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Kentucky Paralegal Schools

Kentucky employs about 2,980 paralegals, and many of the neighboring states employ many more paralegals.1 The legal services industry is growing in Kentucky and the nation, therefore, it makes good sense for an aspiring paralegal in the Kentucky area to enter the workforce well-prepared. A Kentucky paralegal degree program can provide the necessary knowledge and skills to become a successful paralegal. There are several schooling options in Kentucky, depending on whether or not a student has previous educational or work experience. A bachelor’s or associate degree is available for those with no prior experience, and a certificate is an option for an individual who has prior work experience or some schooling. Additionally, there are campus-based and online programs available.

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How to Become a Paralegal in Kentucky

Kentucky has no mandated requirements for becoming a paralegal. Like many other states, a paralegal in Kentucky must work under the supervision of a lawyer. A Kentucky paralegal must also inform each client of the fact that they are not an attorney. There is a voluntary certification through the Kentucky Paralegal Association, which can be obtained through a combination of education and experience, as well as an exam. While this is not required, it is becoming the standard for paralegals in Kentucky, and may assist a candidate in being more marketable upon entering the legal field.

Kentucky Paralegal Certification

The Kentucky Paralegal Association (KPA) works in tandem with the Kentucky Bar Association and the American Bar Association to promote higher standards in the state’s paralegal career field through its Certified Paralegal Program. Applicants must pass an examination and provide proof of a combination of education and experience that includes completion of an ABA-approved paralegal program or equivalent schooling, a bachelor’s degree or higher with one year of paralegal work or five (5) years of substantive paralegal work, all of which must be properly attested to and documented. Applicants must also submit a $100 application fee for the exam. Becoming a Kentucky Certified Paralegal (KCP) does not include admittance to the KPA (although membership is not necessary to be a KCP), and requires a separate application and additional terms.

Kentucky Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook

Generally speaking, Kentucky has an average employment situation. With its December 2014 unemployment rate being 5.5%, the state ranks 25th out of the 50 states and Washington D.C.2 The legal services field in Kentucky, however, is showing growth. From 2012 to 2013, Kentucky saw a growth of 3.3% in the Business and Professional Services sector, of which legal services is included.3 This is just slightly below the national average of 3.5%.3 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the paralegal profession nationwide is expected to see a 17% growth by 2022, which is above average growth.1 The average annual salary for a paralegal in Kentucky was $42,960 in 2013.1 With this information, it seems likely that one wishing to be a paralegal in Kentucky or the surrounding area can confidently pursue a career that could be both lucrative and fulfilling.

Paralegal Quote: “The best advice I ever received was to not be afraid to move around and try different areas of the law until you find the niche that fits you best. It is not unusual in this area for a paralegal to move every three years during the first 12 years of their career. Moving can also increase your salary a lot faster than waiting for a raise.” -Stephanie K. Jones, President of the Louisville Association of Paralegals

ABA-Approved Paralegal Schools in Kentucky

There are several Kentucky paralegal schools that have the American Bar Association certification. They include:

Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Kentucky

Sullivan University – Louisville: At Sullivan University – Louisville, students can pursue one of three American Bar Association-approved paralegal programs: an Associate of Science, a Bachelor of Science and a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate. The Post-Baccalaureate Certificate is designed for those who already possess a degree and only takes nine months to complete. The Bachelor of Science consists of 182 credit hours and is an accelerated 36 months program while the Associate of Science is a 100 hours, 18 month course of study. The Louisville location is the Sullivan University main campus and it offers paralegal students numerous opportunities to obtain professional experience within a major city.

University of Louisville: The College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Louisville gives students the opportunity to pursue an Associate of Arts in Paralegal Studies. This program is approved by the American Bar Association and the credits can be applied towards a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts in a different, but related field. The AA is a total of 63 credit hours with 28 to 31 of those hours going towards Paralegal Studies courses. The seven professors that teach for the Paralegal Studies programs are expert legal professionals, the majority of which posses a Juris Doctor.

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Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in Kentucky

Stites & Harbison PLLC is a national law firm with a strong regional presence in the Southeastern United States. As one of the oldest law firms in the US, Stites & Harbison is also well-respected, and continues to push the bar on quality legal representation. To maintain its leading position, the firm seeks out the most highly qualified candidates for its paralegal and other opportunities. Phillips Parker Orberson & Arnett PLC is a civil defense litigation firm with multiple industry recognitions. In a little over ten years, PPOA has become one of the largest law firms in Louisville overall and one of the largest law firms in Kentucky specializing in trial practice. As it is still growing, PPOA is always accepting inquiries for positions with the firm. Dressman Benzinger LaVelle PSC is a full service firm with many practice areas to keep new paralegal hires busy. Attorneys at its headquarters in Crestview Hills and offices in Ohio are admitted to practice at all levels of the US court system, offering learning opportunities for support staff.

Online and Kentucky Paralegal Schools

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Paralegal Schools in Kentucky

Brown Mackie College (Fort Mitchell, KY; Hopkinsville, KY; Louisville, KY)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Applied Business | Paralegal
Diploma | Paralegal Assistant

Daymar College (Bellevue, KY; Louisville, KY; Newport, KY; Owensboro, KY; Paducah, KY; Scottsville, KY)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Certificate | Paralegal
Certificate | Paralegal (online program)
Diploma | Paralegal
Diploma | Paralegal (online program)

Eastern Kentucky University (Richmond, KY)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Bachelor of Arts | Paralegal Science
Certificate | Paralegal Science

Morehead State University (Morehead, KY)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Bachelor of Arts | Paralegal Studies

Sullivan University (Louisville, KY)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies
Bachelor of Science | Paralegal Studies
Certificate | Paralegal Studies
Diploma | Legal Administrative Assistant
Post Baccalaureate Certificate | Paralegal Studies

University of Louisville (Louisville, KY)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Arts | Paralegal Studies

Western Kentucky University (Bowling Green, KY)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Arts | Legal Studies

Student Review: “My experience while enrolled in paralegal studies at WKU were nothing but positive. The class schedules were flexible which helped me work full-time even while I was in school. Additionally, the community of Bowling Green is full of opportunities for students to enrich their overall experience. One of my favorite classes was Family Law. My professor was so funny and energetic, and I could tell that she had a passion for teaching. This made me excited about my future and at ease with my decision to pursue this type of certification. All programs, regardless of a university’s reputation, have negatives sides to them, though. One thing that I disliked about the paralegal program was the admission requirements. I had studied at another college prior to my enrollment at WKU; some of the classes from that institution did not transfer.” -Will H., student at Western Kentucky University

Additional Resources:

Kentucky Bar Association – Maintains proper discipline of the members of the bar in accordance with the rules and the principles of the legal profession as a public calling under the supervision of the Kentucky Supreme Court.

1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Outlook: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm#st
2. Bureau of Economic Analysis: http://www.bea.gov/
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm