How to Become a Real Estate Paralegal

Paralegals work in a wide variety of specialties, including real estate.

A real estate paralegal assists a real estate attorney.

Real Estate Paralegal

If you are interested in the legal field and real estate, this may be the right career path for you.

Being a real estate paralegal offers you with many job opportunities.

What Is a Real Estate Paralegal?

A real estate paralegal typically assists an attorney with real estate transactions and related matters.

You may work with real estate clients as well as attorneys.

Real estate paralegals are well-versed in real estate law.

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Your duties may include researching, drafting, and filing documents including leases, purchase agreements, mortgage contracts, and property descriptions.

Duties may also include:

  • Performing real estate transactions
  • Coordinating appraisals
  • Maintain office files and records
  • Answer phones greet clients, and schedule appointments
  • Prepare closing documents
  • Explain real estate codes and other information to clients

Steps to Become a Real Estate Paralegal

Since real estate paralegals work as paralegals and require knowledge of real estate, you’ll need to follow some steps for each field.

Paralegal Education

The process typically starts with paralegal education.

You can choose between certificate, associate, and bachelor’s degree programs.

It’s typically best to choose a program that is approved by the ABA, or American Bar Association.

Most paralegal programs take between 1 to 2 years to complete.

Paralegal Certification

Once you have a paralegal education, you are eligible for certification as a paralegal.

Certification isn’t required, but it will make you more attractive to potential employers.

It can be difficult to find a job as a real estate paralegal without becoming a certified paralegal.

Learn Real Estate Requirements

Real estate requirements will vary based on the state you plan to practice in.

Generally, you’ll need real estate training, a licensing exam, and apply for a license.

Real Estate Training

You’ll want to get real estate training.

Courses typically range from 20 to 200 hours, depending on your state’s requirements.

You’ll learn property rights, zoning and environmental laws, and property taxes.

Pass the State Real Estate Exam

Once you’ve completed a training program, you’ll need to take the real estate exam for your state.

The exam will have two parts.

One portion focuses on national real estate and one portion is state-specific.

If you pass the exam, you can apply for your real estate license.

Apply for Your Real Estate License

Once you’ve passed the real estate exam, you can apply for your real estate license.

You will likely need to provide proof you’ve completed training and passed the exam.

You may also need to pass a background check, depending on the state.

Licensing Requirements to Become a Real Estate Paralegal

To become a real estate paralegal, you’ll want to become certified as a paralegal and get a real estate license.

National Association of Legal Assistants

The National Association of Legal Assistants, or NALA, is the most common paralegal licensing organization.

To become a Certified Paralegal, or CP, from NALA, you’ll need to meet some requirements.

If you’ve completed an approved paralegal program, you are qualified for certification.

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

If you have a high school diploma, you’ll need 5 years of experience as a paralegal, and 20 hours of continuing education for paralegals.

You’ll take two exams.

The knowledge exam takes 3 hours, and the skills test takes 2 hours.

National Federation of Paralegal Associations

The National Federation of Paralegal Associations, or NFPA, also offers paralegal certification.

Beginning paralegals will apply for the Paralegal CORE Competency Exam, or PCCE.

To take the exam, you’ll need to meet the educational and experience requirements.

If you have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies, you are qualified.

If you have a degree in another field and a paralegal certificate, this also qualifies you.

If you only have a paralegal certificate, you’ll need one year of experience.

If you only have a high school diploma, you need 5 years of experience as a paralegal and 12 hours of continuing education credits.

Online Real Estate Paralegal Training Programs

To become a real estate paralegal, you’ll need to complete one or more training programs.

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National Paralegal College

National Paralegal College offers paralegal certificate, associate’s, and bachelor’s degree programs.

A certificate can be earned in just 7 months and requires 24 credits.

An associate’s degree typically takes 17 months and requires 60 credits.

A bachelor’s degree can be earned in 3 years, and you’ll need 120 credits.

The program focuses on general paralegal education.

However, a real estate law course is included in the program.

Stratford Career Institute

Stratford Career Institute offers a Paralegal Certificate course.

The course costs $749 and is self-paced.

The course is broken up into sections, including Becoming a Paralegal, Civil Litigation and the Paralegal, Criminal Procedure, and Legal Writing.

This will give you a basic understanding of the legal system and the duties of a paralegal.

The program may not qualify you for certification, without more education or experience.

You can also take the Real Estate Appraiser course.

This course costs $589.

It will prepare you for the real estate field.

Depending on your state’s requirements, you may qualify for a license after completing this program.

National University

National University offers an Associate of Science degree in Paralegal Studies.

The university is designed for working adults.

They use an innovative class format.

You’ll take one course every 4 weeks.

This allows you to focus on one course and complete it before moving on.

You’ll take a total of 12 courses for the Paralegal major, as well as general education courses.

You can finish the program in 2 years or less.


Cornell offers 20 paralegal programs that focus on different areas.

You’ll want to start with the Legal Essentials Certificate.

Then, you may choose to take the Legal Research Certificate, and Legal Writing and Communication Certificate.

Cornell University offers online real estate programs that provide you with a certificate when you complete the program.

You’ll want to take the Real Estate Law program.

The program takes about 2 weeks, and you’ll have 3 months to complete the program.

You can expect to spend 6-8 hours per week studying.

Courses in the program include Real Estate Interests and Entities, Deeds and Title Issues, and Loans, Liens, and Foreclosures.

You may want to take other real estate programs as well.

Cornell offers Real Estate Development, Real Estate Investing and Finance, Real Estate Investment Modeling, and Real Estate Property Management.


Kaplan offers real estate programs tailored to each state’s requirements.

They offer several ways to study.

You can choose from live online courses, which require you to meet deadlines, or online video courses, so you can learn at your own pace.

If you prefer offline learning, you can choose a textbook-based course, which is also self-paced.

Lastly, you can choose a mix of these delivery types to best fit your schedule and lifestyle.


The average yearly salary for a real estate paralegal is $166,125.

Most salaries will fall between $145,602 to $184,139.

How much you earn will depend on your education, experience, certification, and where you choose to work.

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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