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Become a Paralegal in Alaska

They say Alaska is the Last Frontier, but the law is just as essential to the workings of everyday life in Alaska as it is anywhere else. Large oil corporations, lumber companies and companies mining valuable minerals all have demanding legal needs. On the flip side, environmental groups delve into local, state and federal laws in search of legal means to protect unique or diminishing resources and wildlife. In addition, local tribes seek to ensure that their history, customs and land are protected through federal, state and tribal law. In short, Alaska is a state in which someone with the right paralegal skills can find well-paying positions and rewarding personal challenges.

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Featured Programs

*Whether you’re looking to earn an undergraduate degree in preparation for the Certified Paralegal Exam, or ready to advance your career with a master's degree in legal studies, accredited online programs make it easier than ever to get the education you need:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics‘ (BLS), 470 paralegals and legal assistants worked in Alaska in 2012. While that number may seem small for such an expansive state, paralegal salaries are indicative of a profession willing to pay handsomely for the right individual. The hourly mean wage was $27.27 and the annual mean wage was $56,720. For those working in prime positions in larger corporations, wages are often higher; in 2012, some Alaska paralegals made as much as $73,520. In fact, Alaska is the fourth-highest paying state for paralegals and legal assistants, behind only the District of Columbia, California and New Jersey.

Jobs listed on employment search websites such as SimplyHired show not only that paralegal positions are available, but also that a range of positions in numerous fields require or desire someone with paralegal skills and/or a paralegal education. With BLS projecting a nationwide 18 percent increase in paralegal positions between 2010 and 2020, the outlook seems bright and the unique beauty and opportunities found in Alaska make it a promising place for paralegals with the right skills and training.

Paralegal Certification

Licensure or certification is not required for paralegals in Alaska, although the Alaska Association of Paralegals has sought assistance from the Fairbanks Association of Legal Assistants in working toward a voluntary registered paralegal program.

Where to Earn Your Paralegal Certificate or Degree in Alaska

Paralegal Certificates

  • University of Alaska Anchorage

    A four-year public institution, the University of Alaska in Anchorage is located in Alaska’s largest city, in a greenbelt featuring ponds, lakes, wildlife and a citywide trail system. This is the site of the UAA Justice Center, which was established by the Alaska Legislature to provide statewide justice-related education, research and service, and it’s through this center that the university offers a post-baccalaureate certificate in paralegal studies. This program requires at least 24 credits and includes an internship. Students gain technical skills and specialized knowledge through courses that teach legal terminology and foundational principles of substantive and procedural law, as well as document preparation, ethics and how to develop and execute legal research plans.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $4,689 for state residents; $15,048 for non-residents; $7,020 Western Undergraduate Exchange rate (based on 2013-2014 per credit tuition; non-residents who register for no more than four credit hours a semester are charged residency rate)
    • Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree with GPA of 2.0 or higher
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On Campus

    Sample required courses:

    • Introduction to Law
    • Legal Ethics and the Role of the Legal Professional
    • Civil Procedure and Pretrial Practice
    • Evidence, Investigation and Discovery
  • Charter College

    Charter College offers a certificate in paralegal studies at its Anchorage campus. Thanks to this program’s accelerated, year-round schedule, students can earn a certificate in 10 months and be prepared for work in entry-level positions.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $19,700 (based on 2014 full-program tuition)
    • Prerequisites: At least 17 years of age; high school diploma, GED or documentation of an official passing score for an approved ability to benefit test
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: On campus

    Sample Required Courses:

    • Business Law and Ethics
    • American Legal System and Constitutional Law
    • Criminal Law and Evidence
    • Legal Research and Writing

Paralegal Associate Degrees

  • Charter College

    A private career-oriented college, Charter College offers an Associate in Applied Science in paralegal studies at both its Anchorage campus and its Wasilla campus. Students become familiar with legal office operations and computer programs and study family law, real estate law, business law, torts, contracts, evidence and criminal law and procedure. Graduates are prepared to enter the workplace with solid written and oral communication skills, as well as skills in legal research, document preparation and effective reasoning. The “fast track” program can be completed in just over one year. Courses are offered online and supplemented by resources on campus.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $39,400 (based on 2014 full-program tuition)
    • Prerequisites: At least 17 years of age; high school diploma, GED or documentation of an official passing score for an approved ability to benefit test
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: Hybrid (on campus and online)

    Sample Required Courses:

    • Business Law and Ethics
    • American Legal System and Constitutional Law
    • Criminal Law and Evidence
    • Legal Research and Writing
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks

    The University of Alaska Fairbanks is a public institution with seven campuses across the state; it offers an Associate in Applied Science in paralegal studies. This program requires a combination of general education courses and legal courses for a total of 61 credit hours. Students learn basic principles of law, gain practical legal skills and can choose courses in a variety of specialty areas of the law including family law, criminal law, employment and administrative law and probate law.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $10,248 for state residents; $36,600 for out-of-state students (based on 2013-2014 per credit tuition)
    • Prerequisites: High school diploma, GED or 18 years of age
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On Campus

    Sample required courses:

    • Introduction to Paralegal Studies
    • Computers in the Law Office
    • Advanced Legal Writing
    • Introduction to Paralegal Ethics
    • Civil Procedure

Paralegal Bachelor’s Degree

  • University of Alaska Anchorage

    The University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) offers a Bachelor of Arts in legal studies that gives students a broad background in American law and policy, as well as covers the knowledge and technical skills that are needed to work under the supervision of lawyers. This program is suited for those who are seeking careers immediately after graduation and those planning to attend law school.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $21,672 for state residents; $73,512 for out-of state students
    • Prerequisites: High school diploma with GPA of at least 2.5 and completion of either SAT, ACT or a UAA-approved test (high school graduates with GPAs between 2.0 and 2.49 will be admitted on probation) OR successful completion of the GED and completion of the SAT, ACT or a UAA-approved test.
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus

    Sample required courses:

    • The Development of Law
    • The Courts
    • Legal Ethics and the Role of the Legal Professional
    • Criminal Law and Procedure

Professional Organizations

  • The Fairbanks Association of Legal Assistants (FALA) promotes fellowship among its members, fellow members of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and the Fairbanks legal community. Members benefit from support in working toward certification, networking and educational opportunities and a newsletter. Student memberships are available, as are scholarships for those planning to sit for the Certified Legal Assistant/Certified Paralegal (CLA/CP) exam or achieve an Advanced Paralegal Certification (APC).
  • The Alaska Association of Paralegals (AAP) is a nonprofit professional membership association committed to the development and growth of the paralegal profession. A member of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), the AAP holds monthly luncheon meetings, sponsors educational seminars and publishes a monthly newsletter. Student memberships are available.
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