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Become a Paralegal in Arkansas

In 2012 paralegals in Arkansas made an annual mean wage of $38,290, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also reported that 1,390 paralegals and legal assistants were working in Arkansas that year. Paralegals with more experience and education are often hired for more desirable positions; with higher salaries and often overtime, they made as much as $54,900 per year.

The BLS also predicts an 18 percent increase in paralegal jobs nationwide from 2010 to 2020. This reflects the growing need for individuals with paralegal skills not only in law firms, but in government, court systems, insurance companies, the criminal justice arena and large corporations. Hiring paralegals is seen as a highly cost-effective move on the part of employers as it allows them to obtain quality legal services while lowering costs.

Paralegal Certification

There is no mandatory certification or licensing of paralegals in the state of Arkansas.

Where to Earn Your Paralegal Certificate or Degree in Arkansas

Paralegal Certificate

  • National Park Community College (NPCC)

    National Park Community College is located in the beautiful Ouachita Mountains just outside of Hot Springs National Park. This school’s 36-credit hour paralegal technical certificate prepares graduates for entry-level work in today’s legal environment. In conjunction with general education, computer and business courses, students learn the basics of civil and criminal law and develop the skills needed to research and analyze legal issues and prepare legal documents.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $3,060 for Garland County residents; $3,420 for out-of-county state residents; $4,824 for out-of-state students; $7,128 for international students (based on fall 2013 per-credit tuition)
    • Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED; ACT, SAT, ACCESS or COMPASS scores
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: On campus or hybrid (on campus and online)

    Sample required courses:

    • Introduction to Criminal Justice
    • Machine Transcription
    • Information Systems I
    • Legal Systems & Terminology
    • Legal Research & Writing I & II

Paralegal Associate Degrees

  • NorthWest Arkansas Community College (NWACC)

    Founded in 1989, NorthWest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) is a public two-year institution with about 8,300 students and another 6,000 taking non-credit and enrichment courses. Its Associate of Applied Science in paralegal studies is a 62- to 64-credit program with a well-rounded general education base and a core of legal studies courses that prepare students for the workplace. Students develop communication skills and receive practical lessons in legal research, writing and technology. NWACC provides internship placement assistance to help students gain real-world experience. Both day and evening classes are available.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $4,800 for district residents; $7,840 for out-of-district state residents and contiguous county residents; $21,438 for out-of-state and international students (based on 2013-2014 per-credit tuition)
    • Prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus

    Sample required courses:

    • Torts
    • Contracts
    • Public Speaking
    • Civil Litigation
  • Pulaski Technical College

    Located in North Little Rock, Pulaski Technical College (PTC) offers an Associate of Applied science in paralegal technology. Students learn legal principles and gain practical experience in legal writing, ethical legal practice, professional responsibility and organization of legal ideas and factual materials.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $5,795 for state residents; $9,333 for out-of-state students (based on 2013-2014 per-credit tuition)
    • Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED; ACT reading score of at least 13, COMPASS reading score of at least 62 or ASSET reading score of at least 35
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: Hybrid (on campus and online)

    Sample required courses:

    • Legal Terminology
    • Introduction to Law
    • Microcomputer Applications I
    • Legal Research and Writing I & II
    • Torts
  • Southeast Arkansas College (SAC)

    Students who complete the Paralegal Technology program at Southeast Arkansas College in Pine Bluff are eligible to take the National Association of Legal Assistants Examination to become Certified Legal Assistants. Graduates receive an Associate of Applied Science degree and are qualified for entry-level paralegal positions. Low tuition rates make this program a good choice for individuals seeking paralegal skills on a budget.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $4,920 for state residents; $9,840 for out-of-state students (based on 2013-2014 per-credit tuition)
    • Requirements: High school diploma or GED
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: On campus or hybrid (on campus and online)

    Sample required courses:

    • Legal Systems and Terminology
    • Legal Research
    • Legal Writing
    • Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • University of Arkansas (UA) – Fort Smith

    Located near the border of Arkansas and Oklahoma, the University of Arkansas-Forth Smith is a four-year public institution. Its Associate of Applied Science in legal assistance/paralegal is designed to prepare students to work under the supervision of attorneys. Students gain an understanding of both civil and criminal law, learn legal theory and gain practical paralegal skills. Through the school’s internship program, students gain experience at sites such as USA Trucking, the U.S. attorney’s office and the Sebastian County prosecuting attorney’s office. Day and evening courses are available, and tuition is relatively affordable.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $8,645 for state residents; $23,660 for out-of-state students (based on spring 2014 per credit tuition)
    • Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus

    Sample required courses:

    • Introduction to Law
    • Legal Research
    • Criminal Law
    • Business Organizations
    • Trial Practice

Paralegal Bachelor’s Degree

  • Post University – Online

    Founded over 120 years ago in Waterbury, Connecticut and ranking 19th on U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 list of Best Online Bachelor’s Programs, Post University has sought to continually adapt. It offers a online Bachelor of Science in legal studies that allows students to study anytime and anywhere, receiving a liberal arts education with a legal studies foundation. The program is career oriented, with small classes taught by faculty members with real-world experience. Post University provides one-on-one tutoring at no additional cost and students can access technical help 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $66,000 (based on 2013-2014 full-program tuition)
    • Requirements: High school diploma or GED
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: Online

    Sample required courses:

    • Introduction to Law
    • Family Law and Practice
    • Legal Research
    • Estate Administration and Probate Practice

Professional Organizations

  • The Arkansas Paralegal Alliance, Inc. (APA) is comprised of paralegals from across the state of Arkansas. It strives to encourage high standards in the profession, establish fellowship among members, provide educational opportunities and work with bar associations to promote the appropriate use of paralegals in law firms, government and business. In addition to regular meetings, it holds an annual educational seminar and other continuing education and networking opportunities. Student membership is offered.
  • The Arkansas Paralegal Association (ArPA) promotes the paralegal profession, as well as inclusion and diversity in the legal field. Members can take advantage of educational opportunities and job postings. Student members are welcome.
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