In a state like Arkansas, where there are many rural communities with a handful of busy cities, often the path to a professional career goes through programs like a paralegal certificate or degree. Working adults and prospective students of all backgrounds can find the right Arkansas paralegal program for their needs if they know where to look
When a person is looking for paralegal programs in Arkansas, he or she needs to carefully look at the options in his or her area. Then, he or she needs to narrow down those selections to only ABA-approved paralegal programs in Arkansas. These programs are ones that receive the approval of the American Bar Association. The schools they designated with this accreditation are ones that pass a certain level of standards. They’re schools that are known to provide a student with all the education he or she needs to be successful as a paralegal.
How We Ranked the Best Paralegal Programs in Arkansas
Online Paralegal Programs editors want future paralegal professionals to find the right programs for their needs – programs that will help them improve their lives with a professional career. That’s why OPP features accredited, trustworthy institutions, ranked according to practical factors including cost, potential salary, and student satisfaction. Data comes from IPEDS and Niche.
1. University of Arkansas at Fort Smith
The University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, through the Western Arkansas Technical Center, offers one of the best and most affordable paralegal programs in Arkansas with its Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree program Paralegal Studies. UA Fort Smith’s paralegal studies can be finished in two years and include classes in legal ethics, civil procedure, legal research and writing, family law, and employment law, plus a paralegal internship, to name a few. It is noted that courses completed in UA Fort Smith’s paralegal studies program can be applied to the university’s technical certificate award.
The University of Arkansas at Fort Smith was established in 1928. UA Fort Smith’s suburban campus is home to approximately 6,550 students. UA Fort Smith is a member school of the state’s university system. UA Fort Smith offers in-state tuition to residents of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Missouri.
Program: Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
2. Pulaski Technical College
Pulaski Technical College offers two paralegal programs in Arkansas with its technical certificate in legal secretarial and its AAS – Associate of Applied Science degree in Paralegal Technology. The paralegal technology requires degree candidates to finish 61 semester credits, whereas the certificate requires the completion of 29 semester units. Coursework for these paralegal programs includes legal terminology, torts, legal research & writing, wills, trust & probate, trial practice, bankruptcy law, real estate law, legal ethics, and commercial law, plus an internship.
Pulaski Technical College (UA PTC) is a member school of Arkansas’ university system with multiple campuses through the counties of Saline and Pulaski. Established in 1945, UA PTC serves approximately 6,550 students. Pulaski Technical College’s main campus overlooks the Arkansas River in Western North Little Rock.
Program: Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Technology
Technical Certificate | Legal Secretarial
3. NorthWest Arkansas Community College
Northwest Arkansas Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies that is recognized among the most affordable paralegal programs in Arkansas. Students graduate from Northwest Arkansas Community College’s paralegal degree program to find rewarding work in law firms, financial companies, legal departments of corporations, and real estate companies, to name a few. Classes for this paralegal degree include family law, civil litigation, legal ethics, legal research, and computers in the law, plus a paralegal internship, among others.
Founded in 1989, Northwest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) is a community college that offers a variety of associate degree options. Northwest Arkansas Community College’s student enrollment online and at the Bentonville campus is approximately 8,250 students. Northwest Arkansas Community College offers more than 50 academic and certificate programs serving the central Arkansas area.
Program: Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
4. National Park College
National Park College offers a certificate program in basic business law that is among the most affordable paralegal programs in Arkansas. The certificate in business law requires students to complete 12 semester units in classes that include business law, legal systems and terminology , human resource management, and introduction business. Students must keep a 2.0 GPA (Grade Point Average) to meet graduation requirements. Students that are new to National Park College are required to complete an orientation course and an LMS (Learning Management System) training course.
National Park College (National Park) was established when two higher learning institutions merged in 2003. This community college in Hot Springs is home to about 2,650 students, one of the state’s largest two-year schools. National Park College is less than one hour from downtown Little Rock.
Program: Technical Certificate | Paralegal
5. Southeast Arkansas College
Southeast Arkansas College offers one of the most affordable paralegal programs in Arkansas with its 24 hour paralegal technology course that is available as a self-paced course (about three months in length) or an instructor-led course (about six weeks in length). Covered topics for this paralegal technology program include torts, legal terminology, legal interviewing, appellate procedure, and investigating legal matters, to name a few. Each paralegal course option offers a variety of start times, with the self-paced version available to students at any time.
Southeast Arkansas College (SEARK) was established as a technical college in 1995, which was redefined by law in 1991. The school’s Pine Bluff campus is home to approximately 1,825 students. Southeast Arkansas College, in partnership with the local campus in Pine Bluff of the University of Arkansas to offer transfer opportunities for students seeking a four-year degree.
Program: Paralegal Technology
How Do I Choose a Paralegal Program in Arkansas?
Keep in mind that many employers will require an applicant to complete one of the ABA-approved paralegal programs in Arkansas.
A person should also look into the student-to-teacher ratio. This ratio gives a person an idea of what kind of help he or she will receive while he or she is in school. Additionally, when an individual is looking into paralegal programs in Arkansas, he or she should evaluate what the ranking of the school is. A person should also compare the graduation rates to see if a majority of students complete the program at that school. It’s beneficial to look at the percentage of students who take the BAR after the program and pass it.
Besides digging on each school’s website for information, a person should also read any reviews available for each school to get a general idea if students are happy.
If price is a factor, it’s important to look at the cost of each program as well as part of the comparison process of paralegal programs in Arkansas.
How is the Job Market for Paralegals in Arkansas?
Fortunately, as noted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of jobs for paralegals is expected to grow by 10 percent from 2019 to 2029. This projected growth rate is 10 percent faster than average when compared to other professions. However, this doesn’t give a person a specific look at if paralegal jobs in Arkansas will be easy to find. It also doesn’t give a person a look at if paralegal jobs in Arkansas will continue to flourish over the years, which is particularly important if a person isn’t interested in moving from the state any time soon. Specifically, paralegal jobs in Arkansas will grow throughout the years.
As of May 2019, the BLS noted that there were approximately 2,060 paralegal jobs in Arkansas. While the number of paralegal jobs in Arkansas doesn’t rank as the highest on the list when compared to states like California, Florida, New York, and Texas, this is a considerable number of jobs when a person factors in Arkansas’ population.
Generally, when looking for paralegal jobs, Arkansas paralegals should steer toward larger cities for employment. These areas are the ones that have the highest number of jobs in the state, although it’s still possible to find jobs in smaller towns for paralegals because a person can look anywhere that has attorneys. It’s also possible to find paralegal jobs in northwest Arkansas, paralegal jobs in Fayetteville Arkansas, and paralegal jobs in Little Rock Arkansas through the government. In addition, paralegal jobs in northwest Arkansas, paralegal jobs in Fayetteville Arkansas, and paralegal jobs in Little Rock Arkansas are also available at management companies and even grant-giving services, just to name a few examples.
How Much Do Paralegals Make in Arkansas?
According to statistics provided by the BLS, a person who works as a paralegal can make a lucrative salary. While the paralegal salary in Arkansas is slightly different, the BLS reported that the average paralegal salary in the United States is $55,020 per year. This figure is equivalent to $26.45 per hour.
Specifically, if a person wants to know what the average paralegal salary in Arkansas is, he or she should know that the BLS stated that the average paralegal salary in Arkansas is $40,820. this average paralegal salary in Arkansas is $19.63 per hour. While the paralegal salary in Arkansas is lower than the national average, the cost of living in the state of Arkansas is less than in many other states throughout the United States. As a result, the average income for jobs in the state tends to be a little lower than the national average in various fields.
A person should also take into consideration that the average paralegal salary in Arkansas can be much higher if a person works in certain parts of the state. The average paralegal salary will also increase over time if a person takes on leadership roles or just gains valuable experience as a paralegal. It’s also important to know that certain specialties of law pay paralegals more than the average because these areas of law require an understanding of more complex scope of the law. Moreover, a person may earn a higher wage if he or she works in a different type of facility than a law office.