The Utah Department of Workforce Services has reported a very positive outlook for the paralegal job market in the state. Utah is expected to experience job growth of 23.8 percent all the way until 2022. The report also states that an average of 90 paralegal job openings are likely to occur each year as a result of the growth.
Law firms, corporations, government agencies and other organizations in Utah hire paralegals for their invaluable support in legal matters. If you are seeking employment as a paralegal in the state of Utah, there are several things you can do to improve your chances. Although certification and post-secondary education is not required, you may consider the following tips as you prepare for a career in the legal field.
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How to Become a Paralegal in Utah
- Certification: Though it is not required in Utah, national certification is highly recommended.
- Age: You must be 18 years or older to work as a paralegal.
- Licensure: Utah does not require licensure.
- Degree: Education is not mandated, however, the Utah Paralegal Association and the Utah State Bar Paralegal Division recommend a specialized degree.
- Experience: Internships are often part of American Board Association (ABA)-approved paralegal studies programs. Additionally, there are numerous pro bono work experience options in the state. Experience is not required, but is strongly recommended in order to be considered for a position.
- Citizenship: U.S. citizen or legal immigrant status is required.
- Background Check: You will likely be subject to a background check upon hiring.
Certification Process in Utah
Voluntary national certification is strongly encouraged, although not required in the state of Utah. The National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) or the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) offer certification exams which are recommended by the Utah Paralegal Association.
Entry-level paralegals may take a national examination to achieve Certified Paralegal status. For those with at least two years of experience in the legal field and specialized interests, you may take an examination for an Advanced Paralegal Certificate.
Degrees Related to Paralegals
ABA-approved paralegal programs are often preferred, but are not mandatory. Related degrees include paralegal studies, business law, legal studies and other specialized fields.
Major Cities in Utah
- Salt Lake City is the most populous city in the state at 191,180 residents.
- According to a 2013 census, West Valley City has the second largest population in Utah with 133,579 people.
- The third largest city in the state is Provo, which has 116,288 people.
What Does a Paralegal Do in Utah?
- A paralegal in Utah has the option to work in a variety of settings, including law firms, corporations, academic or financial institutions, government agencies or non-profit organizations.
- Paralegals assist attorneys with conducting research and preparing documents for trial.
- As a paralegal, you must avoid offering legal advice to clients. All work is under the supervision of a licensed attorney.
There are a variety of legal support careers related to that of a paralegal. These related jobs might include legal assistants, title examiners, abstractors and searchers and legal secretaries.
Employment Numbers in Utah
As of 2015, Utah employed 2,590 paralegals and legal assistants.
Bureau of Labor Statistics Salary Ranges in Utah
The 2015 report states that paralegals made an average yearly wage of $44,330.
Utah Related Organizational Links
Education Programs for Paralegals in Utah
- Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies (partially online)
- 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
- Master of Science in Legal Studies
- Associate of Applied Science in Legal Support and Services
- Pathway to Paralegal Postbaccalaureate Studies Certificate
- Bachelor of Science in Environmental Policy and Management
- Undergraduate in Legal Studies
- BS in Legal Support and Services - Paralegal Concentration