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South Dakota Paralegal Schools

South Dakota paralegal schools offer students the ability to earn a paralegal degree in one of America’s fastest-growing career fields. While South Dakota paralegals can’t offer legal advice or represent clients, they do play a key role in how a case is developed. About 320 paralegals worked in the state as of 2015.1 The highest concentration of paralegals in the state can be found in the Sioux Falls area, where about half of South Dakota’s paralegal workforce is employed.1

How to Become a Paralegal in South Dakota

There are a number of schools that offer associate degree or bachelor’s degree programs that prepare students to become paralegals in South Dakota. South Dakota law requires paralegals and legal assistants to meet minimum qualifications in order to work in the state. Although there are several routes to meeting these qualifications, the most commonly followed path is to complete an American Bar Association-approved paralegal program. As a result, aspiring paralegals in the state should strongly consider seeking an education in paralegal studies, especially one that offers an internship so that students can gain experience they can use later.

South Dakota Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook

Paralegals in South Dakota saw average salaries of $42,730 per year in 2015.1 While the state employs a relatively low number of paralegals, the field is expected to grow in the state, increasing by 12.1% by 2024 according to Projections Central estimates.2 South Dakota also boasts a low unemployment rate, with the lowest rate in the nation at 2.8% as of July 2016.3

Profiles of Well-Known Schools in South Dakota

National American University – Sioux Falls: National American University – Sioux Falls offers two American Bar Association-approved paralegal studies programs: a Bachelor of Science and an Associate of Applied Science. With a mandatory internship, paralegal studies students will gain valuable professional experience and be ready for employment upon graduation. With a technology-centered curriculum, students become skilled legal researchers with both traditional and electronic sources. Since National American University offers courses across the continental United States, many courses are now being offered online to meet the demands of the growing student body.

Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in South Dakota

The Bangs McCullen Law Firm was founded in the Dakota Territory before South Dakota became a state, and has developed with changing legal theory and technology to become one of the most respected law firms in South Dakota today. The firm’s attorneys work in a variety of practice areas from its offices in Rapid City and Sioux Falls. Bangs McCullen regularly recruits for paralegals. Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz & Smith LLP is one of the largest law firms in South Dakota and has grown its practice by listening to its clients’ needs. Davenport Evans invites qualified paralegals to inquire about opportunities with the firm. Gunderson Palmer Nelson Ashmore LLP partners with its clients to provide solutions to their needs, and prides itself on its experience in various areas of the law. Gunderson Palmer frequently recruits for paralegals to join its team.

Paralegal Schools and Programs in South Dakota

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

National American University (Rapid City)*
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Bachelor of Science | Paralegal Studies

National American University (Sioux Falls)*
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Bachelor of Science | Paralegal Studies

*Approved by the American Bar Association (ABA)

Additional Resources

  • South Dakota Paralegal Association – This non-profit organization was established to grow the paralegal profession and is afflicted with the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).

1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm
2. Projections Central Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
3. US Bureau of Labor Statistics Local Area Unemployment Statistics, Unemployment Rates for States: http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm