Become a Paralegal in West Virginia

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If you answer a few quick questions, we'll show you paralegal programs that are actively recruiting students with your educational background and location.

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics‘ (BLS) 2012 report showed that 1,920 paralegal and legal assistants were employed in West Virginia. Their annual mean wage was $39,990, but those at the higher end of the scale made as much as $61,950.

*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.


The need for paralegal skills extends beyond positions in law firms. Job postings for positions in a range industries indicate that many employers are looking for those who have completed paralegal education programs, who possess strong analytical and critical thinking skills, who have a knowledge of corporate law and who have experience with legal database systems.

In addition, corporations and government entities alike are looking to reduce costs, and one of the solutions has been the increased use of paralegals in positions that require legal knowledge but do not require a law degree. That helps make the outlook for the paralegal profession a promising one.

Paralegal Certification

There is currently no mandatory licensing or certification for paralegals in West Virginia. However, those with the initiative to gain more skills through education often have greater opportunities.

Where to Earn Your Paralegal Certificate or Degree in West Virginia

Paralegal Certificates

  • Blue Ridge Community and Technical College

    Blue Ridge Community and Technical College has a main campus is Martinsburg and offers a legal office assistant certificate that provide students with skills needed for entry-level positions in the legal field. Since the courses that comprise this program are the same courses that make up the first year of the school’s Associate of Applied Science in paralegal studies, students have the option of entering the workforce upon completion of the certificate or continuing to complete a two-year degree. Graduates from Blue Ridge have gone on to work in prosecutors’ and public defender offices, private law offices, magistrate courts and circuit and district courts.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $3,900 for state residents; $7,020 for out-of-state students (based on fall 2013 per-credit tuition)
    • Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED; ACT, SAT or required placement exam
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: Hybrid (on campus and online)

    Sample required courses:

    • Legal Research & Writing I & II
    • Legal Assisting
    • Criminal Law & Procedure
    • Fundamentals of Speech
  • New River Community and Technical College (NRCTC)

    New River Community and Technical College (NRCTC) offers a legal office assistant Certificate in Technical Studies that gives students the basic knowledge and skills needed to enter the workforce in entry-level legal office positions. This program is offered at four NRCTC campuses: Beckley, Lewisburg, Princeton and Summersville.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $5,256 for state residents; $7,200 for residents of the following Virginia Counties: Buchanan, Tazewell, Bland, Giles, Craig, Alleghany, Highland and Bath; $11,556 for non-residents (based on 2013 per-credit tuition)
    • Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: On campus

    Sample required courses:

    • Machine Transcription
    • Legal Terminology
    • Office Practice and Administration
    • Records Systems
    • Introduction to Legal Assisting

Paralegal Associate Degrees

  • Mountwest Community & Technical College

    Located in Huntington, Mountwest Community and Technical College was named Military Times’ best two-year college for veterans in 2012. Its Paralegal Associate in Applied Science degree was designed in conjunction with the West Virginia State Bar and an advisory committee of attorneys and legal assistants. Students gain knowledge of legal terminology and an understanding of ethical behavior, and learn practical skills that enable them to assist attorneys, including conducting client interviews, legal research and document preparation, in addition to a well-rounded general education. Graduates may enter the workforce or may transfer into the school’s bachelor’s degree program in legal studies.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $10,560 for state residents; $18,288 for residents of certain Ohio and Kentucky counties; $26,838 for non-residents (based on 2014-2015 full-time tuition rates)
    • Prerequisites: High school diploma, GED or age 18 or above and able to benefit from the education offered
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus

    Sample required courses:

    • Fundamentals of Computers (EDGE)
    • General Law
    • Legal Ethics
    • Law Office Technology
  • New River Community and Technical College

    New River Community and Technical College offers a 64-credit hour legal assisting Associate of Science at its Beckley, Lewisburg, Princeton and Summersville campuses. This program was designed keeping in mind the paraprofessional skills an individual needs to work as a legal assistant or paralegal. Students are trained in document preparation, legal research and investigation, and acquire knowledge of law and legal procedures. In addition, graduates enter the workforce with a solid general education. Legal assisting classes are usually offered in the evening.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $6,920 for state residents; $9,588 for residents of the following Virginia Counties: Buchanan, Tazewell, Bland, Giles, Craig, Alleghany, Highland and Bath; $15,344 for non-residents (based on 2013-2014 per-semester tuition for full-time students)
    • Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: On campus

    Sample required courses:

    • Westlaw Research
    • Administrative Agency Advocacy
    • Legal Assisting
    • American Government/Economy
  • West Virginia Junior College (WVJC)

    West Virginia Junior College (WVJC) was established in 1892. Its associate degree in legal assisting, offered at its campuses in Bridgeport and Charleston, prepares students to understand and interpret the law, interview clients and witnesses, conduct basic title examinations, use investigation techniques, use Lexis/Nexis software for online legal research, navigate the state and federal court systems, analyze criminal cases and the U.S. Constitution and draft and prepare litigation documents, contracts, deeds and wills. The program’s externship allows students to gain real-world experience and apply the skills they learn in the classroom. The program is also designed to prepare students for national certification exams.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $25,250 (based on 2013 full-program tuition)
    • Prerequisites: Open admissions policy
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: On campus

Paralegal Bachelor’s Degree

  • American Military University/American Public University

    American Military University is a member of the American Public University System. Created in 1991, it provides flexible online educational programs not only to members of the military, but also to working adults around the world. Its online Bachelor of Science in legal studies provides students with a general education, along with a core knowledge of the legal system. Courses cover basic legal issues, specialty areas of the law and historical events and figures that have influenced the current judicial system. Students also learn legal research and document preparation.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $30,500 (based on 2013 full-program tuition)
    • Prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: Online

    AMU and APU also offer an Undergraduate Certificate in Paralegal Studies ($6,000), as well as an Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies ($15,500).

Additional Paralegal Educational Programs

Professional Organizations

  • Legal Assistants/Paralegals of Southern West Virginia (LAPSWV) promotes high standards and networking resources for paralegals and legal assistants. LAPSWV works alongside bar associations and law-related organizations, provides opportunities for continuing education and participates in charitable programs. Student members are welcome and LAPSWV sponsors three scholarships.
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