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Washington Paralegal Schools

About 5,160 paralegals were employed in Washington as of 2015, most of whom worked in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett and Tacoma metro areas.1 Becoming a paralegal in Washington state is a targeted path to a career field that is growing faster than average compared to other professions. Washington paralegal schools offer a variety of paths towards earning a paralegal degree and launching a career in the legal services sector.

How to Become a Paralegal in Washington

Paralegals in Washington must work under the direct supervision of a licensed attorney. There are no specific requirements set by law for becoming a paralegal in the state, so prospective paralegals can start by pursuing a degree or certification in paralegal studies, or by gaining experience on the job. However, most attorneys do prefer to hire applicants who have formal paralegal training.

Washington Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook

Washington paralegals make a higher average salary than paralegals in other states, bringing home an average of $57,230 per year in 2015.1 This is one of the highest statewide average salaries in the nation for paralegals, just behind New York state.1 In the Seattle area, paralegals enjoy even higher average salaries, at $62,630 as of 2015.1 Job prospects for Washington paralegals are also strong, with a projected increase in paralegal positions of 8.4% through 2024.2 In addition to law firms, corporate legal and finance departments often have openings for paralegals in Washington, as do public agencies at the state and local levels.

Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Washington

Edmonds Community College: Edmonds Community College in Lynwood, Washington has three American Bar Association-approved paralegal programs: an Associate of Technical Arts, an advanced paralegal certificate, and a medical paralegal certificate. The ATA course of study consists of 90 credit hours while the two post-baccalaureate certificates are 30 credit hours and 35 credit hours, respectively. The unique medical paralegal certificate is designed for individuals in healthcare who wish to expand into a legal career, with coursework centered around issues of liability and case investigation. All paralegal studies students are required to enroll in Introduction to Law and the Legal Process, Civil Procedure, and Legal Research.

Tacoma Community College: Tacoma Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal and a paralegal certificate program, both of which are approved by the American Bar Association. The AAS consists of 100 credit hours. The Paralegal Preferred Pro-Certificate requires 53 credit hours, and admission is limited to those who already possess an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. The core courses for both programs include Professional Document Production, Criminal Law, Paralegal Fundamentals and Ethics, Legal Research and Writing, and Introduction to Civil Law. The elective courses are meant to provide students with room to pursue a specialization such as Family Law, Real Estate Law, Bankruptcy Law, or Employment and Labor Law.

Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in Washington

Luvera Law Firm is a national firm that is recognized for its high standards, ethics, and experience. Luvera Law Firm focuses on providing services related to personal injury litigation and has worked for the Washington State Attorney General as well as other prestigious clients. Staff members at all levels of the firm are encouraged to be active in the communities where they live and work. Van Ness Feldman, LLP maintains an office in Seattle, Washington in addition to its office in Washington, DC, and has been highly ranked by Chambers Global, Chambers USA, Environmental Finance, The Legal 500, and others. This focused firm works in energy, environment, and natural resource law matters, and regularly hires paralegals to support its work. Garvey Schubert Barer is an international firm working in virtually all services and industries, with an office in Seattle. Garvey Schubert Barer seeks motivated, high-performing individuals to join its team.

Paralegal Schools and Programs in Washington

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

Clark College (Vancouver)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal
Certificate | Paralegal

Columbia Basin College (Pasco)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal

Edmonds Community College (Lynnwood)*
Associate of Technical Arts Degree | Paralegal
Advanced Certificate | Paralegal
Certificate | Medical Paralegal

Highline Community College (Des Moines)*
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal
Certificate | Paralegal Plus

South Puget Sound Community College (Olympia)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies

Spokane Community College (Spokane)*
Associate of Applied Science | Legal Administration
Associate of Arts | Pre-Law
Associate of Applied Science | Legal Administrative Assistant
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal
Certificate | Paralegal
Certificate | Legal Clerical Assistant
Certificate | Legal Nurse
Certificate | Legal Office Software Specialist
Certificate | Legal Receptionist

Tacoma Community College (Tacoma)*
Associate in Applied Science | Paralegal
Preferred Pro-Certificate | Paralegal
Program | Limited License Legal Technician

Whatcom Community College (Bellingham)
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies
Certificate | 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. Projections Central Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm