Become a Paralegal in Colorado

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In May 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were 5,610 paralegals in Colorado with an average mean wage of $50,480 or $24.27 per hour. The majority of them work in the larger cities and, on average, earn slightly higher incomes. Over two-thirds of the state’s paralegals (4,110) can be found in the Denver-Aurora-Broomfield area, where the annual mean wage was $52,380. South of Denver, in Colorado Springs, 470 paralegals were employed and the annual mean wage was $43,580.

*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:

Washington University School of Law offers an online Master of Legal Studies (MLS) program. This 12-month master's degree allows paralegals to gain in-depth knowledge of US Law. The program can be completed without relocating or leaving your job. No GRE or LSAT scores required.

Denver is the state capitol and serves as the financial hub of the state. Human Resource firms such as SimplyHired show that paralegal skills, certificates and degrees are not just in demand for law firms, but also for positions within Fortune 500 companies and real estate firms.

It’s important to remember that many paralegals work long hours and acquire a good deal of overtime. So, a paralegal in Colorado can make as much as $75,000 or even more.

Paralegal Certification

There is no state regulation regarding certification for paralegals in the state of Colorado. However, the Colorado Bar Association Paralegal Committee developed Guidelines for the Utilization of Paralegals, which provide a general framework of potential tasks that can or should be performed by a paralegal and serve as a guide for the efficient delivery of legal services.

Where to Earn Your Paralegal Certificate or Degree

Paralegal Certificates

  • The Community College of Aurora

    The Community College of Aurora is an affordable two-year community college, with campuses in Aurora and Denver. Its paralegal certificate course of study provides an excellent opportunity for individuals already in the workplace to expand their career knowledge for better job placement, and allows those just starting their education to lay the groundwork for a bachelor’s degree program.

    This certificate program requires 30 credit hours in paralegal coursework, plus an additional 30 credit hours of academic course work, including 18 hours of general education. Student who have have already completed an approved associate degree program only need to complete the 30 hours in paralegal courses to earn their certificate.

    • Estimated Tuition: $3,385 ($6,765 with additional 30 credit hours) for state residents; $14,987 ($29,895 with 30 additional credit hours) for non-residents (based on 2013-14 per credit hour fees after the College Opportunity Fund stipend)
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Requirements: Assessment tests, scores from ACT, SAT or ACCUPLACER exams taken with the past five years, evidence of an Associate of Arts degree or higher OR evidence of a C or higher in prior college-level English and math courses.
    • Format: On-campus or hybrid (only select online courses are ABA approved)

    Sample required courses:

    • Introduction to Law
    • Torts
    • Criminal Law
    • Contracts
    • Civil Litigation
    • Legal Research and Writing
  • Arapahoe Community College

    Arapahoe Community College is a two-year community college. The Paralegal Certificate, offered at its Littleton campus, requires 30 credit hours of major courses in the legal field; an additional six elective credit hours are also required.

    • Estimated Tuition: $5,345 for state residents; $18,694 for non-residents (based on the per credit fees for fall 2013). Because tuition costs are subject to change, it is suggested that you consult the fee schedule on the Arapahoe Community College website.
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Requirements: A college degree from a regionally accredited college or university OR chair approval based on at least five years of law-related work experience.
    • Format: On-campus or hybrid

    Sample required courses:

    • Legal Analysis
    • Computers and the Law
    • Introduction to Law
    • Torts
    • Legal Research
    • Cooperative Education
  • Front Range Community College

    Front Range Community College offers a 30-credit hour Legal Assistant Certificate program at its Larimer and Westminster campuses with some courses offered online. Designed for individuals seeking a more rewarding career, this program allows students to develop the technical skills needed to assist attorneys in an increasingly competitive workplace.

    • Estimated Tuition: $3,585 for state residents; $14,709 for non-residents (based on the per credit fees for 2013-2014)
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Requirements: Open admissions policy. Assessment testing is required
    • Format: Hybrid

    Sample required courses:

    • Introduction to Law
    • Civil Litigation
    • Legal Research
    • E-Discovery and Litigation Technology
  • Pikes Peak Community College

    Since it first opened its doors as El Paso Community College 45 years ago, Pikes Peak Community College has grown in size, expanded its programs and achieved a reputation for providing a quality affordable education, making it an excellent institution for those returning to school for more skills or to use as a stepping stone to a four-year degree. This institution’s paralegal certificate can be completed in only 39 credit hours.

    • Estimated Tuition: $4,661 for state residents; $19,122 for non-residents (based on per credit fees for on campus classes for 2013-2014, factoring in College Opportunity Fund stipend)
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Requirements: Open to anyone 17 years and older. Students are required to take a computer science course prior to paralegal courses, or if proficient, to get a waiver. College preparatory courses are also required.
    • Format: On-campus or online

    Sample required courses:

    • Computers and the Law
    • Introduction to Law
    • Torts
    • Legal Research
    • Legal Ethics

Paralegal Associate Degrees

  • The Community College of Aurora

    The Community College of Aurora offers two associate degrees for aspiring paralegals: an Associate of General Studies and Associate of Applied Science. Each requires 30 hours of paralegal courses and an additional 30 semester hours in general education courses.

    • Estimated Tuition: $6,765 for state residents; $29,895 for non-residents (based on 2013-14 per credit hour fees after the College Opportunity Fund stipend). Because tuition costs are subject to change, it is suggested that you consult the fee schedule on the Arapahoe Community College website.
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Requirements: Assessment tests, scores from ACT, SAT or ACCUPLACER exams taken with the past five years, evidence of an Associate of Arts Degree or higher OR evidence of a C or higher in prior college-level English and math courses.
    • Format:On-campus or hybrid (only select online courses are ABA approved)

    Sample required courses:

    • Intro to Law
    • Torts
    • Contracts
    • Civil Litigation
    • Legal Research & Writing I
  • Arapahoe Community College

    The Associate of Applied Science Degree at Arapahoe Community College provides students with a solid foundation of basic legal knowledge, and allows them to develop the practical skills needed to assist licensed attorneys.

    • Estimated Tuition: $8,908 for state residents; $31,156 for non-residents (based on per credit fees for fall 2013). Because fees are subject to change, it is suggested that you consult the more detailed fee schedule on the Arapahoe Community College website.
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Requirements: Open admissions policy for those age 17 and older. Admission to the program also requires qualifying ACCUPLACER sentence skills and reading scores or completion of a college-level English course with a grade of “C” or better.
    • Format: On-Campus

    Sample required courses:

    • Legal Analysis
    • Torts
    • Contracts
    • Property Law
    • Civil Litigation
    • Legal Research
  • Front Range Community College

    Front Range Community College‘s Associate of Applied Science in paralegal studies program is offered at its Larimer and Westminster campuses with some courses offered online. This course of study stresses preparing the student for real-world situations, whether they’re just entering the competitive paralegal field, or are already assisting attorneys in the workplace and looking to upgrade their skills.

    • Estimated Tuition: $7,170 for state residents; $29,418 for non-residents (based on the per credit fees for 2013-2014)
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Requirements: Open admissions policy. Assessment testing is required: students who place into ENG 121 (or above), MAT 090 (or above), and REA 090 (or above) may begin this program of study.
    • Format: Hybrid

    Sample of required courses:

    • Introduction to Law
    • Torts
    • Contracts
    • Property Law
    • Legal Ethics
    • E-Discovery and Litigation Technology
    • Business Organizations

Professional Organizations

  • The Rocky Mountain Paralegal Association is a charter member of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, and is headquartered in Denver. It represents paralegals throughout the Rocky Mountain region, serving those in Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. In addition to being employed by law firms, corporations and government agencies, its members volunteer and provide pro bono legal assistance in the community.
  • Pike’s Peak Paralegals is an affiliate of NALA. This non-partisan, non-profit association advances legal education, cooperates with organized bar associations to help formulate programs for legal assistants and works to establish good fellowship within the legal community.
  • The Colorado Bar Association works to improve the quality of legal practice, to support and improve the justice system and to support the community through volunteer work and education. Associate memberships are open to paralegals.
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