If you want to develop a new career in a matter of months, becoming a paralegal could be right for you. It’s a well-paid job that requires only a certification.
Why Choose an Online Paralegal Certificate?
Paralegals, also known as legal assistants, perform many functions in law offices. Some of the jobs they do include conducting legal research, drafting legal documents, conducting investigations, interviewing witnesses and more. They may work in areas such as criminal law, bankruptcy, workers’ compensation, construction law and others. Careers may be available with local law offices, at the courthouse, at the Public Defender’s office and in other locations.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that paralegals in federal jobs tend to earn a median wage of around $64,650.
Getting an Online Paralegal Certificate
Paralegal jobs are expected to grow by 15% between 2016 and 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. An online paralegal certificate may not be required to work in the field, but it can give graduates a leg up against the competition in this competitive market.
The Top 15 Schools for Online Paralegal Certificate Programs
In this article, we have selected the top 15 schools for an online paralegal certificate program. They are ranked based on total tuition and enrollment.
1. Lake Superior College
Lake Superior College offers an online certificate program in paralegal studies that consists of 30 credit hours. The program can be completed in a year.
- Tuition (in-state): $5,334
- Enrollment: 5,230
2. Hinds Community College
Hinds Community College offers a 30-credit program to get a certificate in paralegal technology. This online program is a three-tiered program teaching research, litigation and more.
- Tuition (in-state): $3,450
- Enrollment: 11,827
3. University of Nevada
The University of Nevada offers a paralegal studies certificate. This is a 12-week hybrid program with asynchronous online modules and in-person meetings. It is not necessary to gain admission to the university to get this certificate.
- Tuition (in-state): $5,306
- Enrollment: 20,993
4. Community Care College
Community Care College offers an online certification in paralegal studies that can be completed in as few as 11.5 months. The program is completely online but does leave the door open for students to meet with professors on campus and to use the campus as well.
- Tuition (in-state): $17,891
- Enrollment: 542
5. University of Massachusetts – Lowell
The University of Massachusetts Lowell offers an online certificate program in paralegal studies. It can be completed in around 18 months, and intensive, two-week courses are available.
- Tuition (in-state): $16,390
- Enrollment: 8,154
6. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers an intensive program that takes place over 19 weeks. Classes require around 10 hours per week in evening and Saturday courses. Students do online studies for around 110 hours. Presently, classes are offered completely online with approval from the NC State Bar.
- Tuition (in-state): $10,552
- Enrollment: 29,877
7. Rice University
Rice University offers a paralegal graduate certificate program. The online program has regularly scheduled classes with live instruction. The program can be completed in just five months.
- Tuition (in-state): $48,791
- Enrollment: 7,282
8. University of Miami
The University of Miami has a paralegal certificate program that can be completed in four months. It is available online or in-person.
- Tuition (in-state): $37,800
- Enrollment: 17,811
9. University of California – Davis
In just six months, students can gain the paralegal certification from UC Davis. The program is self-paced and has over 100 hours of paralegal-specific skill training. The curriculum includes tort law, California procedures for paralegals, contract law and paralegal studies essentials.
- Tuition (in-state): $11,442
- Enrollment: 38,634
10. University of California – Berkeley
UC Berkeley Extension offers a certificate program in paralegal studies. It is available online and consists of three required courses, three elective courses and 360 hours of instruction. It is normally completed in six to 12 months.
- Tuition (in-state): $11,442
- Enrollment: 43,185
11. Florida International University
Florida International University offers a year-long program for a certification in paralegal studies. It does not require a bachelor’s degree, unlike some of the other programs. Three trimesters make up the program, and students may begin in January, May or August.
- Tuition (in-state): $8,912
- Enrollment: 58,711
12. George Washington University
George Washington University offers a paralegal studies graduate certificate. Students can opt for an 18- or 24-credit certificate, or they can go on to get a Master’s degree in Paralegal Studies with 32 credits. These programs do qualify students for military benefits and financial aid.
- Tuition (in-state): $31,770
- Enrollment: 27,814
13. Duke University
Duke University offers an online paralegal certificate program that can be completed in 300 hours. The program may be completed within a year, but most students can begin their new career within five months.
- Tuition (in-state): $55,680
- Enrollment: 16,766
14. Rutgers University
Rutgers University offers a Certified Paralegal Certificate. Students in this program will need to sit and pass the Certified Paralegal exam. Registered students can take up to one year to complete the program, and an extension is available. Students wishing to take the NALA Certified Paralegal exam do need to have a bachelor’s degree.
- Tuition (in-state): $17,736
- Enrollment: 50,173
15. Boston University
Boston University offers an intensive 14-week course to get an online certificate in paralegal studies. The program is all-inclusive and rapidly prepares students for day-to-day work in a legal office.
- Tuition (in-state): $54,720
- Enrollment: 33,720
The schools in this article have been ranked based on their overall tuition as well as the average enrollment. Schools that have higher tuition rates were given fewer points, as were schools that had higher enrollment. Those scores were added, and the schools were then ranked from the highest points to the lowest.
Every effort has been made to provide accurate information in this article, however the results are not guaranteed. This list is subject to change.
Questions about Your Ranking?
If you work at one of the schools above and have questions about your ranking, reach out. We’d be happy to talk to you about our ranking process. If you would like to have your school ranked, let us know. We’re glad to look over your school’s programs and to add them to any appropriate listings.