Arkansas Paralegal Career and Salary Guide
This guide to paralegal careers is designed to answer the most common questions about how to become a paralegal in Arkansas. Generally speaking, entry-level paralegal jobs in Arkansas will require a degree in paralegal studies, such as an associate degree or a certificate. On this page, you will find important information on becoming an Arkansas paralegal, including the best steps to take, certification options, career and salary outlook, and professional resources. Begin your career journey with the easy-to-navigate directory below.
Table of Contents
- How to Become a Paralegal in Arkansas
- Paralegal Certification
- Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
- Paralegal Resources
How to Become a Paralegal in Arkansas
Since paralegal certification in Arkansas is not a requirement to begin a career in the state, there are a number of career paths that legal professionals can follow. Most paralegals have both education and experience, which may include internships or other work experience in a legal setting. Some paralegals start out as legal document preparers or legal secretaries and move 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 Arkansas 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 Arkansas can help potential paralegals build their legal skills and become competitive for applicants for paralegal positions. Currently, there is one approved American Bar Association (ABA) program in Arkansas.1
2. Gain experience.
Experience is another critical factor in becoming a paralegal. Internships, job shadowing, and on-the-job training are often included as part of paralegal education programs. Not all programs will require experience for degree credit, but taking advantage of real-world experience opportunities is recommended to make paralegal candidates more competitive in the job field.
3. Seek certification, if desired.
Although Arkansas 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 Arkansas.
Paralegal Certification in Arkansas
As in most states, Arkansas paralegal certification is not required by state law. However, obtaining voluntary paralegal certification can show commitment to the field and 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 national certification options, take a look at our guide Steps to Become a Paralegal.
Arkansas Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
Though paralegals can be found working in nearly all sectors of industry, law firms remain the primary employers of paralegals nationwide. Friday, Eldredge & Clark LLP is the largest law firm in Arkansas and serves a wide range of clients in diverse industries. Based in Little Rock, Friday, Eldredge & Clark sustains a significant demand for paralegal labor and may provide promising Arkansas paralegal jobs for candidates interested in working for a large firm. Also based in Little Rock, Mitchell Williams Law emphasizes teamwork and innovation within the firm and has been credited with having a positive and productive office environment.
Paralegals may also find employment in corporate legal departments. Arkansas-based companies include Walmart, Tyson, and J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. Additional paralegal jobs in Arkansas may be found working for government agencies, which are often viewed as a good fit for recently graduated paralegals. LinkedIn is a good research resource where you can search on geography (Arkansas or city-level) for “paralegal” to find networking opportunities and also companies most associated with users identifying as paralegals; companies in Arkansas with the most LinkedIn users as paralegals include:
- Arkansas Attorney General
- J.B. Hunt Transportation Services
- Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, P.L.L.C.
- RAINWATER, HOLT & SEXTON, P.A.
- Sam’s Club
- State of Arkansas
- Tyson Food
- University of Arkansas
- US Army
For more information about paralegal careers, take a look at our careers page.
Arkansas Paralegal Salary Information
Projected Job Growth
Paralegals in Arkansas from 2018-20282
In May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 2,160 paralegals and legal assistants employed in Arkansas.3 Projections Central has projected 15.1% growth in paralegal and legal assistant employment in the state from 2018 to 2028, which is faster than the national projection of 12% over the same time period.2 The expansion of the paralegal occupation reflects anticipated shifts in the legal field from reliance on attorney labor to greater use of paralegal labor in an effort to minimize cost and maximize efficiency. Similarly, a corporate trend toward internal legal counsel is expected. This shift should also be reflected in Arkansas, based on an anticipated 260 Arkansas paralegal jobs added to the workforce annually.2
The average paralegal salary in Arkansas was reported at $40,420 in May 2021.3 This annual wage is below the mean national wage for paralegals and legal assistants of $56,610 and may reflect the lower cost of living within the state.3 However, the average Arkansas paralegal salary is higher in urban areas; Little Rock paralegals earn an average of $43,070.4 In addition, the relatively low number of paralegals currently employed in Arkansas and the projected expansion of the occupation nationwide suggests a favorable hiring environment within the state that may raise the average Arkansas paralegal salary in the coming years. 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 December 2021.
Arkansas Paralegal Salary by Metro Area
|Metro Area||Number Employed4||Average Annual Salary4|
|Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway||1,050||$43,070|
Paralegal Associations in Arkansas
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.
- Arkansas Bar Association (ABA): Provides resources for paralegals in Arkansas, including a robust career center with paralegal jobs throughout the state.
- Arkansas Paralegal Association (ArPA): Promotes the paralegal profession throughout the state by holding regular meetings, professional seminars, and networking events.
- Arkansas Judiciary: Contains links and information for all courts within the state’s jurisdiction and provides access to court forms, rules, e-filing system, and news of interest to legal professionals.
- Paralegal411 Jobs Board: To search for paralegal jobs in Arkansas, be sure to visit our jobs board.
- University of Arkansas Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law Library: Offers a range of research materials including state and international law.
- University of Arkansas School of Law Young Law Library: Holds over 25,000 volumes and serves as a depository for state and federal government documents with deep holdings in national, international, and comparative law.
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