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Texas Paralegal Schools

In May 2014, Texas employed 21,370 paralegals, with the Dallas and Houston metropolitan areas among the top ten areas with the highest employment level for paralegals in the country.1 The second most populous state in the country, Texas is fourth in the highest employment of paralegals and has a fast growing population of 27 million residents.1,2 Texas paralegal schools afford aspiring applicants the ability to get on the fast track to a career that is growing quickly, in spite of the recent economic downturn. While law firms struggle to keep attorneys, the workload is increasingly borne by paralegals in Texas. With a number of two, four-year and even certificate programs for those who have already had some coursework after high school, Texas paralegal schools offer a number of focused paralegal degree options for students looking to enter a growing field.

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Texas Paralegal Certification

The Texas Board of Legal Specialization was established by the Supreme Court of Texas and provides voluntary certification to both attorneys and paralegals in seven specific areas of the law. Applicants must meet certain criteria, including having at least five years of experience working as a paralegal under the supervision of a licensed attorney. In addition, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree or higher, be a graduate of an ABA-approved paralegal program, or be certified and in good standing with the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). If so qualified, applicants must then submit a $75 application fee and a $125 exam fee.

Paralegal Quote: “One of the best supervising attorneys I ever worked with told me not to make excuses when I made a mistake, because he didn’t want to hear them. Instead, he wanted me acknowledge my mistake, learn from it, and then work on fixing it. Most paralegals are Type A personalities, and we’re devastated when something goes wrong, especially when it’s our fault. But it will happen (more than once) during even the most successful career. What’s most important is that you and your supervising attorney work together to come up with a plan to address mistakes right away – and then take steps to make sure the same mistake doesn’t happen again.” -Lynne J. DeVenny, author of the blog Practical Paralegalism and co-host of the podcast The Paralegal Voice.

Texas Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook

Pay varies in large part by the employer as well as level of experience, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2014, Texas paralegals made an average annual salary of $51,850, with the highest average salaries in the state reported in Houston, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Odessa and Midland.1 More good news for prospective paralegals in Texas is that the outlook is above average. The field is expected to grow by 29.8% by 2022, compared to just 16.7% in the whole United States.3 The Bureau of Economic Analysis, which measures the gross domestic product of each state, reported that during the years of 2012-2013, the state of Texas, which was the third largest state economy (after California and New York), saw an increase of 5.2% in the area of professional and business services, which includes paralegal services.4 This is higher than the national increase for the same period, which was 3.5%.4 Coupled with the fact that the state accounts for 7.8% of all US activity, this increase is significant and promising to aspiring paralegals in the state.

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ABA-Approved Paralegal Schools in Texas

There are several Texas paralegal schools that have been approved by the American Bar Association certification. They include:

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Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Texas

Texas A&M University – Commerce: The Department of Political Science at Texas A&M University – Commerce offers its students a Bachelor of Arts/Science in paralegal studies – both approved by the American Bar Association. The required major courses for this degree are Principles of United States and Texas Government: Institutions and Policy, Introduction to Law, Legal Research, Law Office Management, Civil Procedure, Paralegal Internship, and Torts and Personal Injury. Students must also complete 12 hours of designated specialty courses such as Bankruptcy for Paralegals, Family Law, and Business Law for Paralegals. The Department of Political Science has 11 full-time and part-time faculty members contributing towards the paralegal studies curriculum.

Texas State University: Texas State University’s Department of Political Science offers an American Bar Association-approved paralegal certificate as well as the state’s only ABA-approved graduate (MA in Legal Studies) program. The Master of Arts is a 36-hour course of study and students can choose either MA in general studies or one of three specializations: Alternative Dispute Resolution, Environmental Law, and Legal Administration. The paralegal certificate program is designed to supplement an existing degree. Both educational plans have a mandatory internship for students, but should a student have substantial law office experience, he or she can petition to enroll in a special emphasis course instead.

Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in Texas

Haynes and Boone LLP is a newer firm, but it is already one of the largest law firms in the US. The firm started by specializing in securities law, and has since expanded to cover a broad range of legal services. Believing that its staff defines its practice, Haynes and Boone seeks the most qualified applicants for its paralegal openings. Andrews Kurth LLP has been recognized by US News and Best Lawyers as a first tier law firm. Andrews Kurth puts an emphasis on cultivating a professional and engaging workplace culture, and strives to provide its paralegals with training and growth opportunities. Jackson Walker LLP has been in business for over 125 years, and this high volume, broad practice firm needs paralegals to support and fuel its continuing growth.

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Online and Texas Paralegal Schools

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Featured Paralegal School in TX

Texas A & M University-Commerce (Commerce, TX) >>Request Information!
web.tamu-commerce.edu
(888) 868-2862

Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Bachelor of Arts | Paralegal
Bachelor of Science | Paralegal


Paralegal Schools in Texas

Amarillo College (Amarillo, TX)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal

Arlington Career Institute (Grand Prairie, TX)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Certificate | Paralegal

Austin Community College District (Austin, TX)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate Degree | Paralegal
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal

Center for Advanced Legal Studies (Houston, TX)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate Degree | Paralegal
Certificate | Paralegal

Central Texas College (Killeen, TX)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Certificate | Paralegal/Legal Assistant

Collin College (Plano, TX)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal/Legal Assistant
Certificate | Paralegal

Del Mar College (Corpus Christi, TX)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal

El Paso Community College (El Paso, TX)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Certificate | Paralegal Studies

Everest College (Arlington, TX / Dallas, TX / Fort Worth, TX)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies

Iverson Business School (Arlington, TX)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies

Kaplan College (San Antonio, TX)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate Degree | Paralegal

Lamar State College-Port Arthur (Port Arthur, TX)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies

Lee College (Baytown, TX)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Certificate | Paralegal Studies

McLennan Community College (Waco, TX)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal

Midland College (Midland, TX)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Associate of Arts | Paralegal Studies
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies
Bachelor Degree | Paralegal Studies
Certificate | Paralegal Studies

Navarro College (Corsicana, TX)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies (online)

San Jacinto College (Pasadena, TX)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies

South Plains College (Levelland, TX)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Certificate | Paralegal Studies

South Texas College (McAllen, TX)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal

South Texas Vocational Technical Institute (McAllen, TX)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate Degree | Paralegal/Legal Assistant

Tarrant County College (Fort Worth, TX)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal

Texas State University-San Marcos (San Marcos, TX)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Certificate | Paralegal

The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College (Brownsville, TX)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate Degree | Paralegal Studies

Tyler Junior College (Tyler, TX)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal

Virginia College (Austin, TX)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate Degree | Paralegal Studies

Westwood College (Dallas, TX / Fort Worth, TX / Houston, TX)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate Degree | Paralegal Studies

Wharton County Junior College (Wharton, TX)
Paralegal Degrees Offered:
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies

Additional Resources:

State Bar of Texas: Paralegal Division – Provides useful information to paralegals and prospective paralegals in the state, including membership information, codes of ethics, and events.

Texas Alliance of Paralegal Associations – Offers networking opportunities and information about continuing education, public relation projects, and recent legislation and law.

North Texas Paralegal Association – Affiliated with the National Association of Legal Assistants/ Paralegals (NALA), this organization was established to support legal assistants and paralegals in the northern Texas region.

West Texas Paralegal Association – Association for west Texas paralegals affiliated with the National Association of Legal Assistants/ Paralegals (NALA).

References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm#ind
2. Texas.gov: www.texas.gov/
3. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
4. Bureau of Economic Analysis: http://www.bea.gov/