South Carolina Paralegal Career Planner

Paralegal Education in South Carolina

Flag of South Carolina

Flag of South Carolina (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The paralegal profession in South Carolina is enjoying steady growth overall, and is especially active in and around cities like Charleston and Greenville. The state is currently home to about 3,960 working paralegals, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and because legal assistants are so cost-effective for performing some legal tasks when compared to lawyers, the paralegal profession is expected to continue to grow rapidly both statewide and across the country. In fact, a national increase of 28% for paralegal jobs is expected over the next six years.

The South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct defines paralegals as “paraprofessionals” who perform work under a licensed lawyer. It’s important to note that only lawyers may provide legal services – paralegals and other legal professionals may not give legal advice, represent a client in court or perform any other legal service without their supervising attorney, who must assume responsibility for any actions taken by them while employed.

Like other US states, South Carolina does not currently have any official requirements or oversight for paralegals, so aspiring legal assistants instead have a couple of options to become a certified paralegal. Students can earn a certificate or degree through a Paralegal Studies program at a college or university, or gain paralegal status informally through training at their place of employment. In general, South Carolina paralegals who have graduated a program with an official certificate are given preference when applying for jobs, and some employers require a formal education. For working paralegals seeking a formal certification, some employers may provide financial support for an education.

Paralegals earn their official certificate when they pass one of four national approved certification exams. Working paralegals and paralegal students alike should also consider becoming a member of a professional organization, such as the South Carolina Upstate Paralegal Association (SCUPA), which provide membership benefits including access to exclusive job openings, education opportunities and professional networking.


The current average annual salary for a paralegal in the state of South Carolina is about $42,240, with a $20.31 average hourly wage. While this is significantly less than the national mean annual salary of $49,960, South Carolina has a lower overall cost of living than in many other states in the country. Most paralegals in this state are employed by private law firms, with the government, investment and healthcare sectors also employing paralegals.

In USD as of Feb 28, 2013 (source:
Paralegal in South Carolina $42,000

Spotlight School

Educational Establishments

Laurens, South Carolina, Court House

Laurens, South Carolina, Court House (Photo credit: Martin LaBar (going on hiatus))

The official oversight of the law sector and college law programs is provided by the American Bar Association (ABA). An ABA endorsement is only given to law studies programs that offer a legitimate education with appropriate classes and qualified faculty. An ABA-endorsed program is not only a good idea to sign up for because of the quality of education it offers, but also because it opens up more job opportunities.

A school’s accreditation status is a broader distinction and different from an endorsement by the ABA, and is provided by the US Department of Education. Some employers only hire legal assistants who have earned their education from an accredited school, while others require an ABA endorsement, and some require both. For the most employment opportunities, it’s best to attend a school that is both accredited by the Department of Education and endorsed by the ABA.

There are 9 paralegal school programs in South Carolina endorsed by the American Bar Association, including public and private 2-year institutions and one university:

South University is a public 4-year university with multiple locations throughout the region, including a campus in Columbia, South Carolina. It offers an Associate of Science degree through its Paralegal Studies program.

South Carolina’s 2-year college Paralegal Programs generally offer a Certificate, an Associate degree, or both. Many of these programs take between 20-60 course hours to complete, and may offer or require internships:

Firms of Interest

The state of South Carolina is home to many prestigious law firms, with most concentrated in cities like Greenville and Charleston. Below are just a few:

Bannister & Wyatt LLC
401 Pettigru Street P.O. Box 10007
Greenville, South Carolina 29601
Phone: 864-298-0084
Fax: 864-298-0146

Bluestein Nichols Thompson Delgado LLC
1614 Taylor Street
PO Box 7965
Columbia, South Carolina 29202
Phone: 803-779-7599
Fax: 803-779-8995

Collins Lacy (with offices in Greenville and Columbia)
200 Meeting Street
Suite 403
Charleston, SC 29401
Phone: 843-714-2500
Fax: 843-714-2501

Other Resources for Paralegals

Paralegal Schools in South Carolina

Campus: Online

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  • 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

Since 1977, Keiser University has provided quality student-centered, career-focused education. Keiser University Online offers degree programs online to prepare students for in-demand professions. Degrees are offered with a curriculum that is in pace with technology and workforce demand trends in business, criminal justice, health care, information technology and more. Our “one-class-at-a-time” approach allows busy students to focus on their education and balance the demands of work and family.


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

Campus: Online

Building on Purdue's mission to provide greater access to affordable, world-class education, Purdue University Globaldelivers a fully personalized online experience that's tailored to working adults. By opening the doors to adults who need flexibility to fit learning into their busy lives, we make it possible to achieve a high-quality education from a prestigious university system—completely online.


  • BS in Criminal Justice - Law Enforcement
  • Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology
  • AAS in Criminal Justice
  • BS in Criminal Justice - Crime Scene Investigation
  • BS in Criminal Justice

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.


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

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.


  • Master of Arts in Homeland Security