Become a Paralegal in Alabama

As of May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that there were 4,130 paralegals working in Alabama. During this time, the average salary for these legal professionals was $49,150, or $23.63 per hour, while those with extensive experience, industry credentials, and specialized knowledge in one or more areas of law earned about $71,390, or $34.32 per hour, which represents the top 10% in the profession.

Manufacturing in Alabama continues to reign supreme, accounting for 17.18% of the total state GDP and employing 13% of the workforce as of 2020, according to the National Association of Manufacturers. This all translates to more legal activity and paralegals support that activity in a big way. The future looks good for paralegals in Alabama!

Alabama Paralegal Certification

Although there is no mandatory certification or licensing of paralegals in the state of Alabama, paralegals who have earned certificates or degrees are in positions to benefit the most from the business upturns in Alabama.

Where to Earn Your Paralegal Certificate or Degree in Alabama

Paralegal Certificates

  • Auburn University at Montgomery (AUM)

    A four-year public institution, Auburn University at Montgomery (AUM) offers a paralegal certificate program. Unlike many paralegal certificate programs, AUM’s course of study is enhanced with general education requirements in addition to legal specialty courses. This 60-semester hour program prepares students for careers in the legal community, business and government through courses that teach both theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Graduates are prepared to take the Certified Legal Assistant or Registered Paralegal examination.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $16,200 for state residents; $48,600 for out-of-state students (based on 2013-2014 per-credit tuition)
    • Prerequisites: Minimum GPA of 2.3 or higher; minimum composite ACT score of 18 or SAT score of 860 (excluding the writing portion)
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus or hybrid (on campus and online)

    Sample required courses:

    • Legal Research
    • Legal Writing
    • Civil Litigation
    • Alternative Dispute Resolution
    • Computer Applications in Law
  • Enterprise State Community College

    Enterprise State Community College offers cost-effective programs and was ranked among the top 10 percent of community colleges nationwide. Its 28-credit paralegal/legal assistant short-term certificate gives students the basic legal knowledge and skills needed to assist professionals in law offices.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $3,108 for in-state students; $6,216 for out-of-state students (based on 2013-2014 per-credit tuition)
    • Prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: On campus; select courses available online

    Sample required courses:

    • Legal & Social Environment of Business
    • Criminal Law & Procedure
    • Introduction to Paralegal Study
    • Basic Legal Research & Writing

Paralegal Associate Degrees

  • Faulkner University

    Faulkner University is a private Christian university committed to providing students with a challenging academic, social and spiritual environment. Students in its Bachelor of Science in legal studies program offered on its main campus in Montgomery benefit from having the Thomas Goode Jones School of Law as an on-campus resource. Students put practical skills to work drafting legal documents, researching and sharpening their written and oral communication skills. Day and evening classes are available. Legal studies courses are also available at Faulkner’s Birmingham, Huntsville and Mobile campuses, as well as online, although only the program offered at the main campus is ABA approved.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $41,325 (based on 2013-2014 tuition for full-time students)
    • Prerequisites: High school diploma with a minimum of 15 units with at least a C average or GED; ACT score of 18 or above or SAT score of 1290 or above (including the writing component)
    • ABA Approved: Yes (Main campus program only)
    • Format: On campus or hybrid (on campus and online)

    Sample required courses:

    • Paralegal Ethics
    • Survey of Biblical Law
    • Introduction to Paralegalism I & II
    • Law Office Management
    • Computer-Based Legal Research
  • Gadsden State Community College (GSCC)

    Gadsden State Community College‘s (GSCC) Associate in Applied Science paralegal program provides both legal background and practical career preparation, emphasizing solid written and oral communication skills and technical expertise. Students practice drafting legal documents, learn to conduct research with programs such as Westlaw and gain experience through an internship. Specialty courses are taught by experienced legal professionals.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $9,230 for state residents; $17,111 for out-of-state students (based on 2013-2014 per-credit tuition)
    • Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus or hybrid (on campus and online)

    Sample required courses:

    • Introduction to Paralegal Study
    • Legal Research and Writing
    • Domestic Law
    • Civil Law and Procedures

Paralegal Bachelor’s Degrees

  • Samford University

    Samford University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Paralegal Studies at its Birmingham campus which may be completed concurrently with its paralegal certificate program. This evening program requires 128 credits. Students learn skills in the areas of business, leadership and oral and written communication to help them prepare for careers as paralegals.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $44,800 (based on 2013-2014 per-credit tuition)
    • Requirements: High school transcript, 24 semester hours of college credit or 36 quarter hours of college credit
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus with select courses offered online

Paralegal Master’s Degrees

  • Auburn University at Montgomery

    Auburn University at Montgomery offers a Master of Science in justice and public safety with a legal studies concentration. This program can include the school’s ABA-approved paralegal certificate program or serve as a stepping stone to law school.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $11,988 for state residents; $35,964 for out-of-state students (based on 2013-2014 per-credit tuition)
    • Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus

    Sample required courses:

    • Court and Judicial Administration
    • Legal Research
    • Legal Writing
    • Advanced Paralegal Studies
    • Computer Applications in Law

Additional Paralegal Educational Programs

Professional Organization

  • The Alabama Association of Paralegals, Inc. (AAPI) provides members with networking opportunities, continuing legal education (CLE), training in specialty areas, mentoring opportunities and forums. The association also maintains a job bank and holds seminars. AAPI serves four regions that encompass the entire state.

2020 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary data and job market trends for paralegals reflect state and national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed January 2022.

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