Are you wondering how to become a paralegal in Hawaii? First, it is essential to understand that Hawaii has set forth no legal requirements regarding paralegal degrees and education options for aspiring paralegals in the Aloha State. It is noted that a paralegal in Hawaii must be –
- At least 18 years old
- A US Citizen or a Legal Alien
- Comply with the legal industry’s ethical standards
However, pursuant to Hawaii’s Rule 5.3 – The Rule of Professional Conduct requires that any paraprofessional in the legal field – which includes paralegals and legal assistants, are required to be directly supervised by an attorney licensed by the Hawaii State Bar Association. Additionally, the supervising attorney must also assume responsibility for those paralegals they employ. It is also essential to understand that most employers will require that the paralegal pass a background check.
Because there are no state-mandated requirements, prospective paralegals have several paths to take to become professional paralegals. Some may begin as legal secretaries and be offered training on the job. However, aspiring paralegals will significantly increase their employment chances by earning a campus-based or online paralegal degree from one of the paralegal schools in Hawaii, obtaining certification at the national level, and joining a paralegal professional organization.
However, finding a paralegal job is significantly more challenging without holding a campus-based or online paralegal degree from a qualified school.
What are the Major Cities in Hawaii?
The largest city in Hawaii is Honolulu, with a population that exceeds 341,000 as of 2021. East Honolulu is the second largest, with Pearl City, Hilo, and Waipahu rounding out the top five largest cities in the state.
Campus & Online Paralegal Degree & Certificate Programs
Whether a student wishes to earn an undergraduate paralegal studies degree to prepare for national certification or is ready to further their paralegal career, accredited online paralegal programs offer more options than ever to find the paralegal degree program that meets your career objectives.
Many certificates and paralegal degree programs are an excellent stepping-stone for paralegals just starting their careers. The shortest length program for paralegals would be the certificate, which requires 30 to 50 credits, depending on the school. In addition, these are the available types of paralegal degree programs in Hawaii –
- An associate degree in paralegal studies – completed in two years.
- A bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies – completed in four years. This is offered as –
- A paralegal degree program for those who have previously earned their baccalaureate degree
- A paralegal degree program for those without any prior post-secondary education
Paralegal professionals may choose to further their education with a graduate degree in paralegal studies.
Most Hawaii paralegal programs, especially those with accreditation from the American Bar Association (ABA), will mandate that each student complete an internship to gain practical and real-world experience. Still, others seek to volunteer as a paralegal work in these organizations –
- Hawaii State Bar Association Legal Assistance
- Hawaii Disability Rights Center
- Legal Aid Society of Hawaii
- Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation
After graduating from an on-campus or online paralegal degree program, paralegals have the option of becoming certified.
National Certification for Paralegals
Those interested can choose to obtain voluntary national certification, demonstrating their command of the profession.
- The CLA/CP certification provided by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)
- The PACE or the PCCE certification provided by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA)
- The PP certification provided by the Association for Legal Professionals (NALS)
State Paralegal Related Associations
Hawaii Court Information
Courts.State.HI.us – The Hawaii State Judiciary maintains a website for every court within the state.
Paralegal Salary Information for Hawaii
Paralegals are considered integral legal team members, with salaries and responsibilities that may vary depending on the position and employer.
According to BLS’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median annual wage for the nearly 346,000 paralegals in May 2020 was $52,920. This calculates to $25.44 per hour.
To provide some perspective, this is the expected range of salaries for paralegals.
|Salary Percentile for Paralegals||Paralegal
|Paralegal Hourly Wage|
|Median – 50%||$ 52,920||$25.44|
The median yearly salary for the more than 1,000 legal assistants & paralegals in Hawaii working in 2020 was $55,520, which falls above the national median wage for paralegals. Nearly 90% of the paralegals working in Hawaii were employed in the greater Honolulu metropolitan area.