South Dakota is a small state, but it has 3 ground paralegal schools – which is awesome if you ask me. You rarely find such a small state with more than 1-2 schools. Here they are:
At Globe University, we prepare students for exciting careers in high-value fields. Imagine getting paid for what you love doing. It all starts with career-based training at Globe University. We offer master’s, bachelor’s and associate degrees, diplomas and certificates. Our graduates are prepared for careers in business, health science, technology, legal science and creative media.
National American University
National American University is about personal development and community. When you choose to attend NAU, you don’t just join a group of diverse students and faculty; you join a group of people from all walks of life sharing a unique experience.
Our staff is devoted to helping you balance your education with your personal and professional obligations – it’s our commitment. Through flexible class scheduling, dedicated career advisors and quality programs, NAU strives to provide a caring and supportive learning environment to ensure your success as a student.
Over 60% of all paralegals working in South Dakota are divided between the Sioux Falls and Eastern South Dakota Areas. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics (2011) paralegals in these areas have an average yearly income of about $36, 000. Central and Western South Dakota paralegals earn a mean $47,190 and $40,680 respectively.
If you aspire to join the 530 paralegals already employed in the state, you can opt to start as a clerk at a law firm and work your way up, or you can attend a school that offers paralegal training. Getting training first is advantageous because you have greater employment prospects, and your entry level salary is likely to be higher than that of a non-trained paralegal. It will also be easier to earn certification in you have training as a paralegal.
You must take note that in the state of South Dakota, you may not serve as a paralegal if you have been previously convicted of a felony, unless you are expressly permitted to do so by the high court.
Schools Offering ABA-Approved Paralegal Training Programs in South Dakota
The American Bar Association constantly reviews and approves programs geared towards the legal profession such as paralegal studies. South Dakota has 4 colleges and universities with paralegal programs meeting ABA approval: National American University -Sioux Falls, National American University –Rapid City and Western Dakota Institute .
The National American University in Rapid City offers an Associate degree and a baccalaureate certificate. The Sioux Falls campus of the university offers a Bachelor of Science and Associate in Applied Science degree. All paralegal training programs stipulate taking an internship before graduation.
National American University offers financial support to students through Federal grants and loans, company tuition assistance and financial aid for students who are enrolled in the military.
Western Dakota Technical Institute in Rapid City offers an Associate in Applied Science in Paralegal Studies degree –an 18 month, 72 hour credit program with 19 credit hours of general education, and 53 credit hours of legal course content. Some of the courses offered under the program are: critical thinking, introduction to paralegalism, real property, criminal law, contracts, torts, legal research and writing, American legal system and constitutional law, law of business organizations and family law.
Colorado Technical University and Globe University both offer Bachelor’s and Associate’s degrees in paralegal training although they do not have ABA approval. The institutions have regional and national accreditation.
To earn your CLA (Certified Legal Assistant) certification, you can register for the CLA exam after you graduate at the ACT Testing Center in South Dakota – the South East Technical Institute in Sioux Falls. The CLA exam is given three times a year in March, July and December. The registration deadline is the first of the month two months before the examination month. If you are a member of the NALAA affiliate association in South Dakota - South Dakota Paralegals Association you pay $250 for examination registration fees unlike non-NALA members who pay $275.