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If you’re looking for a paralegal school there are a number of options to choose from depending on where you live. Below is a comprehensive list of specific paralegal pages by state that include research requirements, salary, schools, job outlook for paralegals, coursework, and more for paralegal and legal assistants throughout the United States. For those searching for an online paralegal school, your location doesn’t matter as much, BUT we highly suggest a top local school that is ABA approved.
Browse Paralegal Schools By State
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Washington DC
- West Virginia
Steps to Getting a Paralegal Degree
If you have done your research and have determined that a paralegal career is for you, follow the below steps to make sure you choose a degree program which will be the best fit your career goals.
1. Determine which type of certificate or degree to pursue.
Your first step: Getting a paralegal certificate, paralegal degree, or legal studies degree will take some time and effort. Before we get into that, your first step is to choose a program type. If you plan to work for a law firm, you will likely need a minimum of an associate’s degree (AA or AS Degree) in paralegal studies. Some of the more prestigious programs are ABA certified, which is something you might want to consider when find the right school.
Those looking for an entry-level paralegal job, a certificate might be a good option to start with. A number of law firms might not hire someone who only has a certificate, but there are some who might not have that requirement. Compared to applicants with no college, some college credit or a certification may help you to be looked upon favorably by an employer. The admission requirements to enroll in a certificate programs will usually include a high school diploma or equivalent.
Paralegal Studies Associate’s Degree
A number of law firms may require an associate’s degree in paralegal studies. Some may even require a Bachelor’s degree. At traditional colleges, an Associate degrees might take around two years to complete. This degree type can often be a stepping stone to gain higher education later. An AA or AS degree is often offered on-campus in a traditional format but there are a number of online options as well.
Paralegal Studies Bachelor’s Degree
In traditional colleges you might find that a Bachelor’s degrees may take four years to complete full-time. There are some accelerated programs available at various institutions where you can complete a degree more quickly. a Bachelor’s programs will usually require a high school diploma or equivalent and a Bachelor’s completion program will likely require an Associate’s degree for enrollment. Bachelor’s degrees could be offered on-campus and online depending on the school, or possibly through a combination of both.
Paralegal Certificate Post-Graduate
For those looking to earn an advanced graduate paralegal certificate, but don’t need the degree, some four-year degree universities might have options available. This is sometimes done when someone already has a degree but wants to work in another field and wish to change careers. It might also be the case for those who have been in the paralegal field and want to advance in their career. To enroll you might need to have a baccalaureate degree received at a regionally-accredited school.
Paralegal Studies Master’s Degree
In some instances, it might make sense to get a master’s degree in paralegal studies. This level of a degree isn’t usually a requirement for those looking to become a paralegal. Seasoned paralegals who already have a job might want to pursue this option to help advance their career. Requirements for admissions will likely be a bachelor’s degree and the program might take two years at a traditional college or university.
2. Full-time or part-time Schedule
When searching for a school it might be worth noting that some college options might offer part-time and full-time options. There may also be morning and night options. These are consideration you might want to keep in mind if you’re planning on working while getting your paralegal training.
3. Focus Your Expertise
While many might decide to pursue a general paralegal degree, there a a number of subjects that could be pursed. From personal injury law, criminal law, corporate law, to copyright and patents. Depending on what interests you the most, it might be worth additional specialized training while pursuing your legal assistant paralegal, or legal secretary degree.
4. Decide Which paralegal degree program you Want To Apply To
Lastly, if you have narrowed down your options to a few institutions be sure to pick a school that is ABA approved. If you are looking for a well structured in-per degree program that offers collaboration you might want to enroll in a in-person class rather than one that is online. If flexibility is an issue, you might want to find a career college that is accredited and offers morning or night classes. After applying and being accepted you will be quickly on your way to becoming a paralegal.