Jumpstart a Georgia Paralegal Career

Paralegal Education in Georgia

Flag of the State of Georgia

Flag of the State of Georgia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Atlanta, Georgia’s metropolitan area has the nation’s fifth largest concentration of paralegal professionals, most of whom are employed by large law firms. With an upward trend of paralegal work in the United States, it is predicted that almost 70,000 thousand new jobs will be created in the field by 2018, and many companies are looking to paralegals rather than relying on the traditional method of using a lawyer. This has fueled the demand for legal assistants, providing new job opportunities for tasks once reserved for attorneys.

Paralegal careers in Georgia can be as simple to gain as having an attorney hire you in that capacity. While rather romantic an idea, this usually equates to lower salaries and less benefits for the training paralegal. However, a few employers may even assist in their paralegal gaining formal education, though this would be a case-by-case basis. Inquiring about this upfront is recommended if this is desired.

Earning certification or a degree in legal studies will give paraprofessionals the edge in a competitive market. Because of the rapidly expanding occupational field, employers will almost always have a pool of qualified applicants who either have certification or an Associate’s, Bachelor’s or even Master’s degree within legal studies from which to choose. As a result, formal education is in high employer demand.

Certification can be obtained by passing one of four certification exams. Any of these exams can be taken without regard to educational background and are made to reflect the knowledge and experience that the paralegal has within the field. Once one of these tests completed successfully, the paralegal then becomes a certified paralegal, which adds to his or her credentials and job qualification. Further respectability can be obtained by joining a local organization such as the State Bar of Georgia or the Georgia Association of Paralegals (GAP).

Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 3,844 registered professional paralegals in Georgia. The median salary for this occupation within the state is about $51,000, though the number varies by region and whether the paralegal works in a metropolitan area or a non-metropolitan area. While there isn’t a regulatory department for licensing or certification within the state, the Georgia Association of Paralegals has implemented voluntary standards by which legal assistants can be certified through the organization. This includes education through an American Bar Association approved school with a certificate, Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies. State law also dictates that paralegals must work directly under the supervision of a bar-certified attorney. They cannot provide legal advice, and their supervising attorney is legally responsible for all actions taken by the assistant. Georgia does not take kindly to independent paralegals who do not work directly under an attorney, and the state will actively prosecute those who violate this guideline.

In USD as of Mar 4, 2013 (source: indeed.com)30k60k90k
Paralegal in Georgia $51,000
 

Spotlight School

Educational Establishments

Georgia Archives building

Georgia Archives building (Photo credit: dolescum)

While there is no official regulation in the paralegal profession, the American Bar Association, or ABA, which licenses, regulates and oversees attorneys, approves learning institutions that fit its qualifications. Endorsement from the ABA increases the credibility of the school, as well as the paralegal.

ABA endorsement should not be confused with accreditation, which is validated by the U.S. Department of Education. Paralegal courses can be approved by the ABA, while not accredited through the Department of Education, or the situation could be the opposite. An institution could be both or neither. Be sure to note if one type is preferred over another when applying for a paralegal position.

Georgia has seven schools that are approved by the American Bar Association:

Athens Technical College offers an Associate in Arts degree in its Paralegal Studies Program. This course does require a mandatory internship.

Central Georgia Technical College also has a Paralegal Studies program offered as a study in Applied Sciences. Completion of the course, along with 30 elective credit-hours and a mandatory internship, will result in an Associate in Applied Sciences degree.

Clayton State University, a four-year public institution, has a Legal Studies program that offers Associate and Bachelor courses as well as post-secondary certification. The certification program requires 30 completed undergraduate credit-hours. Internships in all courses are elective.

Georgia Piedmont Technical College, formerly known as DeKalb Technical College, offers an Associate in Science course for Paralegal Studies with a mandatory internship upon completion.

Gainesville State College offers both an Associate in Applied Science and a general certification in Legal Studies. The Associate program requires a completed internship, and the certification program requires an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in any area of study.

Herzing University-Atlanta’s Paralegal Program offers both Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees. Internships are elective.

South University-Savannah is a private, four-year institution that offers courses in Paralegal Studies for both Associate in Science and Bachelor of Science degrees. Internships are required upon completion.

Firms of Interest

There are several law firms within Georgia that hire paralegals. Below is a list of just some of the top hiring firms in the state.

Kilpatrick Townsend
Suite 2800
1100 Peachtree Street
Atlanta, GA 30309-4528
Phone: 404-815-6500
Fax: 404-815-6555

Ford Harrison
271 17th Street NW, Suite 1900
Atlanta, Georgia 30363
Phone: 404-888-3800
Fax: 404-888-3863

Smith, Grambell & Russell
Promenade, Suite 3100
1230 Peachtree Street N.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30309
Phone: 404-815-3500
Fax: 404-815-3509

Other Resources for Paralegals

Paralegal Schools in Georgia

Since 1977, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career-focused education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals.  Our student-centered approach remains at the foundation of the Keiser University mission and continues to attract students who prefer a more personal learning experience. 

Programs:

  • Master of Arts in Homeland Security
  • Master of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Associate of Arts in Homeland Security

Campus: Online

100% Online & No Standardized Testing

We are committed to helping you achieve your goals and complete your degree as quickly as possible.

Programs:

  • Bachelor of Science: Criminal Justice: Homeland Security
  • Bachelor of Science: Criminal Justice: Juvenile Justice
  • Bachelor of Science: Criminal Justice: Public Administration
  • Master of Science: Criminal Justice
  • Master of Science: Criminal Justice: Public Administration

Campus: Online

Pursue your education at Ohio Christian University. Take classes online or on campus. Pursue your degree to help you start the career you want. Learn more now.

Programs:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice

Campus: Online

You’re serious about success. With your busy schedule and the desire to move your career forward, you can earn an accredited associate, bachelors or master’s degree at a pace that works for you anywhere, anytime, 24/7.

At AIU, the Serious U, you can get started to get ahead.

Programs:

  • Bachelor's (BSCJ) - Law Enforcement
  • Bachelor's (BSCJ) - Generalist
  • Bachelor's (BSCJ) - Corrections and Case Management
  • Bachelor's (BSCJ) - Homeland Security and Crisis Management

Campus: Online

Want to take your career to the next level? Salem University Online is the perfect place to start. Study online, from anywhere, and gain the skills you need to succeed.

Programs:

  • BA Criminal Justice - Law Enforcement
  • Associates of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • BA Criminal Justice - Administration of Justice
  • BA Criminal Justice - Corrections
  • BA Criminal Justice - Homeland Security

Campus: Online

  • Northcentral University was founded in 1996 to provide working professionals around the world with unprecedented access to richly engaging, professionally relevant, and academically-rigorous education from a U.S. university.
  • As a regionally accredited, private, online and graduate-focused university, NCU offers doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degrees in business, technology management, education, and psychology, as well as doctoral and master’s degrees in marriage and family therapy.

Programs:

  • Doctor of Criminal Justice - Policing
  • Doctor of Criminal Justice - White Collar Crime
  • Master of Legal Studies
  • Doctor of Criminal Justice - Homeland Security

Campus: Online

Violent extremism poses a serious threat to the safety of our citizens and the security of our nation. Military professionals, like you, who understand violent extremism and can develop strategies are critical to our defense. Nichols College is proud to support your efforts with a low cost way for active duty and reserve military personnel to earn a Master of Science in Counterterrorism.

 

Our reduced tuition for current service members aligns cost with your Federal Military Tuition Assistance — $250 per credit hour, up to $4,500 per year. Complete the 30-credit program in less than two years at no personal expense, or invest to graduate sooner!

 

Programs:

  • Master of Science in Counterterrorism

Campus: Online

Since 1977, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career-focused education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals.  Our student-centered approach remains at the foundation of the Keiser University mission and continues to attract students who prefer a more personal learning experience.

Programs:

  • Master of Arts in Homeland Security

Paralegal Jobs in Georgia