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North Carolina Paralegal Schools

In 2014, North Carolina, the ninth most populous state, employed 9,560 paralegals.1 North Carolina paralegal schools enable aspiring paralegals who want to enter the legal field to earn a paralegal degree and learn how to work in law firms preparing documents and aiding in case preparation. Budget concerns at numerous law firms and other employers are driving growth for hiring paralegals over attorneys, making North Carolina paralegal jobs among the fastest growing job fields.

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How to Become a Paralegal in North Carolina

As of 2004, the North Carolina State Bar created a Plan for Paralegal Certification. This a voluntary plan that allows aspiring paralegals to become certified as a North Carolina Certified Paralegal, Paralegal Certified by the North Carolina State Bar Board of Paralegal Certification, a North Carolina State Bar Board Certified Paralegal or NCCP. The educational requirements for North Carolina are an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree, or a master’s degree be attained in paralegal studies.

A North Carolina Certified Paralegal (NCCP) is recognized by the North Carolina Bar as having achieved the state’s standard for practice in the paralegal field by meeting the educational requirements found in Subchapter G, Certification of Paralegals (.0119(a)) of the Plan for Paralegal Certification. This includes obtaining an associate, bachelor’s, master’s or juris doctorate degree from an accredited institution. To be eligible, applicants must also pay a $125 application fee and pass an examination administered biannually by the Board of Paralegal Certification of the North Carolina State Bar.

North Carolina Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook

Paralegals in North Carolina earned an average salary of $44,120 in 2014, but in areas like Raleigh, paralegals averaged $53,970 per year.1 With a 4.6% lower cost of living than average, a paralegal salary can go a long way in North Carolina.2 Outside of medical careers, North Carolina paralegals have one of the highest salaries for professional degrees that can be completed in two years.

In terms of employment outlook, the state of North Carolina is expecting significant growth in the paralegal and legal assistant profession in the coming years. Through 2022, an average of 440 job openings per year are expected, growing the profession by a whopping 27.2% through that year.3 The Winston-Salem area of North Carolina has the fourth largest concentration of paralegals in a metro area in the US, and Wilmington has the tenth highest.1

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ABA-Approved Paralegal Schools in North Carolina

There are several North Carolina paralegal schools that have American Bar Association certification. They include:

Profiles of Well-Known Schools in North Carolina

Methodist University: The Department of Justice Studies at Methodist University offers an American Bar Association-approved minor in legal studies. This is a 21-credit hour program with the four required courses of Introduction to Legal Studies, Law and the Legal System, Legal Research, and Internship. The mandatory internship credit is earned through 115 onsite work hours within a law firm/office or nonprofit organization. The three elective courses are set aside so that Legal Studies students can pursue a specialization such as Environmental Regulations, Contract Law, Business Organizations, or Family Law.

South College – Asheville: The South College – Asheville Campus offers its students a Bachelor of Science in legal studies and an Associate of Applied Science in paralegal studies, both certified by the American Bar Association. The BS in legal studies is 188 credits and majors are required to complete three Business Core courses and 29 Legal Studies courses. The AAS in paralegal studies is a 120-hour program with the core courses including Introduction to Paralegal Studies, Legal Research and Writing (I and II), Torts and Remedies, and Ethics for Paralegals. Both types of students are required to complete an internship during their final year within a designated law office.

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Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in North Carolina

Smith Debnam Narron Drake Saintsing & Myers, LLP was founded in 1972, and since that time has focused on solving legal problems for its clients. Smith Debnam seeks to understand its clients overall goals and needs in order to provide the best possible service. The firm places priority on professional and community leadership cultivated through professional development, and looks for paralegal graduates who will thrive in this type of environment. Poyner Spruill LLP has been ranked among the best law firms in North Carolina by US News and Best Lawyers in America. Its offices are located throughout the state, and attorneys at Poyner Spruill are experienced in many different areas of the law. The firm seeks out paralegal applicants who want to work in a team environment with a strong work ethic. The Van Winkle Law Firm has over one hundred years of history, and is now one of the oldest law practices in North Carolina. It looks for highly qualified paralegals to join its respected practice.

Online and North Carolina Paralegal Schools

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Paralegal Schools and Programs in North Carolina

Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute (Hudson, NC)
Certificate | Paralegal Technology-Family
Certificate | Paralegal Technology-Wills

Cape Fear Community College (Wilmington, NC)
Certificate | Paralegal Tech

Carteret Community College (Morehead City, NC)
Associate of Science | Paralegal Tech

Central Carolina Community College (Sanford, NC)
Certificate | Paralegal Tech

Central Piedmont Community College (Charlotte, NC)
Associate of Science | Paralegal Tech
Diploma | Paralegal Tech

Coastal Carolina Community College (Jacksonville, NC)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Technology

Davidson County Community College (Thomasville, NC)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Technology

Durham Technical Community College (Durham, NC)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Technology

Fayetteville Technical Community College (Fayetteville, NC)
Associate of Science | Paralegal Technology
Diploma | Paralegal Studies

Forsyth Technical Community College (Winston Salem, NC)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Technology
Certificate | Paralegal Technology

Gaston College (Dallas, NC)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Technology
Associate of Applied Science | Emergency Preparedness Technology
Associate of Applied Science | Latent Evidence
Associate of Applied Science | Legal Office Administration
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Technology

Guilford Technical Community College (Jamestown, NC)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Technology

Johnston Community College (Smithfield, NC)
Associate of Science | Paralegal Technology
Associate of Science | Paralegal Technology (online program)
Certificate | Paralegal Technology
Certificate | Paralegal Technology (online program)
Diploma | Paralegal Technology
Diploma | Paralegal Technology (online program)

King’s College (Charlotte, NC)
Associate Degree | Legal Administration
Associate Degree | Paralegal

Miller-Motte Technical College (Raleigh, NC)
Associate Degree | Paralegal Studies

Pitt Community College (Winterville, NC)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Technology

South College-Asheville (Asheville, NC)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies

South Piedmont Community College (Polkton, NC)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Technology

Southwestern Community College (Sylva, NC)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Technology

Surry Community College (Dobson, NC)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Technology
Certificate | Paralegal Technology

Western Piedmont Community College (Morganton, NC)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Technology

Wilson Community College (Wilson, NC)
Associate Degree | Paralegal Studies

Additional Resources:

North Carolina Paralegal Association – A non-profit that promotes the profession of paralegals in the state of North Carolina by helping them learn, share and grow.

North Carolina Bar Association – The Paralegal Division of the NCBA provides opportunities to paralegals in education, service, and leadership.

References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm#ind
2. Sperling’s Best Places, North Carolina: http://www.bestplaces.net/state/north-carolina
3. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm