West Virginia Paralegal Schools
In 2014, West Virginia employed 2,180 paralegals.1 Though this isn’t an incredibly high number, the state does have one of the highest concentration of paralegal jobs in the country, third after Washington D.C. and Connecticut.1 The highest concentration of paralegal jobs can be found in the Charleston area.1 West Virginia paralegal schools aren’t numerous, but they do offer good opportunities for aspirants considering a career in the legal sector but who don’t want to become attorneys. Shorter programs focus on key law studies and research capabilities, preparing graduates for a paralegal degree and a career in one of the United States’ fastest growing sectors through 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
How to Become a Paralegal in West Virginia
Currently, West Virginia does not have any requirements to become a paralegal, and, like other states, paralegals in West Virginia are required to practice under the supervision of a licensed attorney. In 2010, a bill was introduced, but not yet passed, that advocated for requiring paralegals in the state of West Virginia to complete some education before being certified to practice in the state. While that law has not yet passed, it would be wise for aspiring West Virginia paralegals to start their careers by completing a paralegal degree.
West Virginia Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook
While West Virginia paralegals take home a relatively small salary, averaging $40,830 per year in 2014, its cost of living is also significantly lower than other states, about 13.9% lower than average, so more can be done with the money.2 Through 2022, the paralegal profession is expected to grow by 6.8% in West Virginia, which is lower than in other states, but it is expected to grow faster than that in surrounding states3,4 A paralegal in West Virginia can find opportunities at public sector agencies or corporate legal departments, as well as supervisory roles at law firms.
ABA-Approved Paralegal Schools in West Virginia
There is currently one West Virginia paralegal school that has been approved by the American Bar Association:
- Mountwest Community & Technical College in Huntington offers an Associate of Applied Science in paralegal studies.
Profiles of Well-Known Schools in West Virginia
Mountwest Community and Technical College: The Mountwest Community and Technical College offers an American Bar Association-approved paralegal Associate in Applied Science degree. Graduates from this program are ready to immediately transfer to Marshall University’s undergraduate legal studies program should they desire to complete a four-year degree. This course of study was created in partnership with the West Virginia State Bar and an advisory committee. Many courses at Mountwest Community and Technical College are conveniently offered online or in the hybrid format.
Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in West Virginia
Martin & Seibert, L.C. is a regional firm with offices in West Virginia, as well as in Virginia and Maryland. The firm’s experience is deep, and encompasses many practice areas. Martin & Seibert encourages interested applicants to contact its offices regarding opportunities. Pullin, Fowler, Flanagan, Brown & Poe PLLC focuses on civil litigation, which it approaches with a customer service orientation. Many of its clients are national and regional insurance companies, and the firm itself is growing quickly. This firm is always open to receiving inquiries from paralegals interested in starting a career. Huddleston Bolen LLP is one of the oldest law firms in West Virginia. This full service firm welcomes resumes and inquiries from recent paralegal graduates.
Online and West Virginia Paralegal Schools
Paralegal Schools and Programs in West Virginia
American Public University System (Charles Town, WV)
Associate of Science | Paralegal
Certificate | Paralegal
Blue Ridge Community and Technical College (Martinsburg, WV)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal
ITT Technical Institute (Huntington, WV)
Associate Degree | Paralegal Studies
Mountain State University (Beckley, WV)
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies
Pierpont Community and Technical College (Fairmont, WV)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
West Virginia Business College-Wheeling (Wheeling, WV)
Associate Degree | Paralegal
West Virginia Junior College-Morgantown (Charleston, WV)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal
Legal Assistants/ Paralegals of Southern West Virginia – LAPSWV was established in 2004 to support area legal assistants and paralegals. It is affiliated with the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm#ind
2. Sperling’s Best Places, West Virginia: http://www.bestplaces.net/state/west_virginia
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, West Virginia: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_wv.htm
4. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm