How to Become a Nurse Paralegal

Nurse paralegals work within the legal system and at hospitals and doctor’s offices.

Nurse Paralegal

If you are a nurse with an interest in the legal field, you should consider becoming a nurse paralegal.

What Is a Nurse Paralegal?

A nurse paralegal is typically a registered nurse, or RN, who is also a certified paralegal.

Nurse paralegals work in law offices and provide expert testimony during court cases.

They may also work for doctor’s offices, hospitals, and insurance companies.

Their understanding of both the medical and legal fields gives them many job opportunities.

The duties of a nurse paralegal can include:

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  • Researching legal issues
  • Studying medical records
  • Verifying the accuracy of facts and information
  • Interviewing clients and witnesses, particularly about health concerns
  • Creating, organizing, and filing legal documents
  • Assisting with trial preparation
  • Reviewing and summarizing depositions and trial transcripts
  • Testifying in court proceedings
  • Ensuring an organization is legally compliant

Steps to Become a Nurse Paralegal

Becoming a nurse paralegal requires more steps than becoming a nurse or a paralegal.

However, it also offers more opportunities as well.

Step 1. Become an RN

Most people begin their journey by becoming an RN.

First, you’ll need to complete a nursing education program.

You can choose a diploma, associate, or bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Next, you’ll take the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX-RN.

Once you’ve passed your exam, you’ll need to be licensed in the state where you intend to practice.

Requirements for Licensure can vary by state.

Step 2. Complete a Paralegal Education Program

Next, you’ll want to complete a paralegal education program.

You can choose a certificate or associate degree in paralegal studies.

This will give you the legal skills you need to work as a nurse paralegal.

You’ll want to choose a program that is approved by the ABA and meets certification requirements.

Step 3. Become a Certified Paralegal

Paralegals aren’t required to be certified, but most employers prefer or require certification.

As a nurse paralegal, you are held to a higher standard, so certification is essential.

You may choose The National Association of Legal Assistants, NALA, or the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, NFPA.

To become certified, you’ll need to pass an exam and pay a certification fee.

Licensing Requirements to Become a Nurse Paralegal

To become a nurse paralegal, you’ll need to be licensed as an RN and a paralegal.

RN Licensing

To become an RN, you’ll need to complete an approved RN program.

Then, you’ll take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

You’ll apply for Licensure in the state where you intend to practice.

Then, you can register to take the exam.

The exam will range from 75 to 265 questions. 15 of these are practice items and are not scored.

You’ll have 6 hours to complete the exam, including the pretest and breaks.

Certified Paralegal

Once you have completed a paralegal training program, you are eligible for paralegal certification.

To qualify for NALA certification, you’ll need to complete an approved training program.

If you have a degree in another field, you’ll need one year of experience as a paralegal and 15 hours of paralegal courses.

You’ll submit an application and the required fees.

Then, you can schedule your exams.

The exam has two components, a knowledge exam and a skills test.

You must pass both to become a Certified Paralegal, CP.

The National Federation of Paralegal Associations also offers certification.

New paralegals will take the Paralegal Core Competency Exam, or PCCE.

You’ll need an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies to qualify.

You’ll complete an application, and pay a fee of $300-$350.

If you pass the exam, you’ll become a Certified Registered Paralegal, CRP.

Legal Nurse Consultant Certification

The Legal Nurse Consultant Certification, or LNCC, is an optional certification designed especially for nurse paralegals.

To qualify for this certification, you must currently be registered as a nurse and have a valid license.

You’ll also need 5 years of experience as an RN, and 2,000 hours of legal nurse consulting experience.

The exam consists of 200 questions and takes about 4 hours to complete.

Online Training Programs

To become a nurse paralegal, you’ll need training as a nurse and a paralegal.

American National University

American National University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.

This program requires 180 credit hours and can be completed in 3 years of full-time study.

You’ll participate in lectures, study, and virtual labs to learn how to become a nurse.

The university has also partnered with more than 600 locations across the nation to offer clinical rotations.

You’ll need at least 630 clinical hours to graduate.

Once you’ve earned your BSN, you can take the Paralegal Certificate course.

This will allow you to learn how to be a paralegal and allow you to become a certified paralegal.

The program requires 28 credit hours, and it can be completed in just 6 months.

Rasmussen University

Rasmussen University offers an associate’s degree in Nursing.

You can complete the program in just 21 months.

You’ll earn 102 credits, and participate in online learning and virtual labs.

Rasmussen partners with 16 campuses in five states, and offers online programs as well.

Courses include Nursing Care of the Older Adult, Dimensions of Nursing Practice, and Mental and Behavioral Health Nursing.

Once you’ve earned an associate’s degree in Nursing, you can earn a Paralegal certificate.

This program takes 8 months to complete.

You’ll have 9 courses for a total of 33 credit hours.

Courses in this program include Introduction to Legal Research, Introduction to Law and the Legal System, and a Paralegal Capstone which involves online courses, research, and writing.

Florida Atlantic University

Florida Atlantic University offers a Legal Nurse Consultant Certificate.

If you are currently an RN, this can give you an overview of how to be a nurse paralegal.

The program focuses on legal nurse consulting.

However, the program isn’t in-depth like a paralegal program.

You will earn 33 continuing education credits in nursing that can be used to renew your license.

Roger Williams University

Roger Williams University offers a Nurse Paralegal Certificate.

To qualify for the program, you’ll need a degree or 60 hours of college credit, and at least 4,000 hours of nursing experience.

The course is ABA approved, and teaches you everything you need to know to become a nurse paralegal.

Courses in the program include Legal Research and Writing 1 and 2, Torts, Litigation 1 and 2, and Healthcare Administration.

Center for Legal Studies

The Center for Legal Studies has several options for RNs.

You can take the Paralegal course to get a grasp of paralegal duties.

Then, you can choose to take the advanced paralegal course, which allows you to choose 6 specialty courses.

These courses must be completed within one year.

You can also take the Legal Nurse Consulting course.

While you can take this course without prior paralegal training, it’s best to complete the Paralegal course first if you have no paralegal knowledge.

The Legal Nurse Consulting course focuses on legal issues related to nursing, while the paralegal course gives a broad overview of paralegal topics.


The average salary for a nurse paralegal is $61,686.

Salaries typically range between $54,722 to $69,789.

How much you earn will depend on your location, the place you choose to work, experience, and education.

Salary Information by State

State Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Arkansas2,160- NA -- NA -- NA -- NA -
District of Columbia5,580$91,880$44.17$124,650$56,780
New Hampshire1,310$56,530$27.18$81,100$37,890
New Jersey9,580$65,570$31.52$96,480$38,650
New Mexico1,850$51,420$24.72$70,010$37,660
New York30,020$69,860$33.59$103,890$45,720
North Carolina12,290$56,120$26.98$81,310$35,920
North Dakota580$54,090$26.00$75,500$39,360
Rhode Island1,320- NA -- NA -- NA -- NA -
South Carolina6,150$52,060$25.03$65,960$37,300
South Dakota500$55,290$26.58$68,120$44,300
West Virginia1,990$50,380$24.22$77,230$28,760
Puerto Rico710$45,220$21.74$65,670$30,560
Virgin Islands70$54,500$26.20$70,620$43,880

Annual Average Salary: Top 10 States

The top earning state in the field is District of Columbia, where the average salary is $91,880.

These are the top 10 earning states in the field:

  • District of Columbia - $91,880
  • California - $76,080
  • Washington - $72,590
  • Massachusetts - $71,670
  • New York - $69,860
  • Colorado - $68,920
  • Delaware - $68,340
  • Connecticut - $67,310
  • Oregon - $66,250
  • New Jersey - $65,570
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Paralegals and Legal Assistants, OCC Code 23-2011, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Chelsea Wilson

About Chelsea Wilson

Chelsea Wilson is the Community Relations Manager for Washington University School of Law’s distance learning LLM degree program, which provides foreign trained attorneys with the opportunity to earn a Master of Laws degree from a top-tier American university from anywhere in the world.

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