Best Paralegal Studies Degrees

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We are drawn to legal battles for some reason, and those involve a number of different roles – lawyers, judges, criminals, witnesses . . . and whether you realize it or not, the paralegal.

This is a profession that is becoming increasingly necessary in today’s legal environment and that requires training in the nation’s best programs in paralegal studies.

In previous decades, paralegals received on-the-job training. As the profession grew, the formalized education took the form of Associate of Science programs, which offered training primarily in areas of specific interest to paralegal practice. But the bar has officially been raised!

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Top 10 Best Paralegal Studies Degrees

Rank School Location
1 Keiser University Fort Lauderdale, FL
2 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
3 New York City College of Technology Brooklyn, NY
4 East Central University Ada, OK
5 Auburn University at Montgomery Montgomery, AL
6 Utah Valley University Orem, UT
7 Florida National University Hialeah, FL
8 Hodges University Naples, FL
9 Macomb Community College Warren, MI
10 St. Petersburg College Clearwater, FL

What kind of Paralegal Studies Degree should you get?

Today, the standard for training is a four-year bachelor’s degree from a community college or a traditional university. There, students are exposed not only to legal training in particular but also to courses in, say, communication, business, and economics—all helpful topics for a legal professional.

An additional marker that is becoming increasingly important is American Bar Association accreditation. Not all schools feature this, but the ones that do are proud of it . . . and rightly so! Be sure to keep this designation in mind as you research your options.

Some programs are also offering their programs online. For more information, see our ranking of the Best Online Paralegal Studies Degrees.

How much money do people make with a Paralegal Studies Degree?

Starting salaries for paralegals are deceptively low at between $27,000 and $32,000 per year according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. This will vary according to what skills you bring to the table and also who you’re working for.

However, the U.S. Department of Labor also predicts that the paralegal profession will be one of the fastest-growing occupations in the near future . . . so there is reason to expect that wages will grow as well!

What can you do with a Paralegal Studies Degree?

One of the reasons for the growth in the paralegal profession is that paralegals are increasingly being asked to perform legal duties traditionally performed by licensed attorneys. As the amount of legal work increases, attorneys are increasingly reliant on paralegals for much of what they do.

Examples of tasks a paralegal might perform include but are hardly limited to the following:

  • Fact evaluation and investigation
  • Contract preparation
  • Client interviews
  • Case management
  • Legal research
  • Exhibit preparation
  • Real estate transactions

What are the requirements for a Paralegal Studies Degree?

In addition to whatever requirements a particular bachelor’s program in paralegal studies might require, paralegals will need to seek certification through one of three nationally recognized paralegal professional organizations:

  • The National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA)
  • The National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)
  • The Association for Legal Professionals (NALS)

Each organization has its own certifications as well as its own requirements. Be sure to do your homework on what organizations work best in your home state or the state you plan to work in!

What are the best Paralegal Studies Degrees?

We’ve compiled a list of the top 25 bachelor’s degrees in paralegal studies with you and your needs in mind. Here’s how we did it. First, we located the best programs in the country by taking an objective look at the best schools in the country as measured by reputation and return on investment.

Then we looked at the bottom line—how much does it cost? We combined these factors to reach our College Choice Score, which determined where each school fits into the big scheme of things.

Our data for this ranking was drawn from a variety of public sources, such as U.S. News & World Report, the National Center for Education Statistics, PayScale.com, and the U.S. Census. The end result is a list of schools that not only represent the best education you can get and a good return on investment but also one that will fit your budget.

Case dismissed!

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Keiser University
    Location

    Fort Lauderdale, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Keiser University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies designed for students seeking immediate entry into law and related fields directly following graduation and also for those who are interested in pursuing a law degree in particular. Students will be prepared for careers in the legal environment as well as the legal dimensions of other professional fields, such as business, government, and criminal justice.

    Features

    Students in Keiser’s program will benefit from a comprehensive array of courses in the field, including but not limited to the classes such as the following:

    • Alternative Dispute Resolution
    • Evidence
    • Advanced Civil Litigation
    • Advanced Torts
    • Law Office Technology
    • Immigration Law
    • Constitutional Law

    Notables

    Keiser has a number of stated objectives for graduates of its program including developing students’ written and verbal competencies; promoting critical thinking through analytical and technical skills; and providing students with a sound understanding of the law in the United States. The program is available at a number of different campuses in Florida, such as Clearwater, Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, New Port Richey, Orlando, San Marcos, Carazo, Sarasota, Tallahassee, Tampa, West Palm Beach, and more.

  2. Liberty University
    Location

    Lynchburg, VA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Liberty University, which operates a sizable online education program up to the doctoral level, offers a Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies both on campus in Virginia and also entirely online. It was developed to meet the rapidly growing need for paralegal professionals by providing training in strong professional skills, a firm foundation in ethics, and advanced skills in government, politics, and law.

    Features

    Liberty’s program focuses on breadth as well as depth. Students will benefit from courses such as the following:

    • Constitutional Government and Free Enterprise
    • Foundations of Law
    • Criminal Practice and Procedures
    • Family Law

    Notables

    Liberty’s B.S. in Paralegal Studies requires 120 total hours to complete. Up to ninety hours can be transferred in, and thirty hours must be taken through Liberty. Graduates of Liberty’s program pursue careers as paralegals, legal assistants, claims adjusters, and law clerks. Liberty’s courses are taught by practicing lawyers, which ensures that each course prepares students in practical skills they will use on the job.

  3. New York City College of Technology
    Location

    Brooklyn, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    New York City College of Technology’s Bachelor’s in Paralegal Studies was the first of its kind to be offered by any public college in the state of New York. It was developed to meet a growing need for legal professionals to be well versed in increasingly complex legal matters. A bachelor’s degree became a standard expectation, and NYCCT’s program was developed in response. It is also an excellent degree for those intending to apply to law school upon graduation.

    Features

    Upper-level courses in the program introduce students to more specialized areas of law and communication and computer skills. Examples of courses students can expect include:

    • Law Office Management
    • Bankruptcy
    • Immigration
    • Administrative Law
    • Trademark, Copyright, Patent
    • Forensic Science and the Legal Process

    Notables

    Graduates with a baccalaureate degree are working in higher-level jobs in government and prestigious law firms or go on to enroll in postgraduate studies such as law school, graduate school or social work. Some of the stated goals of the program include applying time management skills, prioritizing tasks/assignments, and managing information utilizing computer databases/software programs; accessing and evaluating legal and non-legal data available on the Internet for reliability and validity of information; and recognizing and appreciating special and complex issues involved in advocacy and litigation.

  4. East Central University
    Location

    Ada, OK

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    East Central University’s Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies, which is designated as “approved” by the American Bar Association, provides students with the necessary academic skills for entry level employment as paralegals with law firms, private enterprises, and governmental agencies.

    They will be prepared for the highly specialized tasks required of practicing attorneys and permitted by law. Graduates consistently demonstrate superior intellectual abilities and professional competence.

    Features

    Coursework in East Central’s program is highly practical in nature and emphasizes training in the hard skills graduates will need in real-world situations. Some courses include:

    • The Legal Environment of Business
    • Legal Research and Writing I
    • Legal Research and Writing II
    • Legal Systems
    • Civil Procedure and Litigation
    • Legal Ethics, Professional Responsibility, and Advanced Litigation

    Notables

    ECU’s program will be beneficial for those who want to work specifically as paralegals or in a law-related field, and it is also an excellent foundation for law school. The program provides students with a liberal arts degree emphasizing analytical and communication skills applicable in any law-related field and also exposes students to a broad spectrum of the law, including its theoretical, procedural, and practical aspects. Legal Studies graduates work in legal related areas of corporations, banks, governmental agencies and institutions.

  5. Auburn University at Montgomery
    Location

    Montgomery, AL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Auburn University at Montgomery offers a Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies through its Department of Criminal Justice designed for students seeking to develop knowledge and skills pertaining to careers in law and legal fields. The Auburn Montgomery Criminal Justice Department has offered an American Bar Association-approved paralegal education program for nearly twenty years.

    Features

    Auburn University at Montgomery’s program features several clear objectives:

    • To prepare students for a variety of careers and enhance their prospects for employment and promotion by providing them with functional law-related knowledge
    • To provide students with theoretical and practical education to fulfill the duties of a paralegal in both the private and public sectors
    • To prepare students for the Certified Legal Assistant or Registered Paralegal examination.
    • To ensure that students understand the standards of legal ethics and restrictions on the practice of law by paralegals and other lay persons

    Notables

    The program is particularly well suited for those preparing for careers as paralegals or legal assistants and related careers, such as court administrators. It also is excellent preparation for admission to law school, and it will be of particular interest to students who are considering careers in criminal justice. The program boasts approval by the American Bar Association.

  6. Utah Valley University
    Location

    Orem, UT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Utah Valley University offers several options for students interested in legal studies, including the Certificate of Proficiency, AAS, AS, and Bachelor of Science degrees in Legal Studies. UVU’s program focuses heavily on the applied and technical aspects of the legal profession and provides dynamic and timely offerings in many topics in law and clinical law practice, focusing on career-ready skills. All of UVU’s programs are approved by the American Bar Association.

    Features

    UVU offers a comprehensive battery of coursework, including but not limited to the following:

    • Civil Litigation
    • Legal Research and Writing
    • Technology in Law Practice
    • Criminal Law and Procedure
    • Family Law
    • Business Law

    Notables

    The program is offered through UVU’s Department of Organizational Leadership, which is part of the Woodbury School of Business. Graduates of the program have pursued careers as law clerks, paralegals, legal assistants, litigation specialists, court clerks, and more. In addition to traditional law firms, business and government entities hire UVU grads as well, such as banks, insurance companies, title companies, mortgage companies, law libraries, courts, legal service/legal aid offices, legal clinics, and law departments of special interest groups or associations.

  7. Florida National University
    Location

    Hialeah, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Florida National University’s Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies seeks to expand students’ critical and analytical thinking skills, advance their ability to communicate complex data, both verbally and written, and prepare them for higher-lever positions within the legal profession or gain admission to law school. The program also offers an associate’s degree for those whose career path does not require a full bachelor’s degree in the field or who already possess one in another field.

    Features

    Students at Florida National will benefit from exposure to coursework in both criminal and civil training through classes such as the following:

    • Criminal Law
    • Legal Research & Writing
    • Civil Litigation
    • Criminal Procedure
    • Tort Law
    • Constitutional Law
    • Business Communication
    • The Law of Contracts
    • Property Law

    Notables

    In addition to courses that survey the American legal system, students will also receive training in communication, humanities, behavioral science, mathematics, natural science, and computers. Graduates of the program have pursued careers in a wide variety of professions in the field. FNU’s program is also excellent preparation for entry into a law program.

  8. Hodges University
    Location

    Naples, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Hodges University’s Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies offers excellent preparation for students who are interested in either pursuing law school upon graduation or entering the workforce in business, legal, or management settings. Students will be well prepared to assist attorneys and other legal professionals with legal research, evidence collection, communications, document and litigation preparation, and the general duties of the daily practice of law.

    Features

    Hodges’s coursework offers training in a wide variety of both civil and criminal jurisprudence as well as relevant areas of technology. Classes include

    • Civil Procedure
    • Torts
    • Contracts
    • Property
    • Criminal Law & Procedure
    • Legal Reasoning
    • Data Privacy & Social Media

    Notables

    Technological considerations are of increasing concern for legal professionals, and Hodges’s program is proactively incorporating training in this area into its curriculum. It offers training, for instance, in the rapidly evolving subjects of eDiscovery and eLitigation. The management of email, privacy issues, and electronically stored information are at the cutting edge of current legal practice. The program will prepare you to fill the urgent need for legal professionals with expertise in this area by learning practical techniques for managing information security on behalf of clients and law offices.

  9. Macomb Community College
    Location

    Warren, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Macomb Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Legal Studies. While it is not technically a Bachelor’s degree in the field, it still offers exceptional preparation for those interested a legal profession, and credits from Macomb are transferable. It is particularly well suited for students who are interested in a career as a legal assistant. Students will receive training in the ethical and professional responsibilities involved in being a member of the legal services delivery team, as well as the purpose and function of discovery and legal pleadings.

    Features

    Macomb’s program offers a wide range of training in both general and specialized topics, including but not limited to the following:

    • Legal Research & Writing
    • Mechanics of Real Estate Law
    • Principles of Family Law
    • Administration of Estates
    • Proceedings Under the Federal Bankruptcy Code & Debt Collection
    • Criminal Law & Procedures
    • Business Associations
    • Computerized Litigation Support Concepts

    Notables

    Students in Macomb’s program will learn how to conduct legal research, prepare legal forms and documents, and conduct and summarize factual investigations. They will be exposed to family law, criminal law, real estate, bankruptcy, court procedures, and corporations, and the program is approved by the American Bar Association. Classes are available either on campus or online, and the program also offers free tutoring. Students in Macomb’s program have transferred to bachelor’s programs at colleges and universities across the state of Michigan.

  10. St. Petersburg College
    Location

    Clearwater, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    St. Petersburg College offers a flexible Bachelor’s degree in Paralegal Studies that will appeal to the working legal professional. Not only is St. Petersburg’s program approved by the American Bar Association, but it also offers rotating and evening classes and admits students three times per year (January, May, and August). SPC’s classes are all taught by local practicing attorneys and judges, and it boasts the only public bachelor’s program in the state of Florida that is approved by the American Bar Association.

    Features

    St. Petersburg places a premium on practical education that will prepare students for real-life situations. Examples of classes in the program include

    • United States Constitutional Law
    • Legal Writing Seminar
    • Logic and the Law
    • Comparative Legal Systems
    • Seminar in Professional Responsibility
    • Computers and the Law Office

    Notables

    Assignments in the program will replicate real life situations to strengthen critical thinking, oral and written communication skills, and practical, ethical understanding. Students will be prepared to take the Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) examination offered through the National Association of Legal Assistants upon graduation. They will also be well equipped to thrive in the daily operations of law offices, corporations, and governmental offices.

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