Florida Paralegal Career and Salary Guide
This guide is your starting point for exploring a career in the paralegal field. In general, the entry-level education required for a paralegal career in Florida is an associate’s degree or certificate. On this page, you’ll find further details about Florida paralegal careers and salaries, professional resources, and more. The easy-to-navigate directory below will help you quickly find the answers to your questions about how to become a paralegal in Florida.
Table of Contents:
- How to Become a Paralegal in Florida
- Paralegal Certification
- Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
- Paralegal Resources
How to Become a Paralegal in Florida
Florida does not set education or certification requirements for paralegals at the state level, so there are different pathways that you can take to become a paralegal in the state. The first step is typically the completion of an accredited paralegal degree program from one of the many paralegal schools in Florida. Many employers also seek paralegal candidates who have experience, which may be gained through in-school internships or on-the-job training as a legal assistant or entry-level paralegal.
1. Earn a degree or certificate in paralegal studies.
Earning an associate’s degree, certificate, or bachelor’s degree from one of the paralegal schools in Florida can help candidates build their skill sets and become more competitive applicants for paralegal positions. The American Bar Association (ABA) has approved 11 paralegal education programs in Florida.1
2. Gain experience.
Internships, job-shadowing, and other opportunities to gain real-world experience are often part of a paralegal program’s curriculum. While not all programs will require experience for degree credit, taking advantage of such opportunities is typically recommended. This is because, in addition to learning opportunities, students often find that these experiences help them build a professional network.
3. Seek certification, if desired.
Although the state of Florida does not require licensure or certification for paralegals, earning a voluntary certification credential can help your application stand out when you apply for paralegal jobs.
Paralegal Certification in Florida
Florida, like most other states, does not have certification requirements for paralegals. Florida defines paralegals as paraprofessionals who can perform specified legal tasks under the direct supervision of a licensed attorney. There are no minimum education qualifications or training requirements. However, most employers prefer to hire paralegal candidates who have some formal training, such as a degree or certificate. A degree or certificate can also qualify you for voluntary certification from 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). At the state level, registration with the Florida Bar is not mandatory; however, membership in the Florida Registered Paralegal Program offers voluntary paralegal registration for professionals who meet eligibility requirements through a combination of education, certification, and work experience. For further information on certification opportunities, see our guide to becoming a paralegal.
Florida Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
Paralegals in Florida can find opportunities to work for corporate legal departments, government agencies, and private law firms. Cole, Scott & Kissane PA is one of the largest law firms in Florida, with offices in Miami, Tampa, Orlando, and Fort Lauderdale. Morgan & Morgan, which specializes in personal injury law, is another firm operating in Florida, with offices across the state. These and other large firms in Florida can provide paralegals with opportunities to specialize within an area of interest.
Corporate paralegal jobs are also available in Florida. Large corporations that are based in the state that may hire paralegals include Publix, Darden Restaurants, Carnival Cruise Line, and Genesis Corporation. Paralegals can also find opportunities at smaller companies, as well as state and local government agencies. LinkedIn is a good research resource where you can search on geography (Florida or city-level) for “paralegal” to find networking opportunities and also companies most associated with users identifying as paralegals; companies in Florida with the most users as paralegals include:
- Akerman LLP
- Cole, Scott & Kissane PA
- Greenberg Traurig LLP
- Greenspoon Marder LLP
- Holland & Knight LLP
- Kubicki Draper
- Morgan & Morgan PA
- Quintairos, Prieto, Wood, & Boyer PA
Visit our careers page to learn more about different career tracks for paralegals.
Florida Paralegal Salary Information
Projected Job Growth
Paralegals in Florida from 2018-20282
As of May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that there were 33,760 paralegals and legal assistants working in Florida.3 More paralegals worked in Florida than in any other state during this time period.3 Job prospects for Florida paralegals are likely to be strongest in metropolitan areas hosting dense concentrations of businesses and corporations. In Florida, the job growth rate for paralegals may slightly exceed the national average, as projections call for 16.5% job growth for paralegals in the state through 2028, compared to 13.1% job growth for paralegals nationally.2
The average annual salary for Florida paralegals was $52,100 as of May 2020, compared to a national average annual salary for paralegals of $56,610.3 However, paralegals in certain metros earn more; the average annual salary for paralegals in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach area was $56,420 in 2020.3 This area also had one of the highest concentrations of paralegals per 1,000 jobs of all metros in the US, with 13,280 paralegals reported.3 Factors other than geographic location that can influence salaries include completing formal training, education, national certification, and/or legal work experience. Estimates are based on national data, not school-specific information; data accessed in August 2021.
Florida Paralegal Salary by Metro Area
|Average Annual Salary4
|Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach
Paralegal Associations in Florida
These are volunteer organizations, typically with elected boards, that focus on professional development and networking for a specific geography and/or area of law.
- Central Florida Paralegal Association, Inc. (CEPA): Encourages community service with events throughout the year. The association also works to support current and future paralegal students in their studies.
- Northeast Florida Paralegal Association, Inc. (NEFPA): Provides benefits such as professional development, a job bank, scholarships, mentoring, and more.
- Northwest Florida Paralegal Association (NWFPA): Focuses on the ethical and professional development of paralegals, with regular meetings, seminars, and other activities relevant to the interests of area paralegals and other legal professionals.
- Paralegal Association of Florida, Inc. (PAFINC): Statewide association that welcomes members from all areas of Florida, with annual seminars and additional events throughout the year supported by 11 statewide chapters.
- South Florida Paralegal Association (SFPA): Seeks to advance the paralegal profession through member development, paralegal advocacy, and public awareness. Member benefits include membership in affiliate organizations, admission to annual meetings and events, and access to career opportunities.
- Southwest Florida Paralegal Association, Inc. (SWFPA): Supports area paralegals through networking, education, and professional advancement.
- Tampa Bay Paralegal Association, Inc. (TBPA): Provides members with opportunities for scholarships, continuing education, certification, networking, and other career advancement activities, including community service.
- Florida Bar: Posts paralegal jobs across the state as well as legal news, events, and other items of interest.
- Florida Courts: Provides links to all courts within the system, as well as an overview of the state’s court structure and locations.
- Florida Supreme Court: Access an easy to use docket search, the Supreme Court’s online law library, past Court opinions, and more.
- Paralegal411 Job Board: For paralegal job openings in Florida, visit our jobs board.
- University of Miami School of Law Library: One of the largest law libraries in the Southeast with over 620,000 volumes. The library is open to guests for legal research, although days and times may be restricted to the public during exam periods.
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://www.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