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Colorado Paralegal Schools

As of May 2016, the Colorado unemployment rate was 3.4%, which is the lowest rate seen in the previous 10 years.1 According to Projections Central, the state should be seeing positive growth for paralegals in the coming years, with a projected average of 270 annual openings in this field through 2024.2 Schools across Colorado offer paralegal degree programs at the associate’s, bachelor’s, and certificate levels, providing strong preparation for entering this growing field.

How to Become a Paralegal in Colorado

Paralegal applicants in Colorado are not required by state law to earn certification or complete a formal education. However, many law firms value the additional training and experience provided by a paralegal degree because it can save them time in bringing new paralegals up to speed. Participation in a paralegal program can also increase opportunities for networking, provide real-world experience, and qualify graduates for voluntary national certification – a highly desirable credential. There are many paralegal programs available in Colorado, including ABA-certified options. Some of these programs include internships that can increase the marketability of a candidate.

Colorado Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that as of May 2015, the average salary for a Colorado paralegal was $53,480, with an hourly wage of $25.71.3 Higher salaries are possible for candidates with education and experience, especially those who have expert computer and database skills. Projections Central also predicts that this profession will grow about 31.2% by 2024 in Colorado, which is much faster than the 8% predicted for the rest of the US.2,4 Paralegals may work in the private sector for law firms or large companies or in the public sector for state and local governments as well as nonprofit organizations.

Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Colorado

Arapahoe Community College: Students at Arapahoe Community College can pursue either a Certificate of Applied Science (36 hours) or a paralegal Associate of Applied Science (60 hours). Both programs have been approved by the American Bar Association and students who graduate are eligible to pursue voluntary national certification. The certificate program is designed to supplement an existing degree, while the AAS is meant for individuals who lack professional experience. The AAS is also designed for students to continue on to a four-year college. The faculty teach an inventory of over two dozen different paralegal courses that include Legal Analysis, Administrative Law, Civil Litigation, Environmental Law, and Cooperative Education.

Community College of Aurora: The Public Service and Criminal Justice Department at the Community College of Aurora has its own American Bar Association-approved Associate of Applied Science and a paralegal certificate program for those who wish to pursue careers as paralegals or legal assistants. Students complete a series of foundation courses like Introduction to Law and Contracts before moving into specialized subjects such as Immigration Law. Individuals who have completed 21 credit hours can pursue an internship, which involves 135 clock hours within a law office. Fourteen professors and instructors teach for the paralegal program, the majority of whom are practicing attorneys.

Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in Colorado

Holland & Hart LLP, the largest law firm headquartered in the Mountain West, was recently profiled in the US News Best Law Firms rankings and has been recognized by Corporate Board Member as the top corporate law firm in Denver. The firm offers a diverse range of services and looks for paralegal graduates who are willing to work hard in return for career advancement and satisfying work-life balance. Faegre Baker Daniels is one of the largest law firms in Colorado and works with clients in virtually all major industries. It offers recent paralegal graduates professional opportunities in a supportive working environment with a comprehensive benefits package. Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP is one of the most distinguished law firms in the Colorado region. It seeks out top-tier talent to join its team of accomplished professionals.

Paralegal Schools and Programs in Colorado

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

Arapahoe Community College (Littleton)*
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal
Certificate | Paralegal

Colorado Mountain College (Glenwood Springs)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal (online)
Certificate | Paralegal (online)

Community College of Aurora (Aurora; Denver)*
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal
Associate of Applied Science | Management: Paralegal
Associate of General Studies | Paralegal
Certificate | Paralegal

Community College of Denver (Denver)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal
Associate of Applied Science Transfer | Paralegal
Associate of Applied Science | Legal Administrative Assistant
Certificate | Paralegal

Front Range Community College (Westminster)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal/ Legal Assistant
Certificate | Paralegal/ Legal Assistant

Pikes Peak Community College (Colorado Springs)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal: Legal Assistant
Certificate | Paralegal
Certificate | Legal Technical

*Approved by the American Bar Association

Additional Resources

References:
1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics Local Area Unemployment Statistics, Unemployment Rates for States: http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm
2. Projections Central Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
3. US Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm
4. US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm