good start for undergraduates who are preparing for law school.
The University offers students with over 300 degree programs with low student to teacher classrooms. Located in the heart of the Rockies, the school serves over 12,000 students and prepares them for successful careers.
Program: Bachelor’s in Socio-Legal Studies
2. Arapahoe Community College
The Arapahoe Community College’s Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal offers each student an ABA approved curriculum; filled with knowledge and skills and preparing them for today’s paralegal industry. The college is among the top paralegal programs in Colorado. In some cases, the instructors and faculty of the courses offered have previously been judges or established attorneys. The course curriculum offers instruction of legal analysis, torts, contracts, and litigation technology. Business organizations, criminal law, and immigration law are also part of the course program. The AAS in paralegal studies is approximately sixty credits; however, some credits may be transferrable. the program at Arapahoe is affordable for most working students.
One of Arapahoe’s goals is to build a community of leaders to help fellow students become successful, establish high ethical standards, and show professionalism in the paralegal world. The school also provides technology and software courses, so that it better prepares students when entering the paralegal workplace. The school was founded in 1965 and is in the Greater Denver metroplex area.
Program: AAS in Paralegal
3. Metropolitan State University of Denver
The Metropolitan State University’s Paralegal Certificate in Denver is one of the fastest-growing accredited paralegal programs in Colorado. The program is available in several ways; which include online, live lecture, DVD, and textbook form. This provides students with the flexibility to complete the paralegal program on their schedule. If the student chooses to go with the online format, the courses are about fourteen weeks long. Courses with the paralegal certificate offer classes on legal document preparation, Introduction of Paralegalism, and federal and state law regulation. The paralegal program is ABA-approved and the school offers a low student-to-faculty ratio.
The Metropolitan State University, founded in 1980, provides courses that are affordable, taught by experienced professionals, and provides several concentrations for the student to choose. This makes the degree one of the best paralegal programs in Colorado. As part of the Center for Legal Studies, MSU provides courses through 100 Colleges and Universities nationwide.
Program: Paralegal Certificate
4. Colorado Mountain College
Colorado Mountain College offers an online associate degree in paralegal studies. The program provides students in basic legal research, the know-how of drafting documents, and conducting interviews with clients in a professional setting. Trial preparation and investigation is also discussed in the course. As part of the paralegal program, the student will earn a strong understanding of law, the importance of contracts, and the principles of research. The program will provide the student with an option for continuing education, such as the Bachelors of Applied Science in Leadership and Management as well. The Colorado Mountain College is one of the best paralegal programs in Colorado and offer an affordable tuition rate.
Founded in 1965, the Colorado Mountain College provides students with eleven locations and campuses; spread over 12,000 square miles. The school covers over nine counties provides both part-time and full-time options and has 18,000 students attending annually.
Program: AAS in Paralegal
5. Colorado State University
The Legal Studies Interdisciplinary Minor at Colorado State University provides a strong academic background on the paralegal field. Courses in the program prepare the student in communications law, US Civil Rights and Liberties, International law, and the philosophy of law. Students will learn basic knowledge of ethical standards and an understanding of legal law systems. The Legal Studies Interdisciplinary Minor program is twenty-one credits and affordable to most students at Colorado State University.
Located in Fort Collins, the school offers over fifty other degrees and programs that students can apply their knowledge in; including graduate programs. The college is considered as a graduate research school, offering graduate, master’s, and bachelors programs. The school is also one of the best-accredited paralegal programs in Colorado for students to attend. The college provides students with good moral values to live by and principles built on strong foundations.
Program: Legal Studies Minor
6. University of Colorado Denver
The University of Colorado in Denver offers an interdisciplinary paralegal program that prepares students with the skills and knowledge to become successful scholars of the paralegal field. The Undergraduate Law Studies Minor introduces students in law and legal procedures that affect today’s society. The course also prepares students in the legal vocabulary and reasoning of the legal system and prepares them to think analytically and conceptional. The Undergraduate Law Studies Minor is affordable, and many students consider a good choice among other paralegal programs in Colorado.
The University of Colorado in Denver started its humble beginnings, located in Boulder in 1883, as the school of medicine; with only two professors and two students. However, in 1912, the college grew to University status by establishing the Denver extension and providing acknowledgment from the American Medical Association. The college provides degree levels of the Bachelors, Masters, PhD, and Certificate options; including offering some pre-college programs to high school students. The school is well diverse and over half of the students start out as transfer students.
Program: Law Studies Minor
7. Community College of Aurora
The Associate of Applied Science degree in Paralegal Studies at the Community College of Aurora provides students with an ABA-approved degree that is immersed in academic excellence. The program teaches students the basic foundations of law and ethics while providing high-quality education of the legal system and criminal justice field. The Community College of Aurora offers a few options for paralegal students; the Associate of Applied Science, the AAS in management with paralegal emphasis, and the Paralegal certification. The faculty members of the paralegal program are either former or current licensed attorneys or law officials of the state.
Community College of Aurora, founded in 1983, offers over forty areas of degree options to students. The school’s mascot is the red fox. The mission for all students is that everyone succeeds. Most associate programs are sixty credits; however, students may have the option to transfer up to nine credits toward the completion of the program.
Program: AAS in Paralegal
8. Pikes Peak Community College
Pikes Peak Community College’s AAS in Paralegal Studies prepares students for the legal field. Courses in the program include family and criminal law, Introduction to ethics, and Legal ethics. The student will learn to draft documents, conduct legal searches, and prepare for court trials. The Paralegal program will also provide the student in knowledge of all the aspects of what the legal profession has to offer. The AAS in Paralegal Studies is a sixty-credit program and an affordable choice for most students entering the legal community. The degree is among one of the best paralegal programs in Colorado.
Pikes Peak Community College provides a great opportunity for students taking the AAS in Paralegal Studies to join their Paralegal Leadership Club. The club is designed to provide support to all who participate, establish a strong community voice, and offer opportunities for volunteering within the paralegal community. The College offers close to 200 degrees and certifications and makes the transition to a four-year University easy and stress-free.
Program: AAS in Paralegal
9. Community College of Denver
The AAS in Paralegal Studies at the Community College of Denver provides the student with the knowledge and skills needed in the American legal system. The degree is about fifty-five percent online. Paralegals work under the supervision of licensed lawyers and attorneys. Paralegals do not have the power to stand in trial on their own as Lawyers do. However, many daily tasks, such as trial preparation, investigating and researching facts of cases, and legal writing are done by legal assistants. Paralegals also work on identifying laws and regulations, drafting contracts, and preparing clients for court procedures.
The paralegal program at CCD is one of the top paralegal programs in Colorado for students entering the legal system. CCD is also affordable to most students and the application is easy for students to enroll in courses. Some programs, such as the Paralegal degree is stackable; meaning it is easy to transfer from the associate degree to a bachelor’s program.
Program: AAS in Paralegal
10. Front Range Community College
Front Range Community College’s Associate of Applied Science degree in Paralegal Studies helps students prepare for the work they will do under the supervision of licensed lawyers and attorneys. This includes drafting legal documents, preparing contracts, and researching laws and regulations. The AAS degree is sixty credits in length; however, those who are enrolled in just the paralegal certificate will need only thirty credits.
Front Range Community College is the state’s number one community college with a student population of over 28,000. The college has a low student-to-faculty ratio and over 100 certificates available. The school provides a diverse student body; students attend from forty-six states and over 100 countries. There are also several community resources for students on and off-campus. The college has also made it convenient for working adults with children to finish their college education by providing childcare services through a federal grant.
Program: AAS in Paralegal
Why is Paralegal a Good Career Choice?
The Paralegal field is a career path that many young adults choose. The career paths of legal system positions can also be very lucrative as well. Depending on the employer, location, education, and work experience, some paralegals can earn up to $80,000 annually.
Bottom line, deciding to become a paralegal can be one of the best choices for a student interested in the American legal system or criminal justice field. The paralegal job is one career path that will not be slowing down anytime soon. Everyone needs assistance in legal matters. Becoming a paralegal or legal assistant will be one of the best decisions for working adults looking to make a difference in the legal community.
Why are ABA-Approved Paralegal Programs Important?
Getting a degree that is approved by the American Bar Association comes with many perks and opportunities. In the state of Colorado, there are eleven colleges and universities that offer the paralegal degree program. However, not all are ABA-approved programs. Nonetheless, Colorado does have two paralegal programs that are ABA-approved; the schools are Arapahoe Community College and Community College of Aurora. Both schools are located near the Capital City of Denver and are also listed on the top 50 list of the US News Best Law Schools of 2019. Each provides the necessary skills, knowledge, courses, and credits to become a successful paralegal. Some paralegal programs are available online for students needing more flexibility and convenience in their course load.
However, not all classes in an ABA-approved paralegal program are online. Some ABA-approved programs in the state of Colorado are a combination of both online and on-campus or what is called Hybrid courses. This option allows the student some face-to face interaction with their instructors; in addition, provide a chance to get involved with events or campus clubs that may not be offered for online students. There may also be some paralegal scholarship opportunities for students at the ABA-approved programs in the state of Colorado. Checking with the paralegal associations in Colorado may offer financial assistance, such as scholarships to inspiring students enrolled in a Paralegal degree or certificate.
How is the Job Market for Paralegals in Colorado?
Currently, there are 5,250 jobs available in Colorado as paralegals according to the bureau of labor statistics which was updated in May 2018. Denver, Aurora, and Lakewood have the highest jobs available for paralegals. There are other job titles for legal assistants in the workplace. It all depends on the specialization they acquired in either law school or from previous work history. The types of paralegal careers include Bankruptcy paralegal, Corporate Paralegal, Criminal Law paralegal, Immigration paralegal, Litigation paralegal, and Personal Injury Paralegal. Having a concentration in a type of career in the paralegal field brings many benefits for the employee. They would more than likely be chosen for a specific case that a lawyer or attorney is working on or may need an expert opinion with. The specialization may also provide higher wage salaries for paralegal employees.
How Much Do Paralegals Make in Colorado?
According to the BLS, the annual mean wage for paralegals in Colorado is $58,350. Colorado is one of the states that has the highest mean salary.
Common salaries of paralegals with specializations are higher than the national average. For instance, the corporate paralegal can earn as much as $75,000 per year; Criminal law and Immigration law paralegals are known to earn as much as $88,000 annually, and Litigation paralegals can earn $72,000 in Colorado. For more information on Career salaries, research your local social networks and job listings on social websites.