As home to many cities with booming business, oil, and tech economies – and one of the best cities for paralegals, Dallas – many career-changing adults and prospective legal professionals in Texas are considering a paralegal program. Before embarking on the paralegal career path with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, though, future paralegals should know the process.
Paralegal Requirements In Texas: Education
Texas paralegal requirements at the minimum d0 not require a specific degree, but it is highly encouraged in the legal profession that those who want to pursue this career gain an associate’s or bachelor’s degree that is American Bar Association (ABA) approved before pursuing this position.
For students seeking one of these ABA-approved programs, they can choose either an Associate level program or a Bachelor of Legal Studies program. Depending on their current level of education, these students may continue to advance any education they may have by pursuing the next level. Most of these programs will also accept transfer work, allowing students to be compensated for previous education and minimize their overall costs for the program.
These programs come in various formats for students to accommodate their schedule and daily lives. Students have the option to pursue an online degree option at many of these institutions or even a hybrid program that hosts most of the program online and require some in-class attendance. Hybrid courses or even on-campus program options are available for students in the evenings and weekends so that they are able to continue as working professionals while gaining their education.
Obtain A Texas Paralegal License
Gaining a paralegal certification in Texas is not always connected to a paralegal program. It is also not required to work in Texas; however, it makes the student more marketable to employers (and earn higher pay). In order to obtain national paralegal certification, students must apply for national certification and pass one of the four available tests for certification:
These exams are offered by various associations and are awarded in conjunction with both work experience and with the education provided during the application.
In order to gain Texas Paralegal Licensure through the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, students must have completed a minimum of 30 hours in legal studies courses, focusing on a legal specialty such as the following:
- Bankruptcy law
- Civil trial law
- Criminal law
- Estate Planning and Probate Law
- Family Law
- Personal Injury Law
Each of these areas offers a specific Paralegal exam that will issue certification in that area upon successful completion of the exam. Also, the TBS Texas Paralegal licensure requires that Paralegals have a minimum of 5 years’ experience in the legal field before applying for Paralegal certification in Texas. This certification is ideal for Paralegals who want to focus and have a specialty focus in their career.
Searching For Jobs With A Texas Paralegal Certification
When searching for jobs after obtaining a Texas Paralegal Certification, it is essential that these professionals take advantage of the twenty-plus Paralegal associations in the state of Texas. Gaining a membership with these associations provides students resources and access to the leading jobs across the state. They seek out job opportunities that are posted in the metro areas of the state and even rural positions that are closer to students geographically.
The paralegal job market in Texas is expected to continue a growth pattern, with the current number of paralegals employed in the state to increase over 20%. Finding employment after gaining Texas paralegal certification is not as difficult as other professions. This is in conjunction with the growing need of attorneys and lawyers across the various law specialties.
After completing the Texas paralegal requirements and obtaining Texas Paralegal certification, students should ensure that this licensure is posted on their resumes before applying to open job positions. The State Bar of Texas also updates jobs for all legal positions throughout the state of Texas, giving students the access they need to find competitive and reputable positions within the legal field.