Earning an online degree in Paralegal Studies is one of the best ways to start a career in law. But earning it in the most affordable way possible is even better! You can be sure that you’re setting yourself up for the best possible outcome – a fantastic career and less educational debt. This degree will be a launching point for the rest of your career!
What kind of Online Paralegal Studies degree should you get?
We’ve already boiled down the two most important features of this degree: affordability and accessibility. If you’re setting out on the road to becoming a lawyer, you’re looking at a number of years of education. That all adds up! So why not start off with an affordable degree to lay the foundation? The price tag on these programs range from around $12,000 to $24,000, which is a steal when you compare it to other programs.
Another huge distinction among these schools is that they are all delivered online. Distance learning is increasingly the direction of higher education. For good reason, too. You’ll be able to keep your full-time or part-time job as you complete the program. This allows you get ahead instead of putting your life on hold while you earn your education.
If you’re not quite sure Paralegal Studies is right for you, take a look at some other options with our list of the Most Affordable Online Graduate Colleges.
How much money do people make with an Online Paralegal Studies degree?
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, most people in this field earn anything between $46k to $66k per year. This figure, of course, varies depending on what type of job you’re in. For example, paralegals in the state government tend to earn salaries on the lower end of the spectrum while paralegals working in the federal judicial arena are in the top earning percentages.
Another perk of this career is that jobs related to legal studies continue to be in high demand. In fact, employment rates are projected to increase by 15 percent by 2026. This means by the time you have your degree in hand, you’ll be able to waltz into the job of your dreams.
What can you do with an Online Paralegal Studies degree?
Earning an online degree in Paralegal Studies gets your foot in the door to the exciting field of law. The most common job you’ll be qualified for is a paralegal. If this is your goal, find an attorney who practices a specific type of law that fits your passions. You’ll become the go-to person for gathering legal documents, drafting arguments, initiating affidavits, and more.
Keep in mind that your career doesn’t necessarily need to stop here. This degree will set you up perfectly to continue your education. Working as a paralegal for a few years is a fantastic way to bulk up your resume – and your skill set – in preparation for law school. See this time as a way to solidify your foundation in the American judicial system.
What are the requirements for an Online Paralegal Studies degree?
Since all of these degrees are offered at the undergraduate level, you don’t need to worry too much about having an extensive background in law. Just keep your grades up in high school and express your specific interest in legal studies when you apply. The rest should be a piece of cake!
Each program on this list follows a similar curriculum. In total, you’ll complete around 120 credit-hours. Most programs are completely online, though some include a hybrid format of online and on-campus. Additionally, a few schools include a paralegal internship or capstone project as a final requirement of the program.
What are the Most Affordable Online Paralegal Studies degrees?
Here at College Choice, the data team has developed a water-tight methodology to settle on these top programs. Obviously, the most important factor on this list is the net cost of each school. Other factors, however, include overall reputation, graduation rates, retention rates, and the early salaries of graduates.
The final list offers you the 10 Most Affordable Online Paralegal Studies degrees. These facts and figures come from the university and colleges’ websites, PayScale, and nationally recognized U.S. News & World Report and The National Center for Education Statistics.
Eastern Kentucky University
Average Net Price: $12,255
If affordability and flexibility are at the top of your list, look no further than Eastern Kentucky University. This regional university is based in Richmond, Kentucky, though it also maintains branches throughout the state. Eastern Kentucky University offers over 40 fully online degree programs in addition to its oncampus degrees.
At Eastern Kentucky University, you’ll earn a BS in Paralegal Studies. You can earn all but 10 of your 120 credits completely online. The program is divided into 8-week terms. In addition to your core classes, you can explore other specialty areas like family law practice and criminal law. Here’s a sneak peek into your curriculum:
- Legal Administration and Computer Applications
- Litigation: Evidence to Discovery
- Legal Research and Writing
- Probate Practice and Procedure
Unique to Eastern Kentucky University, you’ll take part in a residency experience on campus. This opportunity includes trips to the law library and courthouse vault, as well as a chance to meet with practicing lawyers, judges, and paralegals.
Florida Gulf Coast University
Average Net Price: $13,842
A public university with beachfront access, Florida Gulf Coast University is located in Fort Myers. The university consists of five academic colleges. The College of Arts and Sciences, which houses the Legal Studies program, was established in 1995. Around 14,800 students attend FGCU in total.
The Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies at Florida Gulf Coast University is one of the best. This degree is offered via a flexible hybrid format, letting you take classes both online and in person. Your curriculum is both rigorous and wide-reaching, letting you both specialize and secure a foundation in paralegal studies. Some of these classes include:
- Courtroom Techniques
- Legal Research & Writing
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Law Office Management
Florida Gulf Coast University has good news for you if you already have your associate’s degree in legal assisting. You’ll be able to take only the upper-level courses in this curriculum path. That means instead of the 120 required credits, you’ll only take 60 credits.
Average Net Price: $16,742
Davenport University is located primarily in Grand Rapids, Michigan but also maintains regional campuses throughout the state. Both undergraduates and graduates have found a home at Davenport University. It offers generous tuition assistance to over 75 percent of its full-time student population.
At Davenport University you’ll engage in a BS in Legal Studies, which will fully prepare you to become a paralegal, among other things. The curriculum gives you a foundation in not only pre-law, but also business practices. You’ll take 120 total credit-hours, and complete an internship as a final requirement. Here’s a look at some classes:
- Estate Planning and Probate Law
- Technology in the Law Office
- Legal Writing
Davenport University knows that money is sometimes a barrier in achieving educational goals. That’s why they make it a priority to keep their tuition rates low. Davenport University also awards generous scholarships to students who are in need. Each year, the school offers over $15 million in scholarships.
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
Average Net Price: $19,401
A Roman Catholic institution based in Indiana, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is rooted in its faith. In fact, it is the oldest Catholic college in the state. It is a consistent contender for the top Regional Colleges in the Midwest, according to U.S. News & World Report.
At Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College you’ll get all the perks of a liberal arts education, but all through distance learning! The program includes 51 credits of upper-level classes devoted to legal speciality and paralegal subjects. You’ll also choose from an impressive list of electives. Some of these more niche classes include:
- Intellectual Property
- Women and the Law
- Death and Taxes
- Environmental Law
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College delivers top-notch results. Over 90 percent of graduates from this program find a job immediately after they graduate. Part of their success can be attributed to the dedication of the online academic support and career services.
University of Providence
Average Net Price: $20,247
The University of Providence is a private university in Montana. It was founded in 1932 as a Roman Catholic institution for women but has since become coeducational. The Telecom Distance Learning Program makes it possible for the University of Providence to reach students beyond Montana.
You’ll earn an online BS in Legal and Paralegal Studies at the University of Providence. This degree does a fantastic job of blending together legal theory and applied practice. For example, you’ll complete most of your coursework online, but also complete an internship that gives you hands-on experience. Here’s a look into the curriculum:
- Litigation and Trial Practice
- Debtor-Creditor Law
- Military Law
- Negotiations and Mediations
The University of Providence offers a unique opportunity in its study abroad program. Any student – online or on campus – is eligible for this as long as they are in good academic standing.
Average Net Price: $21,276
A private university that offers both online and oncampus options, Herzing University is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It has a broad reach across the United States, with 11 branch campuses throughout the country. Herzing University’s most popular degrees are in nursing, technology, and legal studies, among others.
The online BS in Legal Studies at Herzing University is a great way to get your foot in the door for pre-law or paralegal studies. One thing to note is that only the programs out of New Orleans and Atlanta are approved by the American Bar Association. You’ll take 126 credits in total. Most students finish this program in 36 months. Here’s a quick look:
- Civil Litigation
- Advanced Legal Research
- Employment Law and Labor Relations
As your final requirement at Herzing University, you’ll choose between a capstone project or a Legal Studies internship. Your capstone project can be writing a scholarly article, creating a supporting memorandum, or writing a brief. Your internship, on the other hand, would give you a more hands-on look at your future career.
Purdue University Global
Average Net Price: $22,215
A fairly new arrival in the world of online education, Purdue University Global was established in 2018 when it acquired Kaplan University. Over 30,000 students are enrolled in its many online degree programs. Even though Purdue University Global is primarily an online institution, it also has 14 other learning campuses throughout the country.
Purdue University Global takes a slightly different approach to this degree. You’ll earn a BS in Legal Support and Services with the option of concentrating in Paralegal Studies. Your total credit-hours is a little higher at 180, but you gain a huge benefit in added electives. Some of your classes might include:
- American Jurisprudence
- Legal Ethics
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Legal Philosophy
A huge standout at Purdue University Global is the Purdue Global Tuition Cap. This program ensures that your tuition will be capped, which means that once you hit your cap, you won’t need to pay any more. This is especially beneficial if you end up needing to retake any of your classes.
William Woods University
Average Net Price: $22,611
Established in 1870 as an educational home for young women, William Woods University is now a private university in Missouri. It reaches undergraduate and graduate students through both on-campus and online programs. William Woods University is home to around 3,500 students.
The online BS in Paralegal Studies at William Woods University takes you through a 14-course sequence. Each class last 8 weeks and gives you the flexibility of starting and stopping whenever you want. Your classes will cover both the fundamentals of paralegal work, but also include interesting electives. Take a look for yourself:
- Administrative and Federal Procedure
- Evidence and Fact Gathering
- Electronic Legal Research
- Constitutional Issues
Your final requirement in this degree at William Woods University is a six-credit Practicum and Capstone class. You’ll need to demonstrate your abilities in two ways. Your practicum is in the form of a virtual internship. The capstone project is a research and writing assignment that shows your ability to efficiently research and present an issue.
Average Net Price: $24,377
A private, historically black university, Hampton University has a history that reaches back to 1868. In fact, one of its earliest students was Booker T. Washington. Hampton University is divided into 10 academic colleges. It ranks as the having the second highest graduation rates among other historically black colleges and universities.
Hampton University presents a comprehensive four-year BA in Paralegal Studies that you can complete 100 percent online. This curriculum encompasses 122 credit-hours in total. Through the structure of a liberal arts degree, you’ll encounter the full scope of a pre-law program. Some of your highlight coursework will include:
- Litigation and Trial Practice
- Torts and Personal Injury
- Law in Society
- Criminal Law
Hampton University deserves credit where credit is due. It recently claimed the #2 spot by Affordable Colleges Online for the “Best Online College in Virginia.” This is for good reason – over 60 percent of its student body receives some sort of financial aid.