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Why This Matters


    The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 10% job growth for paralegals and legal assistants from 2019 to 2029. This should amount to 35,300 new jobs by 2029.


    Paralegals can work in litigation or corporate law. They can also specialize in employment benefits, personal injury, criminal law, bankruptcy, immigration, family law, real estate, or other areas.

  • MAKE OVER $50,000 PER YEAR

    The median annual pay for paralegals is $51,740. That’s more than $10,000 above the median annual salary of $39,810 for all occupations.

Our Research

We reviewed many paralegal certificate programs, including online, in-person, and hybrid programs. Online programs sometimes have a brief in-person component.

All of the programs we considered are regionally accredited, and many have received accreditation by the American Bar Association (ABA). Attending an accredited program ensures the quality of the curriculum, and any program that’s approved by the ABA will be widely accepted within the legal profession.

After narrowing down our list, we assigned the best ones Intelligent Scores of 0 to 100. This score sums up a program’s reputation, course strength, faculty, cost, and flexibility, and it makes identifying the best programs easy.

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 70 hours to write this article
  • 200 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 285 education programs we compared

The Top 48 Paralegal Certificate Degree Programs

Best Paralegal Certificate Degree Programs
Intelligent Pick
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
Best in the Southeast
University of Georgia
Best On-Campus Program
Lake Superior College
Best for International Students
Webster University
Best Christian Institution
Liberty University
Best Job Placement Rate
Eastern Kentucky University
Best in the Northeast
Bay Path University
Best for Legal Research and Writing
Clayton State University
Best for Job Search Support
Rice University
Best for Tort Law
The University of Texas at Austin
Fastest Completion Time
Loyola University Chicago
Best in the Southwest
Rio Salado College
Best for Healthcare Industry
Roger Williams University
Best Advisors
University of Cincinnati
Best Bachelor's Degree Track
University of Massachusetts Lowell
Best for Litigation Case Prep
UNC-Chapel Hill Paralegal Certificate Program
Best Military Instituion
University Of North Georgia
Best in the South
The University of Texas at San Antonio
Best for Business Law
University of Washington
Best for Evening Classes
Villanova University
Best Public Institution
Auburn University
Best Part-Time Program
Charter Oak State College
Best for Law School Track
Central Texas College
Best Internships
Daemen College
Best for Career Opportunities
De Anza College
Best in the Northwest
Edmonds Community College
Best for Family Law
Lakeshore Technical College
Most Balanced Curriculum
Grand Valley State University
Best for Undergraduates
Hamline University
Best Law Library
Kennesaw State University
Best for Post-Bachelor's Certificate
University of La Verne
Best for Legal Ethics
Louisiana State University
Best for Student Activities
Marist College

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What You Should Know About This Degree

There are multiple ways to prepare for a paralegal career. Individuals can earn an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or postsecondary certificate. The certificate programs listed here fall into the last category, and they’re generally intended for individuals who already have a four-year bachelor’s degree.

The number of bachelor’s programs in paralegal studies is limited, so many people pursue a bachelor’s degree in another major and earn a certificate after graduating from their four-year degree program.

If you don’t have a degree, you may want to pursue an associate degree, rather than a bachelor’s, and then a postsecondary certificate. Most associate programs take only two years to complete full-time.

Online programs can usually be completed entirely online, but a few might have a brief in-person component. Check whether a program has such a component before applying, and make sure any in-person portion would fit your schedule.

After earning a paralegal certificate, individuals can become a Certified Paralegal (CP) through the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). Although this credential is optional, becoming certified will make you more competitive in the job market. Becoming certified requires paying a fee and passing an exam.

What’s Next?

As you evaluate paralegal certificate programs, consider these questions:

  • How long does it take to complete this online degree? Paralegal certificates vary widely in length, from as little as six courses to as many as 30-plus credits. One reason for such a range is because programs are designed for students who have different academic backgrounds. Make sure you meet a program’s academic qualifications and that a program’s length works for you before applying.
  • Are courses offered synchronously or asynchronously? Programs may offer courses in a synchronous or an asynchronous format. Choose a synchronously formatted program if you’re able to attend classes at specific times, or go with an asynchronously formatted program if you need flexibility to complete coursework on your own time.

When you’ve identified a promising certificate program, contact the program or check its website to find out application requirements. You’ll need to know which materials to submit and when to submit them.

Also consider how you’ll cover the cost of a program. Non-degree certificates generally aren’t eligible for financial aid, but you might qualify for scholarships through a program or tuition reimbursement from your employer.

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