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Alaska Paralegal Schools

Opportunities in the paralegal field are rising across the United States and its territories, and Alaska paralegal schools are ready to meet demand. New jobs in Alaska have increased interest in the area, and the need for legal professionals is growing. Earning a degree or certificate in paralegal studies in Alaska could be especially fruitful considering the high salaries paralegals are paid there. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Alaska ranks third in the top paying states for paralegals, with an average annual salary reported of $60,020 in 2013.1 For this reason, pursuing a paralegal degree in Alaska might be worth your while.

How to Become a Paralegal in Alaska

There are many training opportunities available in Alaska for those interested in the paralegal field. The state’s unique location and demographics result in many paralegal needs that are different from those in the lower United States. Paralegals in Alaska must be supervised and instructed by certified attorneys. As with other states, they cannot provide legal advice or other legal services to the general public on their own, and the lawyers at their office are legally responsible for their work.

Obtaining a paralegal degree is much the same, as are the requirements that must be met by the successful paralegal. There are a range of online and on-campus paralegal programs available in Alaska, all of which will provide a prospective paralegal with the education needed to advance in the state’s legal market.

Alaska Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook

Alaska has one of the highest average salaries for those who seek a career in the paralegal profession at around $60,000 per year.1 Entry-level salaries are lower, but high demand for qualified paralegals in the state increases the likelihood that the average is stable.

Whether prospective paralegals choose to pursue a degree on campus or online, the expanding legal market in Alaska should ensure opportunities for career-minded graduates. In fact, between the years of 2012 and 2013, the demand for Professional and Business Services, which includes Legal Services, saw a dramatic increase of 6.8%, almost double the national average of 3.5% for the same period.2

Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Alaska

University of Alaska, Anchorage: The Justice Center at the University of Alaska, Anchorage offers an American Bar Association-approved paralegal studies certificate, which can also be used to contribute towards the completion of the Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice. Students are required to complete an internship within an agency or law firm that already has an existing relationship with the UAA Justice Center. Foundation courses for paralegal students include Introduction to Law and Paralegal Studies while upper-level courses cover legal writing, litigation, and legal research.

University of Alaska, Fairbanks: University of Alaska, Fairbanks: An American Bar Association-approved Associate of Applied Science in paralegal studies degree is offered by the University of Alaska, Fairbanks for students who wish to pursue a career as a paralegal or legal assistant. The AAS is a 61-hour degree that requires students to complete three hours through an internship with a law firm or legal office. Introductory courses include Introduction to Law and Introduction to Paralegal Skills, while advanced courses include Paralegal Ethics, Advanced Legal Writing, and Criminal Law for Paralegals. The paralegal studies program is part of UAF’s Community and Technical College where students can pursue a variety of professional development degrees and certificates.

Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in Alaska

Jermain Dunnagan & Owens, P.C., based in Anchorage, is one of the most well-known law firms in Alaska, thanks to its success in headline cases in multiple practice areas. Jermain Dunnagan is active in the community and represents local clients as well as multinational companies. The firm routinely seeks to add paralegals and other support staff to its legal team. Perkins Coie is regularly recognized by Chambers & Partners as a national leader in law, with noted presence in ten markets including Alaska. Its Anchorage office serves clients in practice areas including energy, environmental and natural resources, labor and employment, and many others. Its focus on being a diverse and equitable workplace offering opportunities to staff has led to it being named among the 100 Best Companies to Work For by Fortune magazine, making it an excellent firm for recent paralegal graduates to start a career. Patton Boggs is also highly-ranked by Chambers & Partners, receiving a #2 ranking in Litigation: General Commercial (Alaska). Its Anchorage practice specializes in complex litigation of all types, and the firm is consistently hiring for committed paralegals looking to work in a team environment.

Paralegal Schools and Programs in Alaska

An asterisk indicates that one or more of the school’s programs have been approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).

University of Alaska-Anchorage (Anchorage)*
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Bachelor of Arts | Legal Studies
Minor | Legal Studies
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Paralegal Studies
Certificate | Legal Nurse Consultant Paralegal

University of Alaska-Fairbanks (Fairbanks)*
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Minor | Law and Society
Minor | Paralegal Studies

*Approved by the American Bar Association (ABA)

Additional Resources

1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm#ind
2. Bureau of Economic Analysis: http://www.bea.gov/