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

Have you ever considered a rewarding career in the legal field, but don’t want to spend years in law school? How about becoming a paralegal right here in your home state of Minnesota? With a growing demand for skilled paralegals, the opportunities in this field are vast and varied. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps to become a paralegal in Minnesota, covering the essential aspects of education, certification, and job outlook.

Embarking on a paralegal career in Minnesota can be both fulfilling and lucrative. As a paralegal, you’ll play a crucial role in supporting attorneys and law firms, helping them navigate the complexities of the legal system. Let’s dive into the exciting world of paralegals in Minnesota and explore the path to success in this field, focusing on how to become a paralegal in Minnesota.

What you’re about to learn in this guide:

  • Become a successful paralegal in Minnesota by obtaining an ABA-approved degree/certificate, gaining hands-on experience and specializing in legal specialty courses.

  • Expect competitive salaries, diverse job prospects and promising employment growth with average salary of $53,960 per year.

  • Join professional associations for valuable networking opportunities to enhance career success while exploring various specialties and resources available online.

Path to Becoming a Paralegal in Minnesota

To start your successful paralegal journey in Minnesota, you first need to obtain a paralegal degree or certificate from an American Bar Association (ABA) approved program. A solid educational foundation is key to demonstrating your value to law firms, whether they operate in the public or private sector. Kick-starting your paralegal career requires hands-on experience, which you can gain through internships and on-the-job training. Not only will it provide you with the practical skills required, but it will also make you stand out among other job applicants, improving your career prospects.

Bear in mind, paralegals in Minnesota are obliged to work under the supervision of a licensed attorney and cannot practice law independently. However, specializing in legal specialty courses can enhance your skills and knowledge, making you an invaluable asset to any law office. While certification is not mandatory to pursue a paralegal career in Minnesota, it can be beneficial for those seeking to provide high-quality legal services.

Education Requirements

If you aim to succeed in the paralegal field, earning a degree or certificate from an ABA-approved program in Minnesota is a must. Paralegal studies offer various degree programs, including associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees, catering to your specific needs and aspirations. Alexandria Technical and Community College offers a varied selection of academic degrees. One example is an Associate in Applied Science degree with emphasis on substantive law, legal procedures, and government..

Hamline University, on the other hand, offers a paralegal certificate program directed towards individuals who have already obtained a bachelor’s degree. Inver Hills Community College’s paralegal program combines a liberal arts education with comprehensive paralegal coursework, providing graduates with the option to transfer to a bachelor’s degree program.

Attending an ABA-approved paralegal education program guarantees a high standard of education and sets you up for a thriving paralegal career.

Gaining Experience

Starting a successful paralegal career in Minnesota requires the acquisition of practical experience. Internships and on-the-job training are two popular approaches to gain the valuable experience needed to excel in the legal field. Participating in an internship allows you to work closely with attorneys, legal professionals, and other paralegals, which gives you unique insights into the inner workings of the legal system and the role of paralegals.

Having an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies is highly recommended for aspiring paralegals in Minnesota. Paralegal certification programs and certificates from Minnesota paralegal schools can provide you with the necessary skills and experience to set you apart from other job applicants. Remember, the more experience you gain, the better equipped you’ll be to tackle the challenges and demands of a paralegal career in Minnesota.

Certification Options

Although certification is not a requirement for paralegals in Minnesota, pursuing voluntary certification can be a smart move for those seeking to provide top-notch legal services. State-level certification is available through the Minnesota Paralegal Association, which offers the Minnesota Certified Paralegal (MnCP) credential. Eligibility for the MnCP credential is determined by a combination of experience and educational background, such as having four years of substantive paralegal experience with an associate degree from an ABA-approved institution, or two years of experience with a bachelor’s degree from an ABA-approved institution.

Prospective paralegals have the option of obtaining national certifications through organizations such as NALA, NFPA and AAPI. These certifications are voluntary and can potentially lead to improved job prospects.

Obtaining certification not only demonstrates your commitment to excellence in the paralegal field but also helps you stand out in Minnesota’s competitive job market.

Minnesota Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook

As a paralegal in Minnesota, you can expect:

  • A competitive salary range

  • Promising job growth projections

  • Private law firms as the primary employers of paralegals in the state, with notable business law firms based in Minneapolis, such as Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP and Dorsey & Whitney LLP

  • Diverse employment prospects in various legal sectors, including Fortune 500 companies like UnitedHealth Group, Target, Best Buy, and 3M

With a current unemployment rate of 3.2% in Minnesota, the job market is ripe with opportunities for aspiring paralegals. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an average annual salary of $53,960 for paralegals in May 2020. With a combination of education, certification, and practical experience, you’ll be well-equipped to secure a fulfilling and lucrative paralegal career in Minnesota.

Salary Range

Paralegals in Minnesota earn an average salary of approximately $53,960 per year. However, keep in mind, your salary might vary based on factors like:

  • Your education

  • Certifications

  • Additional qualifications

  • Years of experience in the field

As you continue to gain experience and specialize in specific areas of law, your salary potential may increase, allowing you to earn a higher income. Regularly updating yourself on the latest legal trends and refining your skills can make you a valuable asset in the legal field, potentially leading to a higher salary and improved career opportunities.

Job Growth Projections

The job growth projections for paralegals in Minnesota are quite promising. According to Projections Central, the number of paralegal positions is expected to increase by 13.2% by 2026. This growth rate is significant compared to the national average growth rate for all occupations.

With the increasing demand for skilled paralegals, now is the perfect time to embark on a paralegal career in Minnesota. As the legal landscape continues to evolve, paralegals will play an increasingly vital role in assisting attorneys and law firms in navigating the complex legal system. Pursuing a paralegal education and gaining practical experience will position you well to take advantage of the growing demand for paralegal professionals in the state.

Employment Opportunities

In addition to private law firms, government agencies, and Fortune 500 companies, there are also ample employment opportunities for paralegals in Minnesota. Some of the legal sectors you can choose from include:

  • Criminal law

  • Family law

  • Corporate law

  • Intellectual property law

  • Environmental law

With such a diverse range of options, you can find a niche that aligns with your interests and passions.

As the legal field continues to grow and evolve, so too will the demand for skilled paralegals. Regularly updating yourself on the latest legal trends and refining your skills can make you a valuable asset in the legal field, potentially leading to a higher salary and improved career opportunities.

Key Paralegal Skills and Responsibilities

Paralegals play a vital role in supporting attorneys and law firms in providing legal services. Some of the key skills and responsibilities of a paralegal in Minnesota include:

  • Legal documentation

  • Scheduling

  • Legal document composition

  • Legal research

  • Case management

  • Administrative support

  • Customer service

As a Paralegal I, you will:

  • Assist and support attorneys with research and document preparation for court proceedings and legal transactions, acting as one of the legal assistants in the team

  • Conduct legal research on topics using a variety of sources such as statutes, recorded judicial decisions, legal articles, and legal codes

  • Draft and edit legal documents, such as briefs, pleadings, motions, and contracts

  • Conduct fact-finding, data collection, and analysis to prepare statements and arguments

Additionally, you’ll assist attorneys with depositions, interviews, discovery, and investigations, and manage, organize, and archive documents with software tools and technology. Mastering these key skills and responsibilities can make you an indispensable resource for both law firms and government agencies.

Paralegal Associations and Networking Opportunities

Joining a paralegal association in Minnesota provides numerous benefits, such as resources, mentoring, and professional development opportunities. The Minnesota Paralegal Association (MPA) is an affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) that offers resources to paralegals, such as a mentoring program and career center.

Another valuable resource for paralegals in the state is the Red River Valley Paralegal Association (RRVPA), an affiliate of NALA that serves paralegals in the eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota regions. Participating in these associations and networking opportunities can help you connect with other professionals in the legal field, gain insights into the latest industry trends, and enhance your skills, thereby paving the way for a successful paralegal career.

Top Paralegal Programs and Schools in Minnesota

Minnesota is home to several top paralegal programs and schools that offer ABA-approved degrees and certificates. Some of the highly-regarded institutions include:

  • Lake Superior College

  • Minnesota State University Moorhead

  • North Hennepin Community College

  • Hamline University

  • Winona State University

  • Minnesota State Community and Technical College

These institutions provide quality education and training for aspiring paralegals, with a focus on essential legal courses and internship opportunities. For example, Minnesota State University Moorhead offers a Bachelor of Science in Paralegal program that includes major core courses such as Principles of Accounting, Introduction to Paralegal, and Civil Procedure I. Internship opportunities are also available at some schools, allowing students to gain hands-on experience and practical skills in a real-world legal setting.

Attending a top paralegal program in Minnesota equips Minnesota paralegals well for excelling in their paralegal career.

As a paralegal in Minnesota, you have the opportunity to specialize in a variety of legal fields, such as:

  • Corporate Law

  • Criminal Law

  • Family Law

  • Intellectual Property Law

  • Real Estate Law

  • Immigration Law

  • Environmental Law

  • Personal Injury Law

  • Employment Law

  • Bankruptcy Law

  • Estate Planning and Probate Law

  • Health Law

Specializing in a particular area of law allows you to hone your skills and expertise, making you a valuable asset to law firms, law offices, and government agencies alike.

In addition to traditional paralegal roles, there are also related careers to consider, such as legal secretaries and claims adjusters. These positions often require similar skill sets and offer the opportunity to work in the legal field without pursuing a full paralegal career. Exploring various legal specialties and career paths can help you find the perfect fit for your interests and goals in the dynamic world of law.

Resources for Paralegals in Minnesota

Numerous resources are available for paralegals in Minnesota, including:

  • Online paralegal programs

  • Job projections

  • Salary estimates

  • Additional resources from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Projections Central

Utilizing these resources can give you valuable insights into the paralegal profession and help you make informed decisions about your education and career path.

Professional associations such as the Minnesota Paralegal Association (MPA) and the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) also offer resources to promote education and competence in the legal profession. Taking advantage of these resources can keep you updated on the latest legal trends and developments, ensuring your valuable contribution to the legal field in Minnesota.


In conclusion, becoming a paralegal in Minnesota is a rewarding and dynamic career choice. By obtaining a paralegal degree or certificate from an ABA-approved program, gaining practical experience through internships and on-the-job training, and considering certification options, you’ll be well-prepared to enter the exciting world of paralegals in Minnesota.

As the demand for skilled paralegals continues to grow, now is the perfect time to pursue a paralegal career in the state. With the right education, experience, and dedication, you can excel in this fulfilling and lucrative profession. So, why wait? Start your journey towards becoming a successful paralegal in Minnesota today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you need to be a paralegal in Minnesota?

To become a paralegal in Minnesota, a person must be 18 years or older and hold at least an associate’s degree in paralegal studies, though having a bachelor’s degree is recommended. Certifications are voluntary and not required by the state, but obtaining one may increase employment prospects. Experience can also be gained through internships.

Do you need a degree to be a paralegal in Minnesota?

Yes, you need an associate’s degree or its equivalent from an ABA approved or institutionally accredited educational institution and 4 years of paralegal experience to become a Certified Paralegal in Minnesota.

Can you be a paralegal with a felony in Minnesota?

Yes, it is possible to become a paralegal in Minnesota with a felony, though it can be more difficult.

How can I gain experience as a paralegal in Minnesota?

Gain experience as a paralegal in Minnesota by exploring internships and on-the-job training opportunities.

Are there any certification options for paralegals in Minnesota?

Yes, paralegals in Minnesota have multiple certification options available, such as the Minnesota Paralegal Association’s state-level certification and national certification offered by professional paralegal associations.

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