Becoming a paralegal in Kentucky is a great option for those looking to join a growing field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Kentucky is estimated to experience a 12.8 percent job growth for paralegals from 2012 to 2022. Additionally, the Kentucky paralegal profession’s positive growth rate is projected to be higher than many of the state’s other major occupations.
If you’re considering joining this rewarding profession, certification is not required in Kentucky. However, it is strongly encouraged that you acquire certain credentials in order to be a competitive applicant in the job pool. We’ll outline some of those credentials below.
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How to Become a Paralegal in Kentucky
- Certification: Kentucky does not require certification, but you are encouraged to become a Certified Kentucky Paralegal (CKP) as developed by the Kentucky Paralegal Association (KPA).
- Age: 18 years of age or older.
- Licensure: Licensure is also not required in the state.
- Degree: Although it is not mandatory, you will be at an advantage should you choose to obtain a degree in paralegal studies. There are several programs in Kentucky approved by the American Bar Association (ABA), but ABA-approval is not required.
- Experience: Professional experience may be obtained through your college or university’s paralegal program or through Kentucky’s volunteer opportunities, like the Legal Aid Society in Louisville.
- Citizenship: Paralegals should be residents of the state and a U.S. citizen or legal immigrant.
- Ethics: As required in all 50 states, paralegals must abide by the code of ethics, which describes the job’s ethical obligations.
- Background Check: Most law firms, government agencies and corporations require a background check as part of the the hiring process.
Certification Process in Kentucky
As previously mentioned, certification is not required, but is strongly encouraged. You may obtain different levels of certification through state-offered paralegal programs. These options include bachelor’s and associate’s degrees or ABA-approved certificate programs.
If you have completed paralegal education, you may become a CKP. Designated CKPs are recognized as the most competent and qualified paralegals in Kentucky. You are able to become a CKP if you’ve completed a paralegal program (does not necessarily need to be ABA-approved), if you hold a bachelor’s degree in any field yet have a year of work experience as a paralegal or if you have five years of experience as a paralegal under the supervision of a Kentucky attorney.
The exam has 40 questions and is offered annually in Bowling Green, Kentucky. A score of 70 or above is considered passing. There are also national certification exams offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA).
Degrees Related to Paralegals
There are several different degrees related to paralegals in the state of Kentucky. They do not necessarily need to be ABA-approved. Paralegal science, paralegal studies or criminal justice are all valid degree options.
Major Cities in Kentucky
- Lexington is the largest city in Kentucky with 308,428 residents, according to a 2013 census.
- Next is Louisville, which has about 253,128 residents.
- The third largest city in the state is Bowling Green with 61,488 people.
What Does a Paralegal Do in Kentucky?
- The Kentucky Supreme Court Rule 3.700 requires paralegals in the state to disclose to all of their clients that they are not licensed attorneys. The rule also states that paralegals must be directly supervised by licensed attorneys and maintain client confidentiality.
- Paralegals will assist attorneys in essential legal tasks in preparation for court trials.
- A paralegal make work for large or small corporations and organizations, law firms, educational institutions or other facilities which require legal help.
Claim adjusters, legal secretaries and legal assistants often share similar job functions with paralegals in Kentucky.
Employment Numbers in Kentucky
As of 2015, 3,150 people were employed as paralegals in the state of Kentucky.
Bureau of Labor Statistics Salary Ranges in Kentucky
The annual average wage for paralegals in the state is $46,430.
Kentucky Related Organizational Links
Education Programs for Paralegals in Kentucky
- Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies (partially online)
- Legal Studies, BA
- Paralegal Studies, AA
- B.S. in Legal Studies
- A.S. in Legal Studies
- Certificate: Paralegal (Legal Studies)
- Master of Divinitiy - Law Studies
- Master of Business Administration in International Legal Studies
- Master of Business Administration in American Legal Studies