What to expect from a Paralegal career

Becoming a lawyer takes a long time and costs a lot of money. Paralegal programs at Ontario colleges are a good alternative for those who want to work in the legal field quickly, and are comfortable with practicing law in specific levels of court and tribunals.

If you’re interested in a paralegal career where you can provide legal advice and other legal services, here’s what you need to know.

Paralegal Courses

Ontario college paralegal programs prepare students to take the Paralegal Licensing Exam to receive accreditation by the Law Society of Upper Canada. In these programs, students learn about court and tribunal practices and procedures and develop strong research, resolution and negotiation skills.

Courses focus on a variety of types of law, including (but not limited to):

  • Criminal
  • Business
  • Immigration
  • Employment
  • Traffic

Because of the nature of paralegal work, ethics and professional responsibilities are emphasized. Programs also have mandatory field placements where students will gain valuable work experience and get a feel for what their careers will be like.

Paralegal Program Requirements

Ontario college paralegal programs typically require an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent, which includes a grade 12 English credit. Programs offered at the degree level will require six grade 12 U or M level credits on top of the OSSD.

Paralegal Jobs and Salaries

Graduates of paralegal programs will find opportunities in law firms, real estate agencies, administrative tribunals, legal departments, their own paralegal practices and more. By becoming a licensed paralegal, graduates can legally represent clients in specific levels of court, including traffic and small claims court and administrative tribunals (such as the Ontario Human Rights Commission).

Common job titles include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Paralegal
  • Legal Assistant / Researcher
  • Court Monitor
  • Small Claims Court Agent
  • Provincial Offense Prosecutor

The average starting salary for paralegal program graduates is between $30,000 and $35,000 per year. Salaries are typically higher for government positions, starting as high as $45,000. Those who decide to open their own practice may also make more once they are established and have a steady client base.

Ontario Colleges Offering Paralegal Programs

Use the left-column navigation to refine your search by College, Program Availability, Program Start Date and more, or see the table below for a complete list of paralegal programs at Ontario colleges.

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