The evidence is clear: Paralegals are in demand in Wake County. Labor market statistics predict the number of paralegal positions will continue to grow by some 15 percent over the next decade.
To serve the growing needs of Wake County residents and ease the shortage of qualified paralegals for employers, Wake Tech is launching an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree in Paralegal Technology this fall. Classes will be offered in person, online and in hybrid format.
Paralegals perform routine legal tasks, provide clerical support and assist with substantive legal work under the supervision of an attorney. Coursework includes substantive and procedural legal knowledge in the areas of civil litigation, legal research and writing, real estate, family law, wills, estates, trusts, and commercial law. Graduates are trained to assist attorneys in probate work, investigations, public records search, drafting and filing legal documents, research, and office management.
Employment opportunities are available in private law firms, state and federal governmental agencies and court systems, banks, insurance agencies, and other business organizations. In Wake County, paralegals earn a median salary of $37,858, according to Burning Glass Technologies. They are generally well read, are attentive to detail, and have strong writing and organizational skills.
“It’s a very versatile degree that prepares graduates to work in a variety of legal environments,” says Catherine Lassiter, Dean of Business and Public Services Technologies. “A paralegal is an excellent career choice that gives graduates the knowledge and skills they need to find employment within an in-demand profession that leads to a living wage.”
In addition to the degree, Wake Tech will offer a three-semester post baccalaureate diploma in paralegal technology for students who already have an undergraduate degree. “That program is designed for individuals who are ‘upskilling’ to increase their employability in the legal community,” Lassiter says.
Upon completion of the AAS degree and diploma, graduates may take the North Carolina Certified Paralegal exam administered by the North Carolina Bar Association.
Jahely Guevara plans to be one of the first students in the program this fall.
“When I first started researching degrees at Wake Tech, paralegal was one program I was interested in. I really hope to continue my education at a four-year college and then pursue my law degree. I think a degree in paralegal is a good place for me to get a good foundation.”
Interested in becoming a paralegal? Learn more at waketech.edu/paralegal.
Where Can Paralegals Work?
- Law firms
- Corporate legal departments
- State and federal government agencies
- Insurance agencies