Paralegal Programs in Oklahoma
The titles "legal assistant" and "paralegal" are considered synonymous in Oklahoma. There are no licensure or registration requirements for paralegals in Oklahoma. There are no paralegal education requirements for becoming a paralegal in Oklahoma. However, the Oklahoma Bar Association Paralegal Committee prepared a Minimum Qualification Standards for Legal Assistants/Paralegals position which was approved by the Board of Governors of the Oklahoma Bar Association. The standards were developed to provide educational and work experience baselines for employers to evaluate potential paralegals prior to hiring them. This tool can also be used by potential students to help determine which paralegal program meets their personal and professional goals. Learn more below.
- Find Nationally and Regionally Accredited Online Paralegal Programs
- Find Campus Based Paralegal Programs in Oklahoma
Paralegal Education Considerations
As mentioned above, the Oklahoma Bar Association Paralegal Committee and the Oklahoma Paralegal Association take a position on the minimum qualification standards for working as a paralegal in Oklahoma. These are no requirements to work as a paralegal in Oklahoma, but for the career minded professional that desires a long, financially and personally rewarding career as a paralegal these are important factors to consider when choosing a paralegal program to enroll in.
The Oklahoma Bar Association Paralegal Committee and the Oklahoma Paralegal Association consider a qualified paralegal to be one that:
- Has completed and passed the NALA Certified Legal Assistant Exam (Learn about the CLA/CP Exam Eligibility)
- Has completed and passed the NFPA PACE Exam (Read about the PACE exam eligibility)
- Is a Graduate of any American Bar Association (ABA) Paralegal/Legal Assistant program
- Is a high school graduate or equivalent and has graduated from a paralegal program that is institutionally accredited and in substantial compliance with ABA paralegal program approval guidelines. This includes there being at least 225 hours covering legal specialty courses.
- Has a bachelor's or associate's in any subject from an institutionally accredited school and has two or more years of work experience in a law office or other entity where he/she has performed substantial legal work under the supervision of an attorney and that would otherwise have been conducted by the attorney or has completed the 225 specialty hours of legal specialty courses in line with the ABA's guidelines during their associate's or bachelor's education.
- Has a high school diploma or equivalent and has graduated from a paralegal / legal assistant program offered at an institutionally accredited school that requires at least 60 semester hours and included the same amount of legal specialty course hours required by the ABA guidelines and two years of work experience in the same capacity as mentioned in the prior bullet point or posses a bachelor's or associate's degree.
- Has a high school diploma or equivalent and five or more years of work experience in the same capacity as mentioned in the prior bullet point.
(Source: Oklahoma Paralegal Association Web site, www.okparalegal.org/standards.htm)
Choosing a paralegal program that has been ABA approved or Institutionally accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education provides a sense of confidence that the program is of high standards and may be recognized by employers as well as prepare them for one of the national certification exams. The American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE), an authority in paralegal education and well respected by paralegal associations across the country, recommends that potential paralegal program students attend an ABA approved paralegal program or a paralegal program offered at a school that has been accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or a program offered through one of their member schools. Read more about ABA and non-ABA approved paralegal programs.
Formal paralegal education has become a standard for the industry and those with a formal education may find the greatest career opportunities. Below are Online and Campus Based paralegal programs and schools that have been either institutionally accredited, ABA approved or are AAfPE member schools.