How to Become a Paralegal in Michigan (Steps and State Requirements)

Embarking on a paralegal career in Michigan can be an exciting and rewarding journey. With a diverse legal landscape and numerous educational and certification options, the state presents a wealth of opportunities for aspiring paralegals. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the steps on how to become a paralegal in Michigan, the skills required, salary expectations, top schools and programs, networking opportunities, and tips for success in this dynamic field.

What you’re about to learn in this guide:

  • Becoming a paralegal in Michigan involves obtaining an ABA-approved education, certifications, and relevant experience.

  • Paralegals must have strong skills to carry out legal tasks such as filing documents and researching court transcripts.

  • There are various traditional, hybrid and online programs available for aspiring paralegals along with associations providing networking opportunities to facilitate professional development.

Path to Becoming a Paralegal in Michigan

To become a paralegal in Michigan, one needs to acquire an education in paralegal studies, earn paralegal certification, and gather relevant experience. Although Michigan does not impose any regulations concerning the training or paralegal education of paralegals, a formal education can be beneficial in demonstrating qualifications to law offices and advancing your career.

Legal assistants and paralegals are considered to be the same profession by the government and typically perform similar tasks. In 2015, there were 5,300 paralegals employed in Michigan, with the largest concentration in the Detroit-Warren-Dearborn metropolitan area.

Education Options

Michigan offers a variety of ABA-approved paralegal programs and degrees, equipping future paralegals with the necessary knowledge and skills to thrive in the field. Institutions such as:

  • Grand Valley State University

  • Oakland University

  • Lansing Community College

  • Ferris State University

We offer a variety of programs, from certificate programs to Bachelor of Science (BS) or Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Legal Studies, providing a solid foundation in substantive law for those considering law school in the future.

These programs cover essential paralegal skills such as:

  • legal research and writing

  • document preparation

  • interview techniques

  • interrogatory responses

  • technical skills

Admission requirements vary by institution, but generally include a minimum GPA and completion of a certain number of credit hours from an accredited university or college.

Certification Choices

Beyond acquiring a formal education, paralegals in Michigan might also want to consider earning voluntary national certification, such as NALA’s Certified Paralegal (CP) and Advanced Paralegal Certification (APC) designations. To obtain the CP designation, one must pass an exam, while completing a legal curriculum provided by NALA is required for the APC designation.

Gaining certification offers several benefits for paralegals:

  • Access to a wider range of career prospects

  • Demonstrates a high level of expertise and knowledge in the field

  • Distinguishes themselves from other applicants

  • Improves their chances of being hired

Gaining Experience

Internships and hands-on experience are of great significance for aspiring paralegals in Michigan, as they offer an opportunity to acquire practical experience in the field. This experience can assist paralegals in cultivating the abilities and understanding necessary to be successful in the profession.

Experience as a paralegal in Michigan can be gained through the following steps:

  1. Pursuing a degree or certificate in paralegal studies

  2. Gaining practical experience through internships or entry-level positions

  3. Obtaining certification, if desired, to bolster credentials

Certification can also be advantageous in demonstrating a high level of expertise and knowledge in the field.

Paralegal Job Duties and Skills

Paralegals in Michigan assist attorneys through a variety of tasks such as:

  • Filing legal documents

  • Drafting legal contracts

  • Conversing with witnesses

  • Conducting research on court transcripts

  • Presenting collected information to attorneys for review

  • Assisting attorneys during a trial

In addition, paralegals must demonstrate proficiency in research and writing, attention to detail, and independent working capabilities.

Success as a paralegal in Michigan requires keen attention to detail and the ability to work independently. Paralegals play a crucial role in the legal profession, providing valuable support to attorneys and contributing to the efficient operation of law firms and other legal organizations.

Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook in Michigan

The average salary for paralegals in Michigan is $50,590, with regional salary differences across the state. For example, the average annual salary for a paralegal in Detroit and Dearborn is $61,420, while in Grand Rapids, it is $50,830. The projected job growth rate for paralegals in Michigan is 14.6% through 2026, indicating a positive outlook for those considering a career in this field.

The data provided in the source section, including labor statistics, sheds light on job market trends and paralegal salaries in Michigan, which can be advantageous for aspiring paralegals when making career decisions.

Key points:

  • Michigan has a strong job outlook for paralegals

  • Paralegal salaries in Michigan are competitive

  • Michigan is an attractive location for those seeking to establish a successful paralegal career.

Top Paralegal Schools and Programs in Michigan

A comprehensive list of paralegal schools and programs in Michigan includes institutions such as:

  • Grand Valley State University

  • Lansing Community College

  • Northern Michigan University

  • Oakland Community College

  • Central Michigan University

  • Davenport University

  • Delta College

  • Eastern Michigan University

  • Ferris State University

  • Henry Ford College

These schools offer a variety of programs, including ABA-approved options, to help aspiring paralegals gain the necessary education and skills to excel in their careers.

A wide array of educational options, from traditional to hybrid and online programs, are available for aspiring paralegals in Michigan. Some of the ABA-approved paralegal programs in Michigan include:

  • Grand Valley State University

  • Lansing Community College

  • Eastern Michigan University

  • Madonna University

These online paralegal programs provide students with a solid foundation in paralegal studies and prepare them for success in the field, including the opportunity to specialize in a specific paralegal program.

Traditional Programs

Grand Valley State University and Lansing Community College offer ABA-approved paralegal programs that provide students with a strong foundation in legal research, legal writing, and practical skills. These programs are designed to equip students with the essential knowledge and abilities necessary to excel in the paralegal field.

Grand Valley State University’s LEAP program is an accelerated course of study that enables students to complete their undergraduate coursework in three years before pursuing law at Michigan State University.

Lansing Community College’s Paralegal Studies program focuses on practical skills, preparing students for success in the profession.

Hybrid and Online Programs

Eastern Michigan University and Madonna University offer ABA-approved online and hybrid paralegal programs for students who prefer a more flexible learning environment. These programs provide a comprehensive education in paralegal studies, equipping students with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their careers.

Eastern Michigan University offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Paralegal Studies with 124 credits, as well as a second bachelor’s degree program in Paralegal Studies with 72 credits.

Madonna University offers a four-year Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Paralegal Studies. Additionally, they have a two-year Associate of Science (AS) and one-year Post-Baccalaureate Certificate of Achievement in the same field.

Paralegal Associations and Networking Opportunities

The State Bar of Michigan, the Grand Rapids Bar Association, and the American Bar Association offer a range of legal services for paralegals. These services include continuing legal education, job listings, and regular gatherings. These associations offer a wealth of resources and networking opportunities, helping Michigan’s paralegals remain current with industry trends and form connections with fellow professionals.

The Michiana Paralegal Association offers several benefits for its members, including:

  • Educational and professional development opportunities

  • Networking possibilities

  • Access to information on both local and national topics

  • Advocacy for the profession

  • Pro bono service to the broader community

NALS of Michigan also offers various membership levels through its local chapters across the state, further expanding networking and professional development opportunities for paralegals in Michigan.

Law Firms and Other Employment Options

Paralegals in Michigan can find job opportunities across various organizations, including:

  • Law firms such as Kemp Klein Law Firm, Dickinson Wright, Clark Hill, Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, Dykema Gossett, and Butzel Long

  • Corporate legal and finance departments

  • Numerous government agencies

Their expertise is much sought after by these organizations.

With a diverse range of employers and a growing legal landscape in Michigan, aspiring paralegals have numerous opportunities for career advancement. Some potential employers for paralegals in Michigan include:

  • Private law firms

  • Government agencies

  • Corporate legal departments

  • Non-profit organizations

  • Legal aid clinics

These are just a few examples of the many options available for paralegals seeking employment in Michigan.

Tips for Success in the Paralegal Field

Future paralegals in Michigan could find it beneficial to pursue a formal education, earn certifications, and actively participate in networking events. A solid foundation in paralegal studies equips individuals with the requisite knowledge and abilities to excel in the profession and stay informed of the latest laws and regulations.

Certification can be advantageous in showcasing dedication to the profession and providing a competitive edge in the employment market. Networking is essential for paralegals in Michigan, as it allows them to cultivate relationships with other practitioners in the field, increasing visibility and access to job opportunities.


In conclusion, pursuing a paralegal career in Michigan offers a wealth of opportunities for growth and success. With a variety of educational options, certification choices, networking opportunities, and potential employers, aspiring paralegals in Michigan can confidently embark on an exciting and fulfilling career in the legal field. By investing in a solid education, obtaining certification, and actively engaging in networking opportunities, paralegals in Michigan can set themselves up for a successful and rewarding career in the legal profession.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to become a paralegal in MI?

In Michigan, it typically takes up to five years to become a paralegal by completing a 34-credit certificate program through Oakland University. Alternatively, pursuing a two-year or four-year paralegal studies degree is also an ideal way to become a successful paralegal.

Do you have to have a degree to be a paralegal in Michigan?

In Michigan, paralegal licensure is not required and there are no minimum education or training requirements. A two-year or four-year paralegal studies degree is ideal for successful paralegal work, but on-the-job training is also available. Thus, it is not necessary to have a degree to become a paralegal in Michigan.

What does a paralegal do in Michigan?

In Michigan, paralegals are paraprofessionals who can perform select tasks under the supervision of a licensed attorney. These tasks are allowed without any minimum training or education requirements and can be learned through on-the-job training.

What is the best major for a paralegal?

A bachelor’s degree in English, history, sociology or business is the best major for a paralegal. According to the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), employers are placing increasing emphasis on earning at least a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in paralegal studies is the highest level of education paralegals can pursue. Therefore, a bachelor’s degree is the way to go to advance your career and earn higher pay.

What is the average salary for paralegals in Michigan?

The average salary for paralegals in Michigan is $50,590 per year.

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