Become a Paralegal in Oregon

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in 2012 that there were 2,370 paralegals and legal assistants working in Oregon, with an hourly mean wage of $26.18. The annual mean wage of paralegals in Oregon was the sixth highest in the nation at $54,460. Paralegals in the best-paying positions and/or those who worked overtime made as much as $77,800. Add to this the BLS projection that paralegal and legal assistant positions will increase by 18 percent between 2010 and 2020, and you can see that while the sun may set on the west coast of Oregon, the prospects of paralegals in the state are on the rise across the state.

Featured Programs:

Individuals with paralegal certificates and degrees are usually better prepared to compete for the more desirable positions. In addition, students with paralegal education may be able to focus their careers on specialty areas which they find more enjoyable and fulfilling.

Oregon Paralegal Certification

At this time there is no mandatory certification or licensing for paralegals in the state of Oregon.

Where to Earn Your Paralegal Certificate or Degree in Oregon

Paralegal Certificates

  • Portland Community College (PCC) – Cascade and Central Campuses

    Portland Community College‘s (PCC) paralegal certificate is a 45-credit program with relatively affordable tuition. The program remains current by conducting surveys of potential employers, graduates and faculty; the resulting feedback helps the school keep the program fresh and relevant by adding new courses, additions to the new law library and supplemental programs. Students are taught to use critical and analytical thinking, develop communication skills, follow professional standards and work effectively using project management skills.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $3,960 for students who meet residency guidelines; $9,720 for non-residents; Oregon residents 62 years and older may qualify for free or discounted tuition (based on 2013 per-credit tuition)
    • Prerequisites: Associate or bachelor’s degree, 27 general education credits or exemption from these criteria by the department chair
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus

    Sample required courses:

    • Intro to Law – Fundamentals
    • Intro to Law – Substantive Area
    • Techniques of Interview
    • Legal Software
    • Computer Research in Law
    • Applied Legal Research and Drafting
  • Umpqua Community College (UCC)

    Located in Roseburg, Oregon, Umpqua Community College (UCC) offers a one-year legal assistant certificate that gives students the opportunity to learn the basic skills needed to enter the workforce an entry-level paralegal positions. In addition, since the curriculum for this course of study is the same as the curriculum for the school’s Associate in Applied Science in paralegal studies, students can easily continue their education.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $2,970.00 (based on 2013 full-program tuition)
    • Prerequisites: High school diploma, GED or age 18 or older
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: Online

    Sample required courses:

    • Ethics for the Legal Profession
    • Editing for Business
    • Legal Terminology
    • Civil Procedures

Paralegal Associate Degrees

  • Heald College (Portland Campus or Online)

    Heald College is a private, career-focused institution that has been providing education for 150 years. Its paralegal Associate in Applied Science degree, offered at its Portland campus, is designed to prepare students for stepping into positions, not only in law firms, but also in insurance companies, real estate, banking, title companies, nonprofit organizations, court systems and government agencies. Courses cover legal research, writing, organization and legal technology, in addition to analytical skills, ethics and a knowledge of the law. An online program is also offered.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $39,960 (based on 2013 full-program tuition for on-campus program)
    • Prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent; entrance exam
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: On campus or online
  • Pioneer Pacific College (PPC)

    Pioneer Pacific College (PCC) is a for-profit college offering a paralegal Associate in Applied Science at its Wilsonville and Springfield campuses. Classes are taught by experienced legal professionals and all students participate in a 180-hour externship that gives them work experience in a law office.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $27,515 (based on 2013 full-program tuition)
    • Prerequisites: High school diploma, GED or associate degree or higher with a minimum GPA of 2.5; COMPASS
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus

    Sample required courses:

    • Torts
    • Criminal Law
    • Ethics and Social Issues
    • Political Science
    • Civil Procedure & Documentation
  • Sumner College

    Conveniently located in Portland, Sumner College offers an Associate of Applied Science in paralegal studies. Students become familiar with legal software while learning the practical skills needed to work as paralegals. This program gives students knowledge of the American legal system and specialty areas of the law, and can be completed in 60 weeks on campus or 70 weeks online.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $19,530 (based on 2013 full-program tuition)
    • Prerequisites: Open admissions policy
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: On campus or online

    Sample required courses:

    • Legal Research
    • Constitutional Law
    • Contracts
    • Family Law

Paralegal Bachelor’s Degrees

  • Pioneer Pacific College (PPC)

    Pioneer Pacific College‘s (PCC) Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies in available on the Wilsonville campus. This program builds upon the school’s Associate in Applied Science paralegal degree and places an emphasis on substantive law and management.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $52,680 (based on 2013 full-program tuition and fees)
    • Prerequisites: Completion of the PCC’s Associate in Science legal assistant/paralegal program
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: On campus

    Sample required courses:

    • Law Office Management
    • Collective Bargaining
    • Conflict Resolution and Management
    • Employment Law
    • Principles of Economics

Additional Paralegal Educational Programs

Professional Organizations

  • The Pacific Northwest Paralegal Association (PNPA) serves paralegals in both Oregon and Southwest Washington. Organized to promote the utilization of paralegals, develop alliances within the legal community and encourage high standards and ethics, PNPA also offers access to continuing legal education (CLE) and encourages mentoring. Members have access to a job bank and receive a newsletter. Student memberships are available and can be a good way to get to know those in the legal community.
  • The Oregon Paralegal Association (OPA) promotes the paralegal profession, continuing education and fellowship among association members and others in the legal community. Members have access to a job bank, as well as opportunities to network and learn new things about specialties like litigation and corporate law. Student memberships are available.