Arizona Paralegal Schools
Arizona paralegal schools offer aspiring paralegals the training needed to work in the legal field in a position that offers strong opportunities for career advancement. Job growth is excellent for individuals who acquire a paralegal degree in Arizona, with job growth in the state projected to reach 23.5% through 2024 – much higher than the national average for paralegals and legal assistants, projected at 8%.1,2 The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that as of May 2015, the average salary for paralegals in Arizona was $52,880, with 4,950 working in the state.3
How to Become a Paralegal in Arizona
Arizona does not currently require specific certification or education before working as a paralegal. However, Arizona was the first state in the US to allow individuals to prepare legal documents for clients without the supervision of an attorney. Those who earn certification as an Arizona Licensed Document Preparer (ALDP) may accept clients and work on certain types of legal documents without attorney supervision. You can enter the paralegal or ALDP profession through hands-on training, formal education, and/ or certification at the national level.
Even though a formal education may not be required by all employers to get a paralegal job in Arizona, it certainly helps. With the coming expected increase in job openings in the field, those who have a degree or certificate in paralegal studies will have an edge over those with no experience or education.
Arizona Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook
The average salary for Arizona paralegals in 2015 was $52,880.3 This is slightly above the national average for paralegals in the same year, which was $48,810, good news for those looking to become a paralegal in Arizona.2 As law firms strive to become more efficient, they are hiring more assistants and giving increasing responsibility to paralegals. Projections Central predicts that paralegal and legal assistant jobs in Arizona will increase by about 28% between 2014 and 2024.1 Good salaries and the strong outlook for Arizona paralegals make this a potentially financially rewarding career option.
Profiles of Well-Known Schools in ArizonaPhoenix College – Phoenix: The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in paralegal studies is the most sought-after program in Phoenix College’s Legal Studies Division. This associate degree is approved by the American Bar Association and generally takes two years to complete. Three full-time faculty teach for the paralegal studies program and instruct students in courses such as The Paralegal Profession, Introduction to Law, Criminal Trial Procedure, and Legal Writing. Students who pursue an internship must commit to 160 hours of supervised work within a law firm or legal office in addition to attending internship seminar classes.
Arizona Western College – Yuma: The Business and Computer Information Division at Arizona Western College offers two paralegal programs, an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Paralegal Studies and an occupational certificate in Paralegal Studies. The AAS program teaches students basic legal skills, including drafting legal documents and technology. The program takes 64 credit hours to complete and includes core courses in Business Law for Paralegals, Probate, Real Estate Transactions, and Administrative Law. The occupational certificate provides entry-level preparation for support positions in legal offices while exposing students to basic legal concepts as well as legal theory and its applications. The certificate requires 28 credit hours to complete.
Pima Community College – Tucson: Pima Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Legal Assisting and a post-degree certificate in paralegal studies. In the AAS program, students learn how to investigate cases, draft legal documents, and conduct legal research. In addition to core paralegal courses such as Legal Research and Legal Writing students are required to take related courses such as Practical Accounting Procedures and Computer Fundamentals. The program also includes a paralegal internship to allow students to apply their learning. The post-degree certificate in paralegal studies is open to students who have previously earned at least an associate’s degree in another subject. The program requires 42 credit hours to complete and prepares graduates for entry-level paralegal work as well as work in related roles like title examiner or trust officer.
Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in Arizona
Nussbaum Gillis & Dinner, P.C. is widely regarded as one of the best law firms in Arizona thanks to a client-centered approach that combines the best qualities of a national firm with the focus on personal attention of a boutique firm. NGD tripled in size in just three years, leading to an aggressive recruiting strategy for attorneys and paralegal staff to fuel its expansion. Snell & Wilmer is one of the largest full service law firms in the Western US, with offices across the Western US and Mexico. Its Phoenix and Tucson offices are centrally located and continually recruit for support staff as Snell & Wilmer expands. Phillips Law Group is among the largest consumer law firms in Arizona and is headquartered in Phoenix. Phillips Law Group works in virtually all areas of consumer litigation, and paralegals at the firm support recognized attorneys with years of experience in their fields.
Paralegal Schools and Programs in Arizona
An asterisk indicates that one or more of the school’s programs have been approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).
Arizona Western College (Yuma)
Associate in Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Occupational Certificate | Paralegal Studies
Phoenix College (Phoenix)*
Associate in Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Certificate of Completion | Paralegal Studies
Pima Community College (Tucson)*
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal
Post-Degree Certificate | Paralegal
Certificate | Basic Business and Industry Technology: Legal Compliance
Certificate | Legal Office Procedures
Certificate | Legal Office Support
*Approved by the American Bar Association
- Arizona Paralegal Association (APA) – Affiliated with the National Association of Legal Assistants, the APA provides opportunities for education and advancement for Arizona paralegals.
- Arizona Association of Independent Paralegals (AAIP) – The AAIP exists to protect and preserve the independence of Arizona paralegals and certified legal document preparers.
1. Projections Central Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm
3. US Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm