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Colorado Paralegal Schools

As of December 2014, the Colorado unemployment rate was 4%, which is the lowest rate Colorado saw in the latter half of 2014.1 The state ranked 7th out of 51, demonstrating good employment prospects in Colorado.1 The Bureau of Economic Analysis tracks overall growth of gross domestic product, as well as in the Professional and Business services, which includes legal services. In this area, Colorado grew by 2.6% between 2012 and 2013.2 This is still lower than the national growth of 3.5%; however, according to Projections Central, the state will be seeing an increase in the number of jobs in legal services, with a projected average of 270 annual openings in this field through 2022.2,3 Colorado paralegal schools can offer students the ability to enter in to a field that is still growing. If they have already done post-graduate work, students can focus on legal writing and research. A student may also start with a high school education, and complete a two-year paralegal degree program.

How to Become a Paralegal in Colorado

There are no specific requirements for paralegal applicants in Colorado to complete internships or coursework. However, many law firms value the additional training and experience because it can save them time in bringing new paralegals up to speed. Participation in a paralegal program can increase opportunities for networking, and provide real world experience. A program can help candidates be more competitive, and make certification at a later date easier, if the need arises. There are many paralegal programs available in Colorado, including ABA-certified options. Some of these programs will require internships that can increase the marketability of a candidate.

Colorado Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average salary for a Colorado paralegal is $53,200, with an hourly wage of $25.58.4 Higher salaries are possible when a candidate has more education or experience, and computer and database skills. Projections Central also predicts that this profession will grow about 29.9% by 2022 in Colorado, which is much faster than the rest of the US.3 As a paralegal, one has the opportunity to work in the private sector for law firms or large companies, and also in the public sector for state and local governments.

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 graduate as eligible applicants for 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 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, but are not limited to, 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, and then move onto specialized subjects such as Immigration Law. Individuals who have completed 21 credit hours can pursue an internship, which involves 135 work 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 Denver5,6. 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. Rothgerber Johnson & Lyons 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. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Unemployment Rates for States: http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm
2. Bureau of Economic Analysis: http://www.bea.gov/
3. Projections Central: https://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm#ind
5. US News, 2015 Best Law Firms: http://bestlawfirms.usnews.com/profile/holland-hart-llp/rankings/7863
6. Corporate Board Member, Leading Corporate Firms in 25 MSAs: https://archive.boardmember.com/Leading-Corporate-Firms-in-25-MSAs.aspx