The paralegal profession has been experiencing growth nationwide, and Vermont is no exception. The state’s paralegal job outlook is projected to experience an 8.8 percent growth until the year 2022, according to the Vermont Department of Labor. This projection is good news for those looking to make their mark as a paralegal in the state.
Although no state-level certifications are necessary to work as a paralegal in Vermont, it is highly recommended that you pursue some level of education, experience or certification in order to secure a position in the legal support field. We will outline what you can do to become a paralegal in Vermont and be on your way to improving the lives of attorneys and their clients.
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How to Become a Paralegal in Vermont
- Certification: Certification is not required to qualify as a paralegal, but national certification of some degree is recommended.
- Age: Paralegals must be 18 or older to work.
- Licensure: The state of Vermont does not require licensure.
- Degree: You are not required by law to hold a degree to work as a paralegal in Vermont, but there are certain educational standards which are necessary to become a Vermont Bar Association (VBA) member, as outlined below.
- Experience: It is recommended that you have first-hand experience either through an internship or through a legal aid or pro bono organization.
- Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen or legal immigrant.
- Background Check: Paralegal applicants are often subject to criminal and professional background checks.
Certification Process in Vermont
The Vermont Paralegal Association (VPA) recommends national certification through either the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) or the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA). While certification is not mandatory, it is strongly recommended in order to be considered for a paralegal position.
The NALA provides two certifications upon successful completion of their exams — Certified Paralegal and Advanced Paralegal Certification. The NFPA offers the Paralegal Core Competency Exam (PCCE) and the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (PACE). Upon passing either exam, you will become a registered paralegal.
Degrees Related to Paralegals
There are several educational routes aspiring paralegals may take in order to obtain associate membership in the VBA. Membership is granted if you complete one of the following criteria:
- Bachelor’s degree or paralegal program with 6 months of on-the-job training.
- Associate’s degree or paralegal program with one year of on-the-job training.
- Associate’s degree in paralegal studies with one year of on-the-job training.
- Bachelor’s degree in the field of your choice with one year of on-the-job training.
- Associate’s degree in the field of your choice with two years of on-the-job training.
- Paralegal education program and high school diploma with two years of on-the-job training.
- High school diploma with four years on on-the-job training.
If you are seeking a degree related to paralegal studies, litigation, business law, general practice law and legal studies are similar in nature.
Major Cities in Vermont
- At 42,284 residents, Burlington is the most populated city in Vermont.
- The second most populous city in the state is Essex with 19,587 people.
- South Burlington is the third largest city population-wise with 18,612 people.
What Does a Paralegal Do in Vermont?
- Paralegals in Vermont may choose to work in a corporations that practice business-related law, or they can choose other specialized fields in the state’s law firms, insurance agencies and government offices.
- Typical job duties include researching facts for cases, organizing files, interviewing witnesses, writing reports and taking notes.
- Paralegals in Vermont will work under the supervision of a licensed attorney and must refrain from providing representation for or giving legal advice to clients.
The term “legal assistant” is often used as a synonym for “paralegal.” Both roles have considerable overlap in their duties. The role of a legal secretary is also closely related to the position of a paralegal.
Paralegal Employment Numbers in Vermont
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 570 paralegals were employed in the state as of 2015.
Bureau of Labor Statistics Salary Ranges in Vermont
The annual mean wage for paralegals in Vermont is $52,240, which is close to the national average.
Vermont Related Organizational Links
Education Programs for Paralegals in Vermont
- Paralegal Studies, AA
- Legal Studies, BA
- Master of Divinitiy - Law Studies
- Master of Business Administration in International Legal Studies
- Master of Business Administration in American Legal Studies
- Master of Legal Studies