Oklahoma Paralegal Schools
Oklahoma employed 3,180 paralegals in the year 2014, with the majority being situated in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa-metro areas.1 With four paralegal programs in the state that are approved by the American Bar Association (ABA), it makes sense for aspiring paralegals to pursue a paralegal degree or certificate in paralegal studies before applying for jobs in the state.
How to Become a Paralegal in Oklahoma
While Oklahoma does not have any particular education or training standards for perspective paralegals, the Oklahoma Bar Association (OBA) does encourage paralegals to meet at least one of the following seven guidelines for paralegals in the state, including:
- Successful completion of the National Association of Legal Assistant’s Certified Legal Assistant Examination Exam (CLA)
- Successful completion of the National Federation of Paralegal Association’s Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (PACE)
- Graduation from an ABA-approved paralegal studies program
- Possession of a high school diploma AND graduation from any accredited paralegal program not approved by the ABA
- Possession of a baccalaureate or associate degree in any field from an accredited school AND either two years of work experience OR the completion of a certain number of semester hours of legal specialty courses
- Possession of a high school diploma AND graduation from an accredited legal assistant/ paralegal school that requires at least 60 semester hours with some legal specialty courses AND at least two years of work experience OR a baccalaureate or associate degree
- Possession of a high school diploma AND five or more years of work experience in the field.2
The OBA also encourages law firms and attorneys practicing in the state to abide by these hiring standards. In such a competitive market, it is helpful for aspiring paralegals to pursue a paralegal degree in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook
Employing about 3,200 paralegals and legal assistants, the state of Oklahoma is a decent place to become a paralegal.1 The highest concentration of paralegals in the state is in the metro-areas of Oklahoma City and Tulsa.1 The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that paralegals in the state make an average annual wage of $43,200, or $20.77/hour.1 Furthermore, with a low unemployment rate of only 3.9%, Oklahoma is tied for eighth lowest of the 50 states plus Washington D.C., making it a good place to get a job in general.2
The Bureau of Economic Analysis, which measures the gross domestic product of each state, reported that in the Professional and Business Sector, which includes legal services, grew 7% in Oklahoma between the years of 2013 to 2014, which is much higher than the national average growth that same year of 3.5%3
ABA-Approved Paralegal Schools in Oklahoma
Many Oklahoma paralegal schools are community colleges, offering two-year associate degree programs in paralegal studies or certificate options for those with some schooling. One benchmark of the quality is certification by the American Bar Association, indicating that Oklahoma paralegal schools have met national standards. There are four Oklahoma paralegal schools that have an American Bar Association certification. They include:
- East Central University in Ada offers a Bachelor of Science degree in paralegal studies.
- Rose State College in Midwest City offers an Associate of Applied Science in paralegal studies.
- University of Oklahoma Law Center in Norman offers a legal assistant post-secondary certificate.
- University of Tulsa in Tulsa offers a legal nurse consultant program and a certificate in paralegal studies.
Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Oklahoma
University of Oklahoma: The Department of Legal Assistant Education within the University of Oklahoma Law Center offers a competitive, American Bar Association-certified legal assistant certificate. This program is designed to supplement an existing or in-progress associate or bachelors degree. Forty credit hours of general education courses must be completed in addition to the legal-specialty courses if the student does not already possess a degree. The core courses include Introduction to Law, Legal Analysis, Legal Research, Legal Writing, Professional Ethics, and Computerized Legal Research. The elective courses leave room for students to pursue one or more of many specializations such as Oil and Gas Law, Trusts/ Wills, Workers’ Compensation, and Environmental Law.
University of Tulsa: The Division of Continuing Education at the University of Tulsa has an American Bar Association-approved certificate in paralegal studies. This course of study is designed for individuals who have a degree from an accredited institution of higher education under their belts. The program’s professors and instructors are employed by the College of Law and are top-rated professionals in the legal field. Being located just two miles from downtown Tulsa, students enrolled in the internship course have plenty of options regarding which offices or organizations they can build up field experience work hours.
Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in Oklahoma
Crowe & Dunlevy has been a respected name in the Oklahoma legal practice for over 100 years. The firm has been highly ranked by Chambers USA and Best Lawyers, among others, and its attorneys hold various distinguished memberships and positions outside of the firm. Crowe & Dunlevy is interested in hearing from applicants with excellent academic achievement who wish to assist the firm in providing quality service to its clients. Hall, Estill, Hardwick, Gable, Golden & Nelson, P.C. works in litigation and transaction, with two offices in Oklahoma. Hall Estill recognizes the contributions made by paralegals to its practice and regularly recruits new paralegals for its open positions. GableGotwals Counsel has offices in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, from which its attorneys service clients in the full spectrum of legal needs. GableGotwals maintains an open recruiting schedule so that it can hire the best possible paralegals whenever the right candidate becomes available.
Online and Oklahoma Paralegal Schools
Paralegal Schools and Programs in Oklahoma
Brown Mackie College (Tulsa, OK)
Associate Degree | Paralegal
Certificate | Assistant Paralegal
ITT Technical Institute (Oklahoma City, OK; Tulsa, OK)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Rose State College (Midwest City, OK)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Vatterott Educational Centers (Oklahoma City, OK; Tulsa, OK)
Associate of Occupational Studies | Paralegal
Central Oklahoma Association of Legal Assistants – Organization created to support and foster communication, assistance, networking and continuing education for Oklahoma-based paralegals.
Oklahoma Paralegal Association – OPA is affiliated with the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), and offers legal-related news, resources, and scholarship information to its Oklahoma members.
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm#ind
2. Oklahoma Paralegal Association, Standards: http://www.okparalegal.org/standards/
3. Bureau of Economic Analysis: http://www.bea.gov/