Become a Paralegal in North Carolina

North Carolina is among the top 13 states for employment of paralegals and legal assistants, with over 9,700 of these professionals working there in 2012. According to 2012 figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, top paralegals in the state make as much as $61,000 per year. The annual mean wage for North Carolina paralegals is $41,740 and even those working part time can make as much as $25,780.

North Carolina is home to 14 Fortune 500 companies, including Bank Of America Corp., Lowe’s, Goodrich, Reynolds American and Nucor. These big businesses and others need people with paralegal skills, as do legal firms throughout the state.

Paralegal Certification

Paralegal certification is a voluntary program offered through the North Carolina State Bar. A plan for certifying paralegals was approved by the state bar and adopted by the state supreme court in 2004.

Where to Earn Your Paralegal Certificate or Degree in North Carolina

Paralegal Certificates

  • Central Piedmont Community College

    Located in Charlotte, Central Piedmont Community College offers a paralegal technology diploma program for students who already have an undergraduate degree and want to expand their knowledge and increase their practical skills. Courses are comprised of lecture and lab hours, and students take part in a co-op work experience. Students study basic law, research, legal writing, public speaking and numerous areas of specialty law, and can complete the program through day or evening courses.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $2,932 for state residents; $10,804 for out-of-state students (based on fall 2013 per credit tuition)
    • Prerequisites: high school diploma or equivalent; bachelor’s degree
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus or hybrid (on campus and online)

    Sample required courses:

    • Introduction to Paralegal Study
    • Legal Research/Writing I & II
    • Civil Litigation I & II
    • Commercial Law
    • Real Property
  • Meredith College

    Meredith College, located in Raleigh, offers a flexible, graduate paralegal certificate program that’s approved North Carolina State Bar and that can be completed in two semesters of three-day-a-week evening classes. Students choose from three areas of concentration: civil litigation, business organizations and real estate. The average class size is 20 students, allowing students to build relationships with both peers and professors. Meredith offers job placement assistance during and after the program.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $5,786 (based on 2013-2014 full-program tuition)
    • Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus

    Sample required courses:

    • Legal Survey
    • Legal Research
    • Law Office Management & Professional Responsibility

Paralegal Associate Degrees

  • Pitt Community College

    Pitt Community College‘s Associate in Applied Science in paralegal technology is a flexible program that students can complete through day or evening classes; some courses are also available online. Students are prepared to join the work force as they learn the skills vital to supporting attorneys and working in paralegal positions in corporations and government entities.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $5,363 for state residents; $19,763 for out-of-state students (based on 2013-2014 per-credit tuition)
    • Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus or hybrid (on campus and online)

    Sample required courses:

    • Argument Based Research
    • Critical Thinking
    • Civil Injuries
    • Legal Research & Writing
    • Criminal Law & Procedure
  • Carteret Community College

    Located in Morehead City, on the beautiful east coast of North Carolina, Carteret Community College (CCC) offers an Associate in Applied Science in paralegal technology. Students gain a thorough knowledge of civil litigation, legal research and writing, real estate, family law, wills, estates, trusts, and commercial law, preparing them for entry-level positions in legal settings.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $5,148 for state residents; $18,972 for out-of-state students (based on 2013-2014 per-credit tuition)
    • Prerequisites: High school diploma or 18 years of age or older
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus

    Sample required courses:

    • Commercial Law
    • Criminal Law
    • Civil Litigation I
    • Real Property I
    • Expository Writing
    • Prof Research & Reporting

Paralegal Bachelor’s Degrees

  • Post University Online

    Post University‘s Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies explores how the law intersects with society, business and government. Classes are interactive, offered in eight-week modules six times a year, and faculty members have advanced degrees and real-world legal experience. Technical assistance for this online program is available by phone, chat and email 24 hours a day.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $66,000 (based on 2013 full-program tuition)
    • Prerequisites: High school diploma, GED or completion of home-school program; enrolled in or have successfully completed at least 16 credits in a college preparatory program
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: Online

    Sample required courses:

    • Introduction to Communications
    • Introduction to Computing
    • Introduction to Law
    • Environmental Law & Practice
    • E-Commerce: The Legal Context
    • Legal Research
  • South College – Asheville

    South College – Asheville strives to provide students with the professional and technical knowledge and skills necessary to enter today’s job market. This school’s Bachelor of Science in legal studies program is approved by both the North Carolina State Bar and the American Bar Association. Students acquire skills and knowledge in critical thinking, public speaking, research, writing, substantive law, specialized areas of the law and more.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $68,400 (based on 2013-2014 per-quarter tuition)
    • Prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent; satisfactory ACT, SAT or entrance exam score
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus

    Sample required courses:

    • Contract Law
    • Ethics for Paralegals
    • Evidence Law
    • Business Organizations
    • Law and Technology

Additional Paralegal Educational Programs

Professional Organizations

  • The North Carolina State Bar (NCSB) is an agency of the North Carolina Supreme Court that regulates attorneys and has a voluntary certification program for paralegals.
  • The Metrolina Paralegal Association is based in Charlotte and provides opportunities for paralegal education and networking. Members can attend monthly lunch meetings as well as semiannual continuing education conferences, and have access to a job bank.
  • The North Carolina Paralegal Association maintains a job bank and is active in facilitating continuing legal education. They also publish a quarterly magazine, “NCPA Forum” and a periodic newsletter, “The Amicus.”
  • The Guilford Paralegal Association provides information and support to paralegals in Guilford County, North Carolina.
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