Florida Paralegal Schools

Florida has the second-highest statewide employment level in the United States for paralegals, with over 30,000 paralegals working in the state.1 The state also has one of the highest concentrations of paralegals per capita in the US.1 For these reasons, it makes good sense for an aspiring paralegal to consider enrolling in a Florida paralegal degree or certificate program, as earning a paralegal degree can help you qualify to work in this growing field. Florida paralegal schools offer students a variety of options for earning a degree or certificate. Two-year, four-year, and certificate programs are offered online and on campuses across the state. Several Florida paralegal programs are approved by the American Bar Association.

How to Become a Paralegal in Florida

There are currently no state-level requirements to become a paralegal in Florida, though the Florida Bar offers professional registration for paralegals who are qualified through education, work experience, and/ or national certification. Whether or not a paralegal is registered, he or she must work under the direct supervision of a member of the Florida Bar Association. Paralegals in Florida may not dispense legal advice, accept clients, or represent clients in court.

Florida Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook

The legal services sector is a growing industry. Projections Central estimates that jobs growth for paralegals and legal assistants in Florida will reach 20.6% through 2024, which is faster than the national average growth rate of 15%.2,3 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for paralegals in Florida was $50,120 as of 2018.1 Well-qualified paralegals, particularly those working in areas where demand is high, have the potential to earn more than the average.

Paralegal Quote “There is definitely demand for experienced paralegals who are bilingual (sometimes). The big deal is experience and then if you have a Certified paralegal (CP) or RP or FRP designation as well – that ups your chances and salary range.” -Karen R. George, President of the South Florida Paralegal Association

Florida Paralegal Career Interviews

Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Florida

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Broward College: Broward College offers an ABA-approved Associate of Science degree in Paralegal Studies (Legal Assisting). Class sizes are small, between 25 and 30 students, and topics ranging from legal writing, criminal and civil litigation, and real estate closing procedures are highlighted. A total of 64 program credit hours are required to receive the degree, and core courses include Civil Litigation, Corporations, Procedures for Real Estate, Domestic Relations, Immigration Law, Legal Writing and Drafting, and Debtor/Creditor Relations. Classes are available in the evening to accommodate the schedules of working students.

Florida State College at Jacksonville: Students at Florida State College at Jacksonville can pursue an American Bar Association-approved Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies (legal assisting). This two-year degree consists of 64 total credit hours, with 31 hours geared towards paralegal studies courses and 15 hours reserved for professional core and elective courses. Students may gain practical experience through an internship in a legal office approved by supervising faculty. Florida State College at Jacksonville has an extensive law-related elective course inventory, allowing paralegal students to pursue the specializations of their choice.

St. Petersburg College: St. Petersburg College (SPC) offers three programs that prepare future paralegals for professional careers: the Associate of Science (AS) in Paralegal Studies, the Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Paralegal Studies, and a Paralegal Studies post-baccalaureate certificate. All three programs hold approval from the American Bar Association (ABA). The 64-credit hour AS degree offers opportunities to specialize in up to three areas of law while training graduates for entry-level legal careers. AS graduates may also later transfer credits earned towards SPC's BAS in Paralegal Studies. The BAS in Paralegal Studies at SPC is the only bachelor's degree program in paralegal studies in Florida approved by the ABA. The program requires 120 credit hours to complete and prepares paralegals for leadership roles. The Paralegal Studies certificate requires 24 credit hours to complete, qualifies graduates to sit for the National Association of Legal Assistants Certified Legal Assisting Examination, and is open to students who already hold a bachelor's degree.

Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in Florida

Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A. (QPWB) has been ranked within the top 25 law firms in Florida by Florida Trend and has also been recognized as a top firm by the South Florida Legal Guide. Its comprehensive practice area list covers client needs in all areas of law. QPWB hires qualified candidates who want to work in a fast-paced environment in any of its offices. Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC is a highly ranked Florida law firm; its attorneys and practice are regularly included in The Best Lawyers in America and Chambers. Staff at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney enjoy support for family commitments and wellness, a diverse workplace that supports community involvement, and a team-oriented workplace. Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A. is consistently ranked by the Wall Street Journal, The American Lawyer, Corporate Counsel, and others as one of the top law firms in Florida. The firm needs dedicated paralegal graduates to support the work of its attorneys in multiple practice areas.

Paralegal Schools and Programs in Florida

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

Barry University (Miami)
Bachelor of Science | Administration, Legal Studies Specialization

Broward College (Pembroke Pines)*
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies (Legal Assisting)

City College (Casselberry; Gainesville)
Associate of Science | Legal Assisting/Paralegal

College of Central Florida, Ocala Campus (Ocala)
Associate of Science | Paralegal

Daytona State College (Daytona Beach)
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies

Eastern Florida State College (Cocoa)
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies
Certificate | Legal Office Specialist

Florida International University (Miami)
Certificate | Paralegal

Florida SouthWestern State College (Fort Myers)*
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies

Florida State College at Jacksonville (Jacksonville)*
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies
Advanced Technical Certificate | Paralegal Studies

Gulf Coast State College (Panama City)
Associate of Science | Legal Assisting/Paralegal

Hillsborough Community College (Ybor)
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies (Legal Assisting)
Advanced Technical Certificate | Paralegal Studies (Legal Assisting)

Hodges University (Naples)
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies (online)
Bachelor of Science | Legal Studies: Real Estate Law Concentration
Bachelor of Science | Legal Studies: Bankruptcy Concentration
Bachelor of Science | Legal Studies: Family Law Concentration
Bachelor of Science | Legal Studies: Litigation Concentration
Master of Legal Studies | General Legal Studies Track
Master of Legal Studies | General Legal Studies Track (online)
Master of Legal Studies | Conflict Resolution Track
Master of Legal Studies | Conflict Resolution Track (online)
Certificate | eDiscovery/eLitigation (online)
Certificate | eDiscovery/eLitigation Accelerated Program (online)

Indian River State College (Fort Pierce)
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies

Manatee Technical College (Bradenton)
Certificate | Legal Administrative Specialist

Miami Dade College (Miami)*
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies

Northwest Florida State College (Niceville)
Associate in Science | Paralegal Studies

Nova Southeastern University (Fort Lauderdale)*
Master of Science | Conflict Analysis & Resolution
Master of Science | Conflict Analysis & Resolution (online)
Bachelor of Science | Paralegal Studies
Bachelor of Science | Legal Studies
Minor | Paralegal Studies
Minor | International Law
Minor | Legal Studies
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Advanced Conflict Resolution Practice
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Advanced Conflict Resolution Practice (online)

Palm Beach State College (Lake Worth)
Associate of Science | Paralegal

Pasco-Hernando Community College (New Port Richey)
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies (Legal Assisting)
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies (Legal Assisting) (online)

Pensacola State College (Pensacola)
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies (Legal Assisting)
Associate of Arts | Pre-Law/Pre-Legal Administration

Seminole State College of Florida (Sanford)*
Associate of Science | Legal Assistant/Paralegal

Sheridan Technical College (Hollywood)
Certificate | Court Reporting (online)
Certificate | Legal Administrative Specialist (online)

Southeastern University (Lakeland)
Bachelor of Science | Legal Studies

St. Petersburg College (Clearwater)*
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies
Bachelor of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Paralegal Studies

State College of Florida-Manatee-Sarasota (Bradenton)
Associate of Science | Paralegal/Legal Assisting
Advanced Technical Certificate | Paralegal/Legal Assisting
Associate of Arts | Paralegal/Legal Assisting

Suncoast Technical College (Sarasota)
Certificate | Legal Administrative Specialist

Tallahassee Community College (Tallahassee)
Associate of Science | Paralegal/Legal Studies

University of Central Florida (Orlando)
Bachelor of Arts | Legal Studies
Bachelor of Science | Legal Studies

University of Miami (Miami)
Certificate | Paralegal

University of West Florida (Pensacola)
Bachelor of Arts | Legal Studies

Valencia College (Orlando)*
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies

*Approved by the American Bar Association (ABA)

Additional Resources

References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2018 Occupational Employment and Wages, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm
2. Projections Central Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm