Become a Paralegal in Montana

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a total of 920 paralegal jobs in Montana as of May 2020. The average salary for paralegals here was $47,600, or $22.88 per hour during this time. Paralegals with more education, more specialized skills and/or more experience earned upwards of $62,770, which represents the profession’s top 10% in Montana.

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*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:

Paralegal Certification

There is currently no mandatory licensing or certification for paralegals in Montana, although national certification can serve as a sign of higher knowledge and skills. Paralegals who attain this added accreditation are frequently selected over others to fill open positions.

Where to Earn Your Paralegal Certificate or Degree in Montana

Paralegal Certificates

  • Montana State University (MSU) Billings

    Montana State University Billingsparalegal certificate courses give students practical skills such as drafting legal documents and legal research; training in and access to Westlaw is provided. Students also learn how to interview clients and witnesses and prepare trial notebooks. Classes are held on Saturdays and Sundays for six weekends, so that individuals who work may attend. This program can also be completed online in two consecutive seven-week sessions or through a self-study program over a period of up to one year.

    • Estimated Program Cost: online courses range from $275 to $1,189; (based on 2013 per-course tuition; costs of on-campus and DVD courses may vary)
    • Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: On campus, online or DVD

Paralegal Associate Degrees

  • University Of Providence

    The University of Providence is a four-year, private Catholic institution located between Yellowstone and Glacier National Park. Its associate degree in Paralegal Studies gives students not only a knowledge of the law, technology applied to the law and analytical thinking, but also a depth of understanding as to how these skills can be used in pursuit of a career and helping society. Mandatory internships in law firms, judges’ offices and corporations give students practical experience. This program is available online for army paralegals who have successfully completed their Army 27D10 AIT Training.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $39,720; $16,000 for army paralegals (based on 2013-2014 full-time tuition for non-military students and per-credit tuition for military students)
    • Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus or online

    Sample required courses:

    • Introduction to Paralegalism
    • Intro to Legal Analysis
    • Legal Research and Writing
    • Commercial Law
  • Missoula College

    Missoula College, part of the University of Montana, offers an Associate of Applied Science in paralegal studies that combines practical and theoretical education. Students are taught to analyze legal issues, draft documents, interview clients, prepare cases for trial and conduct legal research using traditional tools and modern technology. The school has an articulation agreement with the University of Providence for students wishing to continue their studies by earning a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies. The faculty is comprised of working professionals, and classes are designed to be small and personal. Classes are held on both the Mountain and East campuses.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $6,831 for state residents; $22,203 for out-of-state students (based on 2013-2014 per-semester tuition)
    • Prerequisites: High school diploma; test score requirements
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus

    Sample required courses:

    • Criminal Procedures
    • Civil Litigation
    • Contemporary Legal Issues
    • Trial Preparation

Paralegal Bachelor’s Degree

  • University Of Providence

    The University of Providence is a four-year, private Catholic college. Its Bachelor of Science in legal and paralegal studies gives students a firm foundation in knowledge of the law, technology applied to the law and analytical thinking, and includes a mandatory internship. This program is offered via distance learning for army paralegals who have sucvessfully completed Army 27D10 AIT Training and for air force paralegals who have graduated from the Community College of the Air Force’s (AFCC) associate degree program in paralegal studies

    • Estimated Program Cost: $79,440; $32,000 for army paralegals; $16,000 for air force paralegals with AFCC transfer credits (based on 2013-2014 full-time tuition for non-military students and per-credit tuition for military students)
    • Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus or online

    Sample required courses:

    • Criminal Evidence & Procedure
    • Domestic and Family Law
    • Litigation and Trial Practice
    • Commercial Transactions
    • Office Systems
    • Legal Research Institute

Professional Organizations

  • The Montana Association of Legal Assistants * Paralegals (MALA) was organized in 1992. MALA is an affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants * Paralegals (NALA); it promotes the paralegal profession and educates the public in the utilization of paralegals. Members have access to continuing legal education (CLE), receive updates on local and nationwide legislation affecting paralegals and can take part in numerous networking opportunities. MALA also awards scholarships and runs a mentoring program.
  • The State Bar of Montana is primarily for attorneys, but qualified paralegals may join as non-voting members. Benefits of membership include discounts on continuing education and the ability to gain an understanding of ethical issues faced by attorneys.

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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