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Why This Matters

  • THE U.S. NEEDS 49,900 MORE OF YOU BY 2031

    Demand for paralegals is expected to rise 14% over the next decade, as law firms aim to increase efficiency and lower costs. Trained paralegals can take over some tasks typically assigned to legal secretaries or lawyers.


    The overall job outlook for legal professions is bright, with employment growth expected to continue at an above-average pace. Working as a paralegal can be valuable preparation for a career as a lawyer, arbitrator, or mediator.


    Paralegals have many different options for the areas of law in which they will work. Popular areas of legal practice include corporate, immigration, intellectual property, real estate, bankruptcy, and personal injury.

Our Research

This list features some of the best online paralegal certificate degree programs at top colleges across the country. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. Many of the programs are approved by the American Bar Association (ABA), which reviews of paralegal education programs for quality and industry standards.

We evaluated each school’s program on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student resources provided for online students. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Next, we compared this comprehensive list of online paralegal certificate degree programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report among others to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

The Top 42 Online Paralegal Certificate Degree Programs

Best Paralegal 2023
Intelligent Pick
Liberty University
Best Public Institution
UGA Center for Continuing Education & Hotel
Most Flexible Program
Duke University
Fastest Completion Time
Boston University
Best Online Tools
University of South Carolina
Best Scholarship Program
UW Professional & Continuing Education
Best for Career Development
Villanova University
Best Specialization Options
Widener University
Best for Graduate Students
The George Washington University
Most Affordable
University of Massachusetts

UMass Lowell

Eastern Kentucky University

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

Kennesaw State University

James Madison University

Hampton University

CSULB College of Professional and Continuing Education

Roger Williams University

UCI Division of Continuing Education

University of Texas at Austin

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Stony Brook University

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What You Should Know About This Degree

Paralegals need to be detail-oriented and organized, and they must have strong writing, communication, and research skills. A training program will help you develop those skills while teaching you the necessary legal terminology and practices, but it’s important to assess if you possess the right qualities before pursuing education to become a paralegal.

Individuals can prepare for a paralegal career by earning a post-secondary certificate, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree. For individuals who already have a bachelor’s degree, a post-secondary certificate in paralegal studies is typically the fastest way to get the training required for most paralegal jobs.

If you do not currently hold any degree, you can research associate’s or bachelor’s degree programs. An associate’s degree is enough to qualify you for most paralegal jobs and will provide a solid foundation if you choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree. The number of programs offering a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies is limited; therefore, most people will pursue a bachelor’s degree in another field, followed by a paralegal certificate.

Once students complete their studies, they can apply for the Certified Paralegal (CP) credential through the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). This optional credential confirms to potential employers that you have the necessary training and expertise to be a professional paralegal. You must pass an examination in order to receive the CP credential.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Online Paralegal Certificate programs:

  • Do I need financial aid? Generally, students enrolled in non-degree programs are ineligible for federal financial aid like loans and grants. If you need this type of funding to subsidize your tuition, you may want to consider an associate’s or bachelor’s degree instead of a certificate.
  • Does the program offer options for specialization? Most paralegal certificate programs cover a broad range of skills and knowledge applicable to all types of law. However, some programs offer electives that allow students to get in-depth knowledge in a particular area of law. If you have a specific interest, find out if the program you are considering offers an elective in that area.

Check on the enrollment process for the program you are considering. Certificate programs typically have more flexible registration processes than degree-granting programs. They may have a specific start date, or you may be able to enroll at any time. Even if you are not eligible for financial aid, find out if any programs offer scholarships. If you are currently employed, your employer may offer tuition assistance benefits to help you cover the cost of the program.

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