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Virginia Paralegal Schools

In 2015 about 8,370 paralegals were employed in Virginia, with most working in the Richmond and Virginia Beach-Norfolk metropolitan areas.1 A wealth of federal and state government agencies with offices in Virginia require the services of paralegals. Virginia paralegal schools offer specialized training with paralegal degree programs that prepare graduates to launch careers in this fast-growing field.

How to Become a Paralegal in Virginia

As in most other states, paralegals in Virginia are required by law to work under the supervision of a licensed lawyer and are not permitted to give legal advice to the general public. While the state does not have any specific requirements to practice as a paralegal, the Virginia Alliance of Paralegal Associations does recommend guidelines for employers regarding hiring paralegals, which include completing an ABA-approved paralegal program before being hired. As a result, aspiring paralegals in the state can become more competitive by completing a formal degree program.

Virginia Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook

Virginia paralegals earn higher than average salaries for the profession, at $51,360 statewide in 2015.1 Paralegals in the northern part of the state, particularly in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria metro area, earn a significantly higher average, at $69,560 as of 2015.1 With a relatively low state unemployment rate of 3.7% as of July 2016, Virginia provides a strong market for legal professionals, with projected jobs growth for paralegals of 12.3% through 2024.2,3 Paralegal aspirants can find a number of government openings throughout the state, especially near Washington, DC and Hampton Roads. With high salaries and good employment prospects, Virginia is a good place for prospective paralegals to get a paralegal degree and start their careers.

Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Virginia

Northern Virginia Community College: An American Bar Association approved Associate of Applied Science in paralegal studies is offered at Northern Virginia Community College. This 65-credit hour course of study typically takes two years to complete. 33 credit hours are dedicated to major courses. Fundamental paralegal studies courses include Introduction to Law and the Legal Assistant, Family Law, Legal Research, and Legal Writing. The internship course is an elective, but few students forgo the opportunity to obtain hands-on law office experience.

Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in Virginia

Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen, PC, also called The Allen Law Firm, has eight offices across the state of Virginia. A personal injury law firm, The Allen Law Firm has been recognized by US News as a top tier firm and has also been ranked as one of the best places to work in Virginia. The firm has an excellent reputation and provides competitive salaries and benefits to its staff. Albo & Oblon, LLP has five offices in Virginia, from which it provides a full spectrum of legal representation to businesses and individuals. The firm is looking to expand its practice areas, and as a continually growing firm regularly recruits for paralegals. Woods Rogers PLC is one of the largest law firms in Virginia west of Richmond and specializes in business and litigation. Woods Rogers offers paralegals the opportunity to work in a sophisticated office in a local environment that contributes to a high quality of life.

Paralegal Schools and Programs in Virginia

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

American National University, Inc. (Salem)*
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal

Hampton University (Hampton)
Bachelor of Arts | Paralegal Studies
Bachelor of Arts | Paralegal Studies (online program)
Certificate | Paralegal Studies

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College (Richmond)*
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies

Marymount University (Arlington)
Pre-Professional Studies | Pre-Law

Mountain Empire Community College (Big Stone Gap)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies

New River Community College (Dublin)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Administrative Support
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies

Northern Virginia Community College (Annandale)*
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies (online)

Thomas Nelson Community College (Hampton)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Certificate | Legal Assistant

Tidewater Community College (Norfolk)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Certificate | Legal Assistant
Certificate | Litigation Specialist
Certificate | Paralegal General Practice Specialist

University of Richmond (Richmond)
Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies | Paralegal Studies
Certificate in Applied Studies | Paralegal Studies

Virginia Western Community College (Roanoke)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies

*Approved by the American Bar Association (ABA)

Additional Resources

References:
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. US Bureau of Labor Statistics Local Area Unemployment Statistics, Unemployment Rates for States: http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm
3. Projections Central Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm