Texas Paralegal Career and Salary Guide
Our Texas paralegal career guide is your starting point for becoming a paralegal or legal assistant. Our guide will answer some of the most common questions about how to become a paralegal in Texas. Texas has no state-wide requirements for becoming a paralegal. However, becoming a certified paralegal in Texas through a degree program or certificate program can increase job opportunities. Generally, the entry-level requirement for paralegals in Texas is the completion of an associate degree or certificate in paralegal studies. Our guide will answer your questions about how to become a paralegal in Texas with certification opportunities, job and salary outlook, and career resources. Start your journey to a paralegal career using the easy-to-navigate directory below.
Table of Contents
- How to Become a Paralegal in Texas
- Paralegal Certification
- Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
- Paralegal Resources
How to Become a Paralegal in Texas
Texas has no mandatory certification requirements for paralegals. This means that there are many paths you can follow to start your career. Most paralegals in Texas possess a combination of education, experience (which may include internships), and on-the-job training. Others may begin working as document preparers or legal secretaries and be promoted to a paralegal position.
1. Earn a degree or certificate in paralegal studies.
Texas has many schools that offer paralegal certification programs, culminating in certificates, associate degrees, and bachelor’s degrees. Currently, there are 10 Texas paralegal programs approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).1
2. Gain experience.
Real-world experience and on-the-job training, often offered through paralegal degree programs, contributes to hiring potential. Some paralegals begin their careers as legal document preparers or legal secretaries, working their way up the career ladder.
3. Seek certification, if desired.
Texas does not mandate certification for paralegals but obtaining voluntary certification can give candidates greater job opportunities. Read more about Texas certification below.
Paralegal Certification in Texas
Texas defines a paralegal as someone who is qualified through education, work experience, or a combination of both, and serves under the direct supervision and direction of a licensed attorney. Texas, like most states, has no statewide requirements for paralegal certification. Upon graduation from one of the paralegal schools in Texas, prospective paralegals are also 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. Prospective paralegals and legal assistants are also encouraged to consult with the Texas paralegal associations listed below. For more information on how to become a paralegal, including further information on national certification, see our Paralegal411 guide How to Become a Paralegal.
The Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS) offers voluntary paralegal certification in seven practice areas. Exams for certification are administered once a year and are expected to take a full day. In addition to the exam, the TBLS requires a minimum of 30 hours of course credit in a specialized practice area. There are fewer than 400 TBLS certified paralegals in Texas, so obtaining this elite certification can set paralegals apart from their peers.
Texas Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
There are many opportunities to find paralegal jobs in Texas at firms, in corporations, and in government agencies. Houston hosts the highest density of large law firms in Texas and is home to such firms as Baker Botts LLP, Vinson & Elkins LLP, and Norton Rose Fulbright LLP. Prestigious and well-respected in the Lone Star State, Baker Botts specializes in technology, complex litigation, white-collar defense, and appellate advocacy. In Dallas, Haynes and Boone, LLP is an international corporate law firm that sustains a high demand for attorney and paralegal labor, especially in global business. Haynes and Boone emphasizes a positive firm culture based on internal teamwork and relies heavily upon paralegal support across a range of legal topics. In San Antonio, De Mott, McChesney, Curtright & Armendariz (DMCA) LLP is a stable, fast-growing immigration and nationality law firm that employs career-focused individuals to assist their attorneys as paralegals and legal assistants.
Major corporations based in Texas include AT&T, American Airlines, Dell, Michaels Stores, Inc., and Waste Management, Inc., all of which demand a great deal of paralegal support in their legal departments. Recently certified paralegals in Texas 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 (Texas or city-level) for “paralegal” to find networking opportunities and also companies most associated with users identifying as paralegals; companies in Texas with the most LinkedIn users as paralegals include:
- Baker Botts
- Bank of America
- Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP
- Norton Rose Fulbright
- US Army
- U.S. Small Business Administration
For more information about paralegal careers, take a look at our careers page.
Texas Paralegal Salary Information
Projected Job Growth
Paralegals in Texas from 2018-20282
There are an estimated 25,540 paralegal and legal assistants employed in the state of Texas, which is the third highest employment level for the profession in the US.3 A 12% increase in employment for paralegals and legal assistants is projected nationwide from 2018 to 2028, compared with a projected 25.6% increase in employment for paralegals and legal assistants in Texas during the same period.2 As the role of paralegals becomes more substantive and diverse, law firms of all sizes are expected to expand the number of support staff, creating new opportunities for qualified paralegals. Overall, the outlook for paralegal jobs in Texas is favorable considering nationwide trends in paralegal job creation and expansion and the presence of well-known law firms and corporations across the state. Job prospects are likely to be strongest in metropolitan areas where large numbers of paralegals are currently employed such as Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metropolitan area has the eighth highest employment level in the profession of metro areas across the country.3
The BLS reported that paralegals in Texas earned a mean annual wage of $57,020 as of May 2020, which is slightly higher than the national average paralegal wage of $56,610.3 A paralegal’s wages may vary from firm to firm, according to the paralegal’s experience level, certifications, and the area in which he or she is employed. The average cost of living in a given area can also have a substantial influence on average salaries.
Estimates are based on national data, not school-specific information; data accessed in October 2021.
Texas Paralegal Salary by Metro Area
|Average Annual Salary4
|Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land
|San Antonio-New Braunfels
Paralegal Associations in Texas
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.
- Bell County Bar Association Paralegals (BCBA): Provides paralegals and legal support staff in Bell county and surrounding areas with networking, continuing education, and public service opportunities.
- Capital Area Paralegal Association (CAPA): Provides members with employment assistance through its freelance directory, a job bank, and networking opportunities while promoting pro bono work and community service.
- Dallas Area Paralegal Association (DAPA): Promotes the paralegal profession through continuing legal education, professional development, and relationships with local, state, and national bar associations.
- Denton County Paralegal Association (DCPA) :Advocates for the advancement of the paralegal profession through social, luncheons, conferences, and continuing education opportunities.
- El Paso Paralegal Association (ELPA): Promotes the professional development of paralegals through a shared job bank, continuing education, and reimbursement awards for eligible paralegal certifications.
- Houston Paralegal Association (HPA): Provides education and professional development for paralegals to advance the legal profession through regular events, networking opportunities, and charity objectives.
- North Texas Paralegal Association (NTPA): Provides members access to monthly continuing legal education seminars, networking events, and other professional development opportunities.
- San Antonio Paralegal Association (SAPA): Seeks to assist members with career development in all legal specialty areas through networking and certification opportunities.
- Southeast Texas Association of Paralegals (SETAP): Hosts speaker meetings and professional development seminars and provides members with access to a shared job bank.
- West Texas Paralegal Association (WTPA): Provides members with networking and volunteer opportunities.
- Paralegal411 Jobs Board: Openings for paralegals and legal support professionals.
- State Bar of Texas Paralegal Division: Encourages students, entry-level paralegals, and established professionals through continuing education seminars, message boards, a job bank, and professional development tools.
- Texas Judicial Branch: The definitive source for case law, court forms, and other essential information for paralegals in Texas.
- Texas State Law Library: Public law library that serves the state courts and other agencies, and provides an expansive print and digital collection to members.
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