How to Become a D.C. Paralegal

Read about being a paralegal in our nation's capital.

D.C. Paralegal Facts and Figures

  • Median Annual Salary: $60,717*
  • Length of Paralegal Study: 1 to 4 years
  • Almost 75 percent of paralegals work for law firms
  • Largest Law Firms in D.C.: Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale; Dorr and Hogan & Hartson

Paralegal Schools in DC

Although DC doesn’t have formal paralegal education requirements, many paralegals find that they gain the knowledge and skills they need—and can more easily find a job—with a paralegal certificate or degree.

Here are the most common education tracks for DC paralegals:

  • A paralegal certificate from an ABA-approved paralegal school (online paralegal degrees are also an option)
  • An associate of arts in paralegal studies

Another common route to becoming a paralegal in DC is to earn a bachelor's or advanced degree in another subject, and get on-the-job experience working in a law firm. However, increasingly, employers prefer to hire paralegals with formal legal education.

Certification Requirements for DC Paralegals

Although DC does not have formal certification requirements for paralegals, many employers prefer to hire certified paralegals. You can also increase your salary by earning paralegal certification through one of the following organizations:

  • National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)
  • National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA)
  • American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc. (AAPI)

To help you find a job, you should first complete your paralegal training. This will show prospective employers that you have the legal knowledge and skills to succeed in their law firms. And good computer and database skills are a must for those who want to shine.

DC Paralegal Resources

Among the online resources and job banks for D.C. paralegals are the following organizations:

Sources: January 2014; Washington, DC Paralegal II; National Law Journal; National Capital Area Paralegal Association (NCAPA).

*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.