Alaska Paralegal Career and Salary Guide
Our guide is designed to help those interested in legal support careers find the answers to the most common questions about how to become a paralegal in Alaska. Generally speaking, entry-level paralegal jobs in Alaska will require a degree in paralegal studies, such as an associate degree or a certificate. On this page, you will find up-to-date information on how to become an Alaska paralegal, certification options, salary, job outlook, and career resources to help you start a career in the paralegal field. Use the easy-to-navigate directory below to begin.
Table of Contents
- How to Become a Paralegal in Alaska
- Paralegal Certification
- Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
- Paralegal Resources
How to Become a Paralegal in Alaska
Since there are no formal requirements for Alaska paralegals, they may follow different career paths. Most paralegals in the state possess a combination of education and experience. Others begin their careers as legal secretaries or document preparers and work their way up the career ladder. Paralegal candidates will continue to benefit from formal education and national certification, as graduation from an accredited paralegal program and certification through a national organization can allow paralegal candidates within Alaska to compete for higher salaries.
1. Earn a degree or certificate in paralegal studies.
Earning a certificate, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree from one of the paralegal schools in Alaska can help potential paralegals build their legal skills and make them more competitive applicants for entry level paralegal jobs. Currently, there are two approved American Bar Association (ABA) programs in Alaska.1
2. Gain experience.
Gaining experience is an essential step to becoming a paralegal. Experience that includes internships, job shadowing, and on-the-job training are often included as part of paralegal education programs. Taking advantage of real-world experience opportunities can make paralegal candidates more competitive in the job field.
3. Seek certification, if desired.
Although Alaska does not require licensure or certification for paralegals, pursuing voluntary certification can help paralegals in their job search. Certification is available at the national level for paralegals in Alaska.
Paralegal Certification in Alaska
Paralegals and legal assistants are currently categorized as legal paraprofessionals in Alaska. In this capacity, paralegals and legal assistants are permitted to complete legal tasks under the direct supervision of a qualified attorney but do not require certification to practice. However, obtaining voluntary paralegal certification shows a commitment to the field and may provide networking opportunities. National organizations offer certification programs to maintain a consistent level of competency within the paralegal profession nationwide. The National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA, the Paralegal Association); the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA); and the American Alliance of Paralegals (AAPI) offer voluntary certification programs that are widely accepted by the industry as preparing candidates for professional excellence.
Obtaining voluntary certification from these associations is highly recommended and looked upon favorably by many paralegal employers. For more information on becoming a paralegal, take a look at our guide Steps to Become a Paralegal. For more information regarding paralegal education and employment in Alaska please refer to the Alaska paralegal associations listed below.
Alaska Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
Private law firms continue to be the primary employers of paralegals and legal assistants nationwide. Anchorage hosts several large law firms including Stoel Rives LLP and Birch Horton Bittner & Cherot. Stoel Rives LLP has 10 offices throughout the United States and employs 450 attorneys nationwide, relying on paralegal support in a variety of legal subjects. Birch Horton Bittner & Cherot, a large firm with an office in Anchorage and in Washington DC, focuses on areas of the law including tort litigation, commercial transactions and real estate, natural resources, and government contracting. Large firms such as these are a good source of paralegal jobs in Alaska for recent graduates.
Alaska paralegal jobs are also available in government agencies across the state, including the Public Offices Commission. Additional positions may be available through the Alaska Court System and may be appropriate for prospective paralegals interested in appellate and criminal law. Corporate paralegal positions are also often available in the legal departments of large corporations and provide another type of work environment that may be a good match for professionals interested in business and finance law. Corporations with large offices in Alaska include Bristol Bay Native, Chugach Alaska, and Chenega.
LinkedIn is a good research resource where you can search on geography (Alaska or city-level) for “paralegal” to find networking opportunities and also companies most associated with users identifying as paralegals; companies in Alaska with the most LinkedIn users as paralegals include:
- Charter College
- Municipality of Anchorage
- State of Alaska
- United States Air Force
- University of Alaska Anchorage
- University of Alaska Fairbanks
- US Army
For more information about paralegal careers, take a look at our careers page.
Alaska Paralegal Salary Information
Projected Job Growth
Paralegals in Alaska from 2018-20282
In May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 730 paralegals and legal assistants were employed in the state of Alaska.3 As private law firms and corporate legal departments strive to minimize their operating costs, the role of paralegals and legal assistants is expected to expand. The job outlook for Alaska paralegals is projected to decrease jobs by 11.3% from 2018 to 2028, compared to positive projected job growth of 12% nationwide for the same time period.2 However, an average of 50 annual openings is expected, and projections may change as local economies strengthen or move towards service-based industries that rely on legal services.2
The average paralegal salary in Alaska was reported at $58,800 in 2020.3 Wages in Alaska tend to be higher due to the high cost of living in the state, and this average annual wage compares favorably overall with the national mean annual paralegal wage of $56,610.3 Alaska’s nonmetropolitan area is the second highest paying nonmetropolitan area for paralegals with a mean wage of $61,350.3 Paralegals who pursue paralegal education, are certified, and have real-world experience may be better positioned for higher salaries. Estimates are based on national data, not school-specific information; data accessed in January 2022.
Alaska Paralegal Salary by Metro Area
|Metro Area||Number Employed4||Average Annual Salary4|
Paralegal Associations in Alaska
These are volunteer organizations, typically with elected boards, that focus on professional development and networking for a specific geographical location and/or area of law.
- Alaska Association of Paralegals (AAP): Serves legal support professionals through the state with monthly luncheons, networking events, and educational seminars.
- Alaska Bar Association (ABA): Provides continuing legal education and professional support for Alaska attorneys and provides listings for paralegal jobs in the state.
- Fairbanks Association of Legal Assistants (FALA): Provides networking, pro bono opportunities, and educational seminars for paralegals in Fairbanks.
- Alaska Court System: Serves as a unified web portal for all courts in Alaska, providing links to the state appellate and trial courts, including court forms and rules.
- Alaska Court System Law Library: Hosts a robust collection of state law resources in three locations throughout the state, including Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau.
- Paralegal411 Jobs Board: To search for paralegal jobs in Alaska, be sure to visit our jobs board.
- State of Alaska Department of Law: The executive branch of Alaska’s state government and provides pro bono opportunities as well as paralegal job openings throughout the state.
- University of Alaska Southeast Egan Library: Hosts several titles in state and federal law to be used for on-site research.
1. American Bar Association Directory of ABA Approved Paralegal Education Programs: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/paralegals/paralegal-resource-directory/
2. Projections Central Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020 Occupational Employment and Wages, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcma.htm