Delaware Paralegal Schools
Becoming a paralegal in any state is very competitive, and Delaware is no different. This state has one of the highest per capita rates of employment for paralegals, which can mean that there are lucrative and fulfilling opportunities for a well-qualified paralegal.1 It makes sense for a paralegal candidate in Delaware to consider entering a paralegal program in order to gain better traction in the job market. Delaware has a multitude of options for those considering a career as a paralegal. A potential student can choose from a variety of program offerings from the many schools in Delaware with paralegal programs. There are options to take courses online or traditionally at a college campus. Often, these programs will offer flexible scheduling options for those who are already in the workforce looking to further their education. There is no experience needed to enter in to a degree program in Delaware, but there are also certificate programs available for the student who has prior education or work experience. Internships can also be a great benefit of obtaining paralegal training through a formal institution, as they can provide the student with real-world job experience and help with networking.
How to Become a Paralegal in Delaware
While there is no specific training mandated by the state of Delaware in order to practice as a paralegal, the Delaware Paralegal Association offers a voluntary state certification, which can provide candidates with a competitive edge when entering the job market. This certificate requires a combination of education and experience. Typically, those who wish to become a paralegal in Delaware will either enter a paralegal program at a college or university, or obtain training on the job. Having a degree or certificate can make a candidate more marketable when applying for jobs in Delaware’s competitive market.
Delaware Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook
As of March 2015, Delaware’s unemployment rate was 4.6%, ranking 17th out of the 50 states and D.C. This rate has been declining since 2014.2 The Bureau of Economic Analysis measures overall gross domestic product, but more specifically, it analyzes the growth of the professional and business services industry, which includes legal services. The Bureau shows that from 2012 to 2013, Delaware’s growth was .9%, which is well below the national average of 3.5% for this industry.3 Although Delaware’s growth was not very high, other states nearby such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania have had average or above-average growth over the same period.3
The average annual salary for a paralegal in Delaware is $53,280, or $25.89 per hour.1 A paralegal in Delaware with more qualifications, such as a paralegal certificate or degree, has the potential to earn significantly more than this amount. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the paralegal and legal services occupation is expected to grow 17% by 2022, which is faster than average growth.1
ABA-Approved Paralegal Schools in Delaware
There are four Delaware paralegal schools that have an American Bar Association certification. They include:
- Delaware Technical and Community College in Georgetown, DE offers an associate degree, a post-bachelor’s degree, and a certificate.
- Wesley College in Dover, DE offers an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree, and a post-baccalaureate certificate.
- Widener University Law Center in Wilmington, DE offers a Bachelor of Arts, an Associate of Science, a general certificate, and a legal nurse consultant certificate.
- Wilmington University in New Castle, DE offers a Bachelor of Science and a post-baccalaureate certificate.
Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Delaware
Wilmington University: The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences has an American Bar Association-approved Bachelor of Science in legal studies and legal studies certificate. The BS is a full four-year degree, while the certificate program is designed for individuals who already possess an undergraduate degree or have a considerable amount of professional experience. Both academic sequences require the completion of core courses such as Introduction to Legal Studies as well as Legal Research, followed by specialized advanced electives. Students that wish to work with fellow Legal Studies majors and build professional networks can join Lambda Epsilon Chi: Legal Studies Honor Society.
Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in Delaware
Richards, Layton & Finger is not only the largest law firm headquartered in Delaware but also one of the oldest. Its convenient location between New York City and Washington, D.C. allows it to service clients across the region in its specialties of corporate law, M&A, and general and civil litigation. It seeks out the highest quality staff to join its team. Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP (MNAT) is a law firm based in Delaware with a national presence, and bases its success on the commitment of its attorneys, paralegals, and other staff. MNAT looks for experienced, well organized paralegal and support staff with strong interpersonal skills to support its client base. Duane Morris LLP is an internationally recognized consulting and legal firm, and has an office in Wilmington. After over 100 years in business, Duane Morris needs top candidates with superior academic performance and integrity to join its staff.
Paralegal Schools and Programs in Delaware
Widener University (Wilmington, DE)
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies
Bachelor of Science | Paralegal Studies
Certificate | Paralegal
Delaware Paralegal Association – Works to promote and maintain high standards for paralegals, while providing a forum for discussion regarding the profession, and to enhance the role of the paralegal in society.
Delaware Bar Association – Organizes and unites those who practice law in Delaware, and serves as their professional association.
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Delaware: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_de.htm#23-0000
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Unemployment Rates for States: http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm
3. Bureau of Economic Analysis: http://www.bea.gov/