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Washington Paralegal Schools

The state of Washington employed 5,350 paralegals in 2014, most of whom live around the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett and the Tacoma areas.1 Becoming a paralegal in Washington State is a targeted path to job opportunities that are growing faster than average, compared to other positions. Washington paralegal schools offer courses to earn a paralegal degree and develop the education and skills needed to enter a field that is projected grow quickly by 2022, thanks to private and public sector needs.

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 for being a paralegal in the state, so prospective paralegals can start by pursuing a degree or a certification in paralegal studies, or by gaining experience on the job.

Washington Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook

Washington paralegals make much more than in other states, bringing home an average of $56,590 per year in 2014.1 In fact, the state is the fifth top paying state in the nation for paralegals, just behind New Jersey.1 In the Seattle area, paralegals enjoy average salaries around $62,930.1 The job prospect for Washington paralegals is also far better than average, with a projected increase in the industry by 2022 of 32.6%, nearly twice as fast as the rest of the country.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 hours and the two post-baccalaureate certificates are 30 hours and 35 hours. 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, paralegal and a paralegal preferred pro- certificate; both approved by the American Bar Association. The AAS consists of 100 credits and the paralegal preferred pro-certificate is only 55 credits. 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, and 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 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 out 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

1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm#ind
2. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm