Delaware Paralegal Career and Salary Guide
This paralegal career guide is your starting point for learning how to become a paralegal in Delaware. Generally speaking, there are no formal requirements for becoming a paralegal in Delaware; however, an associate degree or certificate in paralegal studies is often the entry-level requirement. On this page, you will find up-to-date information on how to become a paralegal in Delaware, certification options, salary and career outlook, and career resources to help you get started. Begin your career exploration using the easy-to-navigate directory below.
Table of Contents
- How to Become a Paralegal in Delaware
- Paralegal Certification
- Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
- Paralegal Resources
How to Become a Paralegal in Delaware
Since there are no requirements for Delaware paralegal certification, candidates may take a variety of paths to a paralegal career. Many paralegals start out as legal document preparers or legal secretaries before moving up the career ladder. However, the majority of paralegals have a combination of education and experience, which may include internships through one of the numerous Delaware paralegal programs. Paralegals may also better prepare themselves through on-the-job training or national or state certification.
1. Earn a degree or certificate in paralegal studies.
Although Delaware does not require a degree or certificate to become a paralegal, many paralegals choose to obtain a formal education earned at one of the Delaware paralegal programs, which are offered in the form of certificates, associate’s degrees, or bachelor’s degrees. Currently, there are five American Bar Association (ABA) approved paralegal programs in Delaware.1 Other paralegal programs are available across the state, ranging from certificate programs to associate’s and bachelor’s degrees.
2. Gain experience.
On-the-job experience can be gained through internships and job shadowing and is commonly offered as part of paralegal education programs. On-site training is also available at law firms and corporate legal departments throughout the state. Some paralegals even start at the entry level as document preparers or legal secretaries.
3. Seek certification, if desired.
Although certification is not required to become a paralegal, those who are certified typically stand out among their peers. You can read more about national options as well as Delaware certification below.
Paralegal Certification in Delaware
Delaware defines a paralegal and legal assistant as someone who has the education, training, or work experience to perform legal work under the supervision of an attorney. Many Delaware paralegals seek national certification through organizations like the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA, the Paralegal Association); the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA); or the American Alliance of Paralegals (AAPI). These associations offer paralegal certification programs that are widely accepted as the industry standard of professional excellence. You can read more about national paralegal certification through our guide Steps to Become a Paralegal
In addition to national certification programs, the Delaware Paralegal Association (DPA) offers the Delaware Certified Paralegal (DCP) program. This voluntary program was designed to promote paralegal professionalism through continuing legal education and adherence to DPA’s Code of Ethics. To become a DCP, candidates must be a member of the DPA and have at least one of the following combinations of education and experience:
- A bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies plus one year of paralegal experience
- A bachelor’s degree in any area of study from an accredited school and a certificate from an ABA-approved paralegal program plus one year of paralegal experience
- A bachelor’s degree in any area of study from an accredited school plus two years of paralegal experience
- An associate degree in paralegal studies plus three years of paralegal experience
- A certificate from an ABA-approved program plus three years of paralegal experience
- An associate degree in any area of study from an accredited school plus four years of paralegal experience
- A certificate from a non-ABA-approved paralegal program plus four years of substantive paralegal experience
- Five years of substantive paralegal experience
You can read more about the Delaware Certified Paralegal program on the Delaware Paralegal Association website.
Delaware Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
Though corporate legal departments are a reliable source of paralegal jobs in Delaware, law firms continue to be the primary employers and paralegals and legal assistants across the US. Wilmington hosts Richards, Layton & Finger, the largest and one of the oldest law firms in Delaware, specializing in business law, bankruptcy, tax, and litigation. Also in Wilmington, and with another office in Dover, Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP works in multiple practice areas including commercial litigation, insurance law, and employment law. Large, multidisciplinary firms such as these operate in many different areas of law and tend to include numerous legal support staff on their research teams, making them good starting points for job-seeking paralegals.
Corporate internal legal departments may offer aspiring paralegals and legal assistants a slightly different work environment. Large corporations with offices in Delaware include Nestle, AstraZeneca, DuPont, and United Acquisition. Additional Delaware paralegal jobs may be found through state and federal government agencies.
LinkedIn is a good research resource where you can search on geography (Delaware or city-level) for “paralegal” to find networking opportunities and also companies most associated with users identifying as paralegals; companies in Delaware with the most LinkedIn users as paralegals include:
- Bank of America
- JPMorgan Chase & Co
- Morris James LLP
- State of Delaware
- University of Delaware
- Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP
For more information about paralegal careers, take a look at our careers page.
Delaware Paralegal Salary Information
Projected Job Growth
Paralegals in Delaware from 2018-20282
In May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 1,620 paralegals and legal assistants working in Delaware.3 The paralegal profession is expected to expand as employers seek to minimize the cost of providing legal services. This trend should create new positions for paralegals and diversify the responsibilities of legal support staff. Similarly, internal corporate legal departments are expected to expand in order to reduce the cost of relying on outside counsel. Projections Central has identified these trends and predicted 5.6% growth for Delaware paralegal jobs from 2018 to 2028, which is more moderate than the nationwide projected growth of 12% for the same time period.2 This projection is based on an anticipated 140 average annual paralegal job openings from 2018 to 2028.2 Additionally, Delaware has one of the highest concentrations of jobs for paralegals and legal assistants in the nation, behind Washington DC and Florida.3 Wilmington, which is included in the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington metropolitan area, shares the seventh-highest metropolitan employment level with neighboring states.3
The average Delaware paralegal salary was reported at $51,870 in 2020.3 This average annual wage is less than the national average wage for paralegals, which was reported at $56,610.2 Although lower than the national average, paralegals in urban areas, including the Philadelphia metropolitan area including parts of Delaware, tend to earn more. 43 Urban areas are expected to produce most of the Delaware paralegal jobs added to the state economy over the next few years. Paralegals with voluntary certification, paralegal education, and experience may be better positioned for higher salaries. Estimates are based on national data, not school-specific information; data accessed in January 2022.
Delaware Paralegal Salary by Metro Area
|Metro Area||Number Employed4||Average Annual Salary4|
Paralegal Associations in Delaware
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.
- Delaware Paralegal Association (DPA): Provides professional support, networking opportunities, continuing education seminars, and pro bono work to paralegals and legal assistants throughout the state.
- Delaware State Courts: The official website for all courts in the state, providing access to court news, rules, and forms, as well as job openings in the state judiciary and legal research resources.
- Judicial Libraries of the State of Delaware: Maintains three law libraries, one in each of the state’s counties, which are open to the public and legal community and together hold a comprehensive collection of state law materials, including primary and secondary sources.
- Paralegal411 Jobs Board: For paralegal jobs in Delaware, visit our jobs board.
- Widener University Delaware Law School Law Library: Provides access to electronic legal resources to the general public and allows members of the Delaware Bar Association (DBA) access to circulating materials and document delivery for a nominal fee.
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