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Ohio Paralegal Career and Salary Guide

An associate’s degree or paralegal certificate is generally the entry-level requirement for paralegals in Ohio. This career guide is designed to help those interested in careers as Ohio paralegals get started with up-to-date information on voluntary certification options, career and salary outlook, and additional paralegal resources. Use the easy-to-navigate directory below to begin.

Table of Contents
How to Become a Paralegal in Ohio
Paralegal Certification
Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
Paralegal Resources

How to Become a Paralegal in Ohio

Since there are no statewide requirements for Ohio paralegal certification, those looking to start a paralegal career in the state may take one of many avenues to the legal professions. The majority of paralegals possess a combination of education and experience, which may be earned through internships or on-the-job training. Voluntary paralegal certification can also help Ohio paralegals be more competitive in the job market.

1. Earn a degree or certificate in paralegal studies.

There are numerous paralegal schools in Ohio that offer associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and certificates in paralegal studies. Currently, the American Bar Association (ABA) has approved 11 of these programs.1

2. Gain experience.

Most educational programs offer opportunities to gain real-world experience, including internships and job shadowing. Taking advantage of such opportunities can help paralegal candidates build their skills and make them more competitive for entry-level jobs.

3. Seek certification, if desired.

Even though Ohio does not require state-level certification for paralegals, earning voluntary certification is a great way to build credentials and expand networking opportunities. You can read more about Ohio certification below.

Paralegal Certification in Ohio

Ohio defines a paralegal as a person who is qualified through education, work experience, or a combination of both, and serves under the direct supervision of a licensed Ohio attorney. Ohio, like most states, has no state-wide requirements for paralegals. However, upon graduation from a paralegal certification program, paralegals in Ohio are encouraged to seek voluntary national certification through organizations such as the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA, the Paralegal Association); the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA); and the American Alliance of Paralegals (AAPI). Though national certification is voluntary, paralegals certified through these organizations have met a professional standard of excellence that might impress potential employers. Prospective paralegals and legal assistants are also encouraged to consult with the Ohio paralegal associations listed below. For more information on how to become a paralegal, see our Paralegal411 guide How to Become a Paralegal.

Ohio also has a voluntary state certification program though the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA), which offers an annual certification exam for those with sufficient work experience and education. Paralegals who meet the OSBA definition of a “paralegal,” meet the eligibility requirements, and pass a written exam will be designated as OSBA Certified Paralegals. While voluntary, obtaining certification through the OSBA can be a valuable credential for paralegals, showing potential employers a commitment to training, knowledge, and skill.

Ohio Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook

There are many opportunities for paralegals to find in Ohio firms, corporations, and government agencies. Large law firms based in Ohio include Vorys Sater Seymour and Pease LLP; Bricker & Eckler LLP; and Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP. Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease is ranked among the top law firms in the nation, specializing in banking and finance law, commercial litigation, and real estate law. Additionally, Alden Law, located in Columbus, specializes in transportation and warehousing law and may offer employment opportunities for paralegals looking to specialize in this field.

Corporate legal departments may also be in need of paralegal assistance, particularly in periods of corporate expansion. Ohio is home to several Fortune 500 companies including Cardinal Health, Kroger, Marathon Petroleum, and Procter & Gamble. These large corporations often require paralegal assistance in their in-house legal departments. Recently certified paralegals in Ohio may also seek employment in a variety of regional, state, and local government agencies. LinkedIn is a good research resource where you can search on geography (Ohio or city-level) for “paralegal” to find networking opportunities and also companies most associated with users identifying as paralegals; companies in Ohio with the most LinkedIn users as paralegals include:

  • Cleveland Clinic
  • Dinsmore & Shohl LLP
  • Fifth Third Bank
  • Lerner, Sampson & Rothfuss
  • Manley Deas Kochalski, LLC
  • Nationwide
  • Ohio Attorney General’s Office
  • Reisenfeld & Associates LPA, LLC
  • Reminger Co. LPA

Individuals should also consider the impact that legal specializations and work environment can have on Ohio paralegal salaries. Those working for the government and public organizations may earn lower average salaries but may have more comprehensive benefits packages than those working in the private sector. In-demand legal specializations such as health care and intellectual property law may also boost paralegal salary. The key for prospective paralegals is to develop skills and experience in an area of law that is personally rewarding and satisfying. For more information about paralegal careers, take a look at our careers page.

Ohio Paralegal Salary Information

Projected Job Growth

3.1%

Paralegals in Ohio from 2018-20282

An estimated 9,470 paralegals and legal assistants work in Ohio.3 As employers seek to optimize the cost of providing legal services, law firms are expected to increase the proportion of support positions and continue to expand and diversify the tasks allocated to paralegals and legal assistants. The number of paralegal positions is expected to increase between 2018 and 2028 by 3.1% in Ohio and by 12% nationally.2 Overall, the growth outlook for Ohio paralegal jobs remains positive as the profession continues to assume more substantial roles within law firms and legal departments and more positions for paralegals are created within these organizations. Job prospects are likely to be strongest in metropolitan areas where large numbers of paralegals are currently employed such as Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati.3

The average paralegal salary in Ohio is $49,720, which is lower than the national average paralegal salary of $56,610.3 The disparity in annual wage may reflect the overall lower cost of living in the state of Ohio. However, as is the case in most states, paralegals may command a higher salary in urban areas. For example, Cincinnati paralegals make an average annual wage of $58,440, while paralegals in Lima, a much smaller town, earn $34,540.4 Paralegals who pursue voluntary certification, paralegal education, and real-world experience may be better positioned for higher salaries. Estimates are based on national data, not school-specific information; data accessed in November 2021.

Ohio Paralegal Salary by Metro Area

Metro AreaNumber Employed4Average Annual Salary4
Akron560$56,830
Cincinnati1,740$58,440
Cleveland-Elyria3,720$49,690
Columbus2,320$51,000
Dayton880$41,880
Toledo420$46,950

Paralegal Resources

Paralegal Associations in Ohio

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.

  • Cincinnati Bar Association (CBA): Supports and promotes the paralegal profession in the Cincinnati area and maintains an independent, locally-focused jobs board including postings for paralegals and legal assistants.
  • Cincinnati Paralegal Association (CPA): Promotes the paralegal profession and the individual development of paralegals through regular events, membership meetings, continuing educational opportunities, pro bono services, and networking dinners.
  • Cleveland Association of Paralegals (CAP): Provides members with a strong and extended network through the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (CMBA), giving members access to a members-only job board and a full calendar of networking and professional development events.
  • Dayton Bar Association (DBA): Promotes the various roles of lawyers and legal professionals in the Dayton Community through various interest groups and a referral service.
  • Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA): Provides members access to networking events and continuing education opportunities, and strives to grow the paralegal profession through the largest legal network in Ohio.
  • Paralegal Association of Central Ohio (PACO): Serving all of Central Ohio, PACO actively promotes the interests of paralegals and the legal professionals through career development seminars, legal clinics, and retreats.
  • Paralegal Association of Northwest Ohio (PANO): Offers scholarships, continuing legal education, a members-only job bank, and monthly luncheons for paralegals in the Toledo area.
  • Toledo Bar Association: Offers Toledo area paralegals access to continuing educational opportunities, a job board, pro bono opportunities, and membership events.

Additional Resources

  • Hamilton County Law Library: Offers subscriptions to lawyers and law firms for circulation of materials as well as continuing education seminars and training on using legal information databases.
  • Ohio State University Moritz Law Library: Supports scholarship and instruction in the law through education and serves as a valuable resource to Ohio lawyers, judges, paralegals, and citizens.
  • Ohio Supreme Court Law Library: With a collection comprising nearly 500,000 volumes and professional links for all courts within the state’s jurisdiction the Ohio Supreme Court Law Library is one of the largest state Supreme Court libraries in the US.
  • Paralegal411 Jobs Board: Search for paralegal job openings in the private and public sectors.
  • Supreme Court of Ohio: The official website of the Supreme Court of Ohio and the Ohio Judicial System includes professional links as well as links of interest for all courts within the state’s jurisdiction.

References:
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