A Kentucky Career in the Paralegal Sphere

Paralegal Education in Kentucky

English: Flag of Kentucky ᏣᎳᎩ: ᎬᏅᏓᎩ ᎦᏓᏘ Españo...

Flag of Kentucky (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Paralegals often have full, rewarding careers where they enjoy a good deal of variety inside the job. While most states stand by their paralegal workforce, Kentucky was the first to specifically lay out the definition of a paralegal and define what a paralegal is allowed to do and not do. Most other states have followed suit with its guidelines and example. It was in 1979 when the State Supreme Court announced rule 3.700 requiring all paralegals to work under the direct supervision of an attorney. Rule 3.700 also requires paralegals to act in a professional and ethical manner, disclose to clients that they are not lawyers, and forbids any unauthorized practice of law, including the dispensing of legal advice. These edicts became standards across the country.

The Bureau of Labor reveals that in 2010, Kentucky boasted 3,200 paralegals among its employed. While salaries vary upon region and experience as of February 2013, the average annual wage for a paralegal in Kentucky was $41,000. The state actually ranked second and third in the country for having the highest number of employed paralegals in a nonmetropolitan area and the highest concentration – or greatest saturation – of paralegals in a nonmetropolitan area, respectively, in its west central region. To enforce rule 3.700 and cement a paralegal’s place in the professional legal arena, the KPA, or Kentucky Paralegal Association, instated a voluntary certification process in 2010 in order to help set a minimum standard of proficiency, professionalism and competency among the paralegal population.

Salaries

In USD as of Feb 18, 2013 (source: indeed.com)25k50k75k
Paralegal in Kentucky $41,000
 

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Paralegal Requirements

Kentucky State Supreme Court

Kentucky State Supreme Court (Photo credit: dweiskir)

As in most states, Kentucky does not absolutely require higher education for an aspiring paralegal, but many employers do. It behooves a paralegal candidate to pursue either a degree in the field or certification. A degree in one of many paralegal courses can be obtained by receiving an Associate of Applied Sciences degree (AAS), an Associate’s degree (AS) – both which generally lasts two years – or a Bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies and takes about four years to complete. A Post-Baccalaureate certificate is a course tailored to those who already hold a degree in an unrelated field, which would count as certification. Usually, for those already owning a degree such as a Bachelor’s, the certification process is anywhere from 11 to 18 months, depending on the school and the program, if you are taking day or evening courses. Online schooling is equally as valid. However, for highest marketability and greatest assurance that the courses undertaken are the best ones for you, it is recommended to attend a school/program that has been ABA (American Bar Association) approved.

To become a certified paralegal in Kentucky (and there is a difference between certified and certificated), the hopeful paralegal may either take the Certified Kentucky Paralegals exam, which is hosted by the state (please see requirements to sit for exam), or one of four other national exams hosted by one of three associations. Each of these national exams holds different requirements, which are charted here.

The exams are:

Passing any one of these exams may increase professional employment opportunities and benefits.

ABA Approved Schools in Kentucky

There are six ABA approved schools for paralegal or paralegal specialty studies in Kentucky.

Beckfield College in Florence offers an AAS Degree, Post-Baccalaureate Certificate, Bachelor of Science Degree, and Legal Nurse Consultant Certificate. Internships are mandatory and Beckfield prides itself on the number of graduates who go on to work for large firms.

Daymar College in Owensboro extends a proprietary, two year AAS degree. Internships are required.

Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond has both a two year AAS degree and a four year Bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies. The school has been ABA approved since 1980. It offers both day and night classes. Internships are mandatory.

Morehead State University in Morehead offers a four year Bachelor of Arts degree in paralegal studies. An internship of 120 hours working in a public or private law office is required to complete the program.

Sullivan University has two campuses- one in Lexington and one in Louisville. Lexington offers an Associate’s degree in paralegal studies while Louisville extends their programs to encompass not only the AS, but also a Bachelor of Science and a Post-Baccalaureate certificate. It offers a combination of day and evening classes. Internships are mandatory for the AS and the Post-Baccalaureate degree. This university is proprietary.

The University of Louisville in Louisville is a public, four-year school offering an AA degree in paralegal studies. This course takes 63 semester hours to complete and internship is a must for graduation.

Paralegal Associations

It is recommended to all legal and paralegal professionals that they join an association for networking and other professional benefits. Kentucky has many such associates; below are half a dozen.

Paralegal Schools in Kentucky

Campus: Online

At South College we welcome students from all different stages of life and career.  Whether you are pursing a degree for the first time, going back to school as an adult learner, or furthering your career with an advanced degree, our faculty and staff will partner with you to give your dreams direction.

Programs:

  • AS Investigation & Security
  • MS Criminal Justice w/Con Public Admin
  • CERT Investigation & Security
  • BS Criminal Justice
  • AS 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) - Generalist
  • Bachelor's (BSCJ) - Law Enforcement
  • Bachelor's (BSCJ) - Corrections and Case Management
  • Bachelor's (BSCJ) - Homeland Security and Crisis Management

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

CTU can help you connect to what matters most: a powerful professional network, faculty who are real-world professionals and innovative technology. And now several CTU degree programs are ranked by U.S. News Best Online Programs for 2015.  Are you in?

Programs:

  • Doctor of Management - Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice – Human Services
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice - Homeland Security

Campus: Online

Recognized by the U.S. News and World Report for: Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s 2017, Best Online Programs, Grad Education 2017 and Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s for Veterans 2017

Programs:

  • Applied Criminology (Master of Arts) - Online
  • Jurisprudence with concentration in Legal Studies (Bachelor of Science) - Online
  • Legal Studies - Homeland Security (Master of Science) - Online
  • Legal Studies - Law & Public Policy (Master of Science) - Online
  • Legal Studies - Criminal Justice (Master of Science) - Online

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