Wondering what requirements you would need to fulfill to become a paralegal? You’re at the right place.

But first, what exactly is a paralegal?

Paralegals are legal workers who provide support services to attorneys. Their job duties usually include filing petitions, scheduling meetings, interviews with witnesses, etc.

According to BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), the demand for paralegals is expected to see a rise of 14% by 2030, which is much higher than any other profession.

If you’re interested in entering the legal industry, this career is deemed ideal and might be your best choice. Let us read further about what are the requirements of becoming a paralegal and much more.

Education Requirements

To start your process of becoming a Paralegal, you will need to first complete a paralegal training program, get a paralegal certification, and have formal experience.

While this can work well for Paralegals, they also can receive training on the job.

Here are the three main ways of completing your paralegal program:-

  • Associate’s Degree in Paralegal Studies

The most reliable and traditional way is to get an associate’s degree from a technical university. This usually takes up to 2 years to complete.

Requirements may differ in different Paralegal Schools, but mostly a high school diploma is expected to enroll in this program.

  • Diploma in Paralegal Studies

Getting a diploma in Paralegal Studies is another safe option, and these tend to finish faster than a paralegal degree within 1 year.

  • Online Paralegal Certification Program (Recommended)

Completing an online paralegal training program is the most recommended since it offers several advantages. An online course takes only 4-5 months to complete, unlike traditional degree programs that take years to complete.

Additionally, online programs are significantly cheaper and allow you to learn at your own pace and schedule and from the comfort of your own home.

Certification Requirements

After completing your respective educational course, you will need to sit for your certification exam. This certification exam is offered by NALA (National Association of Legal Assistants).

After you clear the exam and obtain your certification, you can be addressed as a “Certified Paralegal”, which will ultimately benefit you when you start applying for jobs.

Paralegal State-Level Requirements

Each state across the country usually has the same requirements expected from a paralegal.

Let us take a look at some of the states and their requirements:-

  • Florida- Florida does not require any special educational Paralegal Qualifications, however, they do prefer Certified Paralegals.
  • California-  California mandates aspiring paralegal candidates to get a Paralegal Certificate from a school that is accredited by the ABA.
  • Texas- There is a Paralegal Division within the state bar of Texas which states that certification for paralegals is voluntary and that you can get it through the Texas Board of Legal Specializations.
  • Utah- For Utah, it is mandatory to pass the Licensed Paralegal Practitioner Examination for any desired practice areas for licensed paralegal practitioners within three years before application.

Also see: Paralegal Specializations

How to Become a Paralegal

Becoming a paralegal may sound intimidating at first, however, it is not hard.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to become a paralegal

Complete your Paralegal Training

The very first step is to enroll in a paralegal training program to equip yourself with the right set of knowledge and paralegal skills.

Although there are other options, choosing an online training program is the most recommended since it is self-paced, faster to complete, and affordable.

Sit for your Certification Exam

Right after you complete your paralegal training, you have to sit and clear the Paralegal Certification Exam that is offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).

Related: Paralegal vs Legal Assistant

State Requirements

After passing the NALA CP Exam, you can check for the state requirements for paralegals.

Get an Externship

Externships are very useful for Paralegals as they teach you the right practical skills and knowledge you would require in an actual workplace. An externship also helps you network with renowned people in the industry.

Related: How Long Does it Take to Become a Paralegal

Apply for Jobs

When you’re done with the above-mentioned steps, you can finally apply for jobs in any firm or organization of your choice. You can also ask for a job where you’ve completed your externship.


Understanding the requirements to become a paralegal opens the door to a rewarding legal career. These prerequisites encompass a blend of education, practical skills, and personal attributes, laying the groundwork for success in this field.

By meeting these qualifications and continually developing one’s expertise, aspiring paralegals can confidently embark on a journey toward making a meaningful contribution to the legal realm while supporting the pursuit of justice.


About the Author
Grant founded OnlineDegree.com with a purpose-driven mission: make college accessible and affordable for everyone. After graduating college with an overwhelming amount of debt, he was determined to change how students embark on their education. He's a frequent speaker and author in higher education, and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, American Express, AOL, MSN, Thrive Global, Reader's Digest, Inside Higher Ed, Evolllution, EducationDive, and nearly 100 radio shows and podcasts.