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Pennsylvania Paralegal Schools

Pennsylvania is the sixth most populous and the ninth most densely populated state in the US. In 2014, the state employed 10,120 paralegals.1 A few neighboring states employ many paralegals as well (New York with 22,660, New Jersey with 6,190, Maryland with 5,730, and Virginia with 8,580).1 Not surprisingly, there are many choices for prospective students who are considering Pennsylvania paralegal schools for their course of study. These institutions are receiving increased attention as the career field expands to handle a rapidly growing need for qualified paralegals across every legal sector, including corporate law, family law, criminal law and tax law. For these reasons, aspiring paralegals should look into attending a paralegal program in Pennsylvania to give them the education and experience needed to start their careers.

How to Become a Paralegal in Pennsylvania

There are no particular requirements to become a paralegal in Pennsylvania, but an education or certificate in paralegal studies will certainly make a potential paralegal more marketable. Since there are so many schools in the state that offer paralegal and legal studies programs, it makes sense for perspective paralegals to pursue an education in the field before applying for jobs.

Another option for paralegals in the state of Pennsylvania is to get accredited by the Pennsylvania Certified Paralegal Program, which is a voluntary certification regulated by the Keystone Alliance of Paralegal Associations. Many law firms in the state of Pennsylvania will look favorably on applicants who are Pennsylvania Certified Paralegals (Pa.C.P.s), since they have completed the training, education and work experience necessary to be a competent paralegal.

Paralegal Quote: Know yourself, your boundaries and have a clear strategic plan in place before you begin a job search. Otherwise, you’ll accept positions that are not suited for your character (core values), skill set and/or goals. Understanding clearly who you are (the good, the bad and the ugly) is extremely important when determining your next move.” -Tausha P. Major, Vice-President of the Philadelphia Association of Paralegals

Pennsylvania Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook

Paralegals in Pennsylvania can expect high salaries of around $53,780, which was the average in 2014.1 Between 2012 and 2013, the state of Pennsylvania grew 3.5% in the professional services sector of the gross domestic product (which includes paralegal services), which is the same as the national growth for the same period.2 Between 2012 to 2022, Projections Central predicts that the state’s paralegal sector will grow 18.4%, which is higher than the national average.3 Reporting an average unemployment rate of 5.3% in March 2015, Pennsylvania has an incredible paralegal market that serves more than 30 major areas, and all are seeing significant growth.4 The state offers large markets where firms are prominent, like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and smaller markets where private offices are common, like in Bethlehem or Scranton.

Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Pennsylvania

Community College of Philadelphia: One of the many professional degrees offered by the Community College of Philadelphia is an Associate in Applied Science in paralegal studies. This program is approved by the American Bar Association and is a minimum of 60 credit hours. The curriculum at the Community College of Philadelphia centers greatly on technology use in the paralegal profession with classes like Legal Technology. An advantage for paralegal students at this institution is the law library that exceeds American Bar Association standards.

Pennsylvania College of Technology: The School of Business and Computer Technologies at the Pennsylvania College of Technology has three American Bar Association-approved Paralegal Studies programs: a Bachelor of Science, an Associate of Applied Science, and a certificate in nurse/ health care paralegal studies. The BSS is a 128-credit hour program, while the AAS and certificate are 62 hours and 21 hours respectively. Introduction to Paralegal Studies is a core course for all students, but certificate students have a curriculum that is concentrated with civil law and risk management related courses. Both the BS and AAS are designated as a “Natural Gas Major” by the Pennsylvania College of Technology due to the industry’s growing need for legal professionals.

Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in Pennsylvania

Based in Erie, Pennsylvania, MacDonald Illig Jones and Britton LLP is one of Pennsylvania’s largest law firms. The firm believes it can make contributions not only in legal practice but also in civic and charitable works, and encourages its staff to adopt the same viewpoint. MacDonald Illig looks for high-quality candidates for all areas of its practice, including paralegals, and invites interested applicants to submit a resume. Located in Center Valley within the Lehigh Valley, Fitzpatrick Lentz & Bubba, P.C. is a full-service law firm representing clients of all types and sizes. The firm encourages its employees to discuss cases in the pursuit of finding solutions for clients, and is always accepting inquiries. Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC is one of the largest law firms in New England, and has two offices in Pennsylvania. This firm places special value on the contributions of paralegals to its practice.

Paralegal Schools and Programs in Pennsylvania

An asterisk indicates that one or more of the school’s programs have been approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).

Bucks County Community College (Newtown)*
Associate Degree | Paralegal Studies
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Paralegal Studies

Central Penn College (Summerdale)*
Associate of Science | Paralegal
Bachelor of Science | Legal Studies

Clarion University of Pennsylvania (Oil City)*
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration | Paralegal Studies
Bachelor of Science | Courts and Community Services
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies
Advanced Certificate | Paralegal Studies
Advanced Certificate | Paralegal Studies: Oil and Gas
Certificate | Legal Office Supervisor

Community College of Allegheny County (Pittsburgh)
Associate of Science | Paralegal
Certificate | Paralegal

Community College of Philadelphia (Philadelphia)*
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal

Delaware County Community College (Media)*
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal
Certificate | Paralegal Studies

Duquesne University (Pittsburgh)*
Certificate | Paralegal: General Practice
Certificate | Paralegal: Civil Litigation
Certificate | Paralegal: Corporate Law
Certificate | Paralegal: Estates
Certificate | Paralegal: Litigation Technology

Gannon University (Erie)*
Bachelor of Arts | Legal Studies
Associate of Arts | Legal Studies
Certificate | Paralegal Studies

Harrisburg Area Community College (Harrisburg)*
Associate of Arts | Paralegal Studies
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Paralegal Studies

Lehigh Carbon Community College (Schnecksville)*
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Certificate | Paralegal Studies

Manor College (Jenkintown)*
Associate of Science | Legal Studies
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Legal Studies
Certificate | Legal Nurse Consultant

Northampton Community College (Bethlehem)*
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal

Peirce College (Philadelphia)*
Bachelor of Science | Legal Studies in Business
Bachelor of Science | Legal Studies in Business (online)
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies (online)
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Paralegal Studies
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Paralegal Studies (online)

Pennsylvania College of Technology (Williamsport)*
Bachelor of Science | Legal Assistant/Paralegal Studies
Associate of Applied Science | Legal Assistant/Paralegal
Minor | Legal Studies
Certificate | Nurse/Health Care Paralegal Studies

Villanova University (Villanova)*
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Paralegal Studies

*Approved by the American Bar Association (ABA)

Additional Resources

  • Keystone Alliance of Paralegal Associations – The Keystone Alliance is a non-profit organization that supports paralegals in the Pennsylvania by helping them find jobs, gain education, and connect with other members.
  • Central Pennsylvania Paralegal Association – CPPA is a professional organization supporting paralegals and paralegal students in central Pennsylvania, offering continuing education opportunities and networking opportunities to its members.

1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm#ind
2. Bureau of Economic Analysis: http://www.bea.gov/
3. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Unemployment Rates for States: http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm