Arizona Paralegal Career and Salary Guide
Our guide to Arizona paralegal careers is designed to answer common questions about how to become a paralegal in Arizona and help you start your career in the legal field. Currently, certification is not mandatory to become a paralegal in Arizona, but voluntary certifications are available to candidates with education or experience. On this page, you will find Arizona paralegal salary information, salary and job outlooks, and paralegal resources to help you jump-start your career. Find the answers to your questions about becoming a paralegal using the directory below.
Table of Contents
- How to Become a Paralegal in Arizona
- Paralegal Certification
- Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
- Paralegal Resources
How to Become a Paralegal in Arizona
Arizona paralegals may follow a variety of career paths since there are no set requirements for paralegals at the state level. Formal education in paralegal studies is recommended, as it is a requirement for voluntary certifications offered at the state and national levels. Gaining experience is another important step to becoming a paralegal. In addition, voluntary certifications such as those offered by the Arizona Judicial Branch or national paralegal associations can also help prospective paralegals become more competitive in the job market.
1. Earn a degree or certificate in paralegal studies.
Many employers prefer to hire candidates with some paralegal studies education, such as a certificate or associate degree. Luckily, many schools in Arizona offer paralegal programs that can teach the foundational skills necessary to succeed. The American Bar Association (ABA) has currently approved two of these paralegal studies programs in Arizona.1
2. Gain experience.
Experience working in a legal setting will also provide an edge when looking for a paralegal job. Paralegal studies programs may offer internship, externship, or work experience programs designed for students to gain entry-level experience. You may also find opportunities through law firms or other organizations that hire paralegals. These programs can help you meet new contacts and build a professional network in the paralegal field.
3. Seek certification, if desired.
Voluntary certifications are available to qualified candidates through the Arizona Judicial Branch as a Legal Paraprofessional (LP) and national paralegal organizations. These certifications can help you stand out when applying to paralegal jobs. You can read more about certification options below.
Paralegal Certification in Arizona
Currently, there are no certification requirements to work as a paralegal in Arizona. However, it is important to recognize that paralegals must practice under the direct supervision of an attorney unless they have been certified as an Arizona Licensed Document Preparer (LDP), who may work independently without the supervision of an attorney on certain classes of documents, or as an Arizona Legal Paraprofessional (LP), who may independently perform tasks in specific areas of the law. Voluntary national certification is also available to candidates with a paralegal studies degree through the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA, the Paralegal Association), the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), or the American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc. (AAPI). These national certifications are generally accepted to signify an individual has achieved professional competency in the paralegal field. To learn more about earning voluntary national certification, visit our guide to becoming a paralegal.
Arizona paralegals may gain a career edge by pursuing state-level certifications that enable them to perform some legal tasks independently. The Legal Document Preparer (LDP) certification allows an individual to provide assistance in document preparation and related services without attorney supervision. Additionally, the Legal Paraprofessional (LP) certification allows qualified individuals to complete legal tasks in a specific area of the law after passing a competency exam. These certifications enable paralegals to take on additional responsibilities as they progress in their careers. A paralegal studies certificate or degree or seven years of paralegal work experience is required to be eligible for LP certification.
Arizona Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
Private law firms continue to be the primary employers of paralegals nationwide, though corporate legal departments and state organizations do require paralegal support as well. Large firms offer opportunities for paralegals to learn about various areas of the law or specialize in an area of interest. Snell & Wilmer is a full-service business law firm founded in Arizona with offices in Phoenix and Tucson. Another large Arizona-based firm is Jennings, Strouss & Salmon PLC, which specializes in litigation services, healthcare, real estate, finance, and utility law and is expanding into the areas of technology law, e-commerce, biotechnology, and life sciences. The firm has offices in Phoenix, Peoria, and Tucson.
Other opportunities may be available through government organizations in Arizona such as the Army National Guard and the State Bar of Arizona, which require paralegal assistance in their legal departments and may provide a different experience compared to a large firm. Additionally, corporations sustain a significant demand for paralegal labor, especially in urban areas such as Phoenix, Tucson, and Scottsdale. Large corporations such as PetSmart, Circle K, and Banner Health have head offices in Arizona, suggesting a great need for paralegal services. LinkedIn is a good research resource where you can search on geography (Arizona or city-level) for “paralegal” to find networking opportunities and also companies most associated with users identifying as paralegals; companies in Arizona with the most LinkedIn users as paralegals include:
- Arizona Attorney General’s Office
- Arizona State University
- Banner Health
- Lexington Law Firm
- Maricopa County
- Snell & Wilmer
- State of Arizona
For more information about paralegal careers, take a look at our careers page.
Arizona Paralegal Salary Information
Projected Job Growth
Paralegals in Arizona from 2018-20282
In May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported there were 7,510paralegals and legal assistants employed in Arizona.3 As employers seek to minimize the cost and maximize the efficiency of legal practice, they are expected to rely more heavily upon paralegal and legal assistant support. According to Projections Central, employment of paralegals and legal assistants in Arizona is expected to grow by 21.5% from 2018 to 2028.2 This growth trajectory compares favorably with the 12% projected growth rate for paralegals and legal assistants nationwide during the same period.2This suggests good job prospects, particularly in the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metropolitan area, which has the tenth-highest number of paralegals compared to all metro areas across the country.3
Paralegals in Arizona earn an annual average wage of $52,350, which is slightly lower than the national average salary for paralegals at $56,610.3 However, it should be noted that the average paralegal salary in Arizona is based on a variety of factors, including an individual’s experience. Location also influences average wages. Phoenix-area paralegals earn the highest average annual paralegal salary in Arizona, at $54,040.4 Overall, the job and salary outlook for aspiring paralegals in Arizona is positive as large law firms are already established in major cities and may shift towards paralegal labor due to financial constraints. Projected job creation in the field should foster a favorable hiring environment, especially for those who have completed paralegal programs in Arizona and have earned voluntary certification.
Arizona Paralegal Salary by Metro Area
|Metro Area||Number Employed4||Average Annual Salary4|
|Lake Havasu City-Kingman||60||$46,750|
Paralegal Associations in Arizona
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.
- Arizona Association of Independent Paralegals (AAIP): Provides support services to Arizona paralegals who are also Arizona Certified Legal Document Preparers, including professional meetings and seminars; continuing education; and community service events.
- Arizona Paralegal Association (APA): Provides opportunities for members to build professional networks across the state through monthly continuing education opportunities and annual seminars.
- Maricopa County Bar Association (MCBA) Paralegal Division: Offers a variety of free and nominal-cost professional development tools and events for Arizona paralegals.
- Arizona Attorney General: Arizona paralegal and legal secretary jobs in government are often posted here.
- Arizona Judicial Branch: Provides links to and information about courts throughout the state, including court publications, e-filing systems, and court rules, as well as find information about state court-related programs and self help legal resources.
- Maricopa County Law Library: Maintains a wide-ranging print collection open to the public,online legal research tools for state and federal research, and access to online databases.
- Paralegal411 Jobs Board: To search for paralegal jobs in your area of Arizona, visit our jobs board.
- Ross-Blakley Law Library: Provides law students with access to a comprehensive collection of primary and secondary legal authority sources for educational purposes and offers limited visitor services to the general public.
- State of Arizona Research Library: Hosts four main collections in Family History, Federal Publications, Law, and State Publications; the Patent and Trademark Resource Center; and the Digital Arizona Library with online access to reference resources.
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