Florida is the home of Cape Canaveral, of Disney World and of the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars NFL teams. It’s also the state where the first ever graded road was built in the U.S. It’s a state of great pride in its accomplishments and traditions, and part of those traditions are those of law and order. Paralegals are vital to the success of the legal system, and voluntary registration in this state allows you to increase your chances of making a great career as a paralegal. If this job seems like a great path for you, read everything you need to know to become a paralegal in Florida.
How to Become a Paralegal in Florida
- Certification: Certification is part of becoming a registered paralegal.
- Age: Registration requires at least legal adulthood.
- Licensure: In this state, paralegals complete the Florida Registered Paralegal Program, but registration is entirely voluntary. One does not have to be registered to work as a paralegal in Florida.
- Degree: At least a bachelor’s degree is required, or an associate’s degree plus experience.
- Experience: 2 years of paralegal work experience allows registration with an associate’s degree.
- Citizenship: You must be able to work as a legal resident of the U.S.
- To become certified, one must pass the PACE (Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam).
Certification Process in Florida
When you have completed all requirements, submit your application plus an accompanying $145 fee. You’ll need to provide proof of meeting the registration requirements, including your transcripts and exam results. Your paralegal registration will be good for one year before you’ll have to renew it, which carries an additional fee every year and requires 30 hours of continuing education.
Degrees Related to Paralegals
Paralegals in Florida must complete an approved degree program in an area such as legal studies, law and government, criminal justice or a similar field.
Major Cities in Florida
- Jacksonville is Florida’s largest city, with 842,583 residents.
- Miami, home of the Dolphins NFL team, hosts 417,650 people.
- Tampa is the third largest city in the state, which 352,957 folks call home.
- Orlando, renowned for Disney World, has 255,483 residents.
- St. Petersburg is the fifth-largest city, with 249,688 residents.
- The state capital of Tallahassee has 186,411 residents.
What Does a Paralegal Do in Florida?
Paralegals perform administrative support for lawyers to improve legal access and help prepare for court cases. They write reports, file documents, investigate cases, perform legal research, file briefs, draft contracts and other documents, and interview clients.
Claims adjusters, legal secretaries and legal assistants all perform closely-related duties to those performed by a paralegal.
Employment Numbers in Florida
According to the BLS, job openings for paralegals should increase by up to 18% in the next couple of years, with 21,820 people working in the field across the state.
Bureau of Labor Statistics Salary Ranges in Florida
The average salary for a Florida paralegal is $50,300, but top earners in the field can pull down over $70,000, according to the BLS.