Paralegals and legal assistants work at law firms and legal offices, performing a wide range of services to help lawyers prepare for trials and hearings. Their day-to-day duties include obtaining affidavits and evidence for use in court, researching case law, filing exhibits, and reading trial transcripts.
Paralegals perform various tasks related to client recordkeeping, legal documentation, and other administrative needs. They also contact clients, witnesses, and attorneys to schedule meetings and legal depositions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nearly 285,600 paralegals and legal assistants are currently employed in the United States.
Many paralegals begin their careers with an associate degree program in paralegal studies or another law-related field. Most paralegal studies associate degree options include internships, where students receive supervised training from experienced lawyers and law office personnel. Many of today's students choose to earn their paralegal studies associate degree online.
Web-based students follow the same rigorous curriculum as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, leading to the same number of job opportunities following graduation. The asynchronous (or self-paced) structure of most online paralegal studies programs proves ideal for students with part-time jobs, childcare responsibilities, and other commitments that may interfere with campus-based learning.
Learn more about what you can do with an online associate degree in paralegal studies program and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to with this comprehensive guide.
- Can you get a paralegal degree online?
Yes. Many online schools offer both associate and bachelor's degrees in paralegal studies or a related topic. Read more here.
- Are online paralegal degrees qualified?
The American Bar Association (ABA) recognizes that several online paralegal degrees satisfy certain state educational requirements. All ABA-approved online paralegal programs must be qualified for two years beforehand. Read more here.
- How do employers treat online paralegal degrees?
Employers, particularly those in a business environment or government agency, will hire graduates with online paralegal degrees from reputable, accredited programs. Read more here.
- How to get a paralegal degree online
For consideration, most online paralegal associate degree applicants must have a high school diploma or GED and meet minimum GPA requirements. These requirements vary from school to school. Read more here.
- Is an online paralegal degree worth it?
Many students earn an associate degree or obtain a paralegal certificate online. Some pursue a bachelor's or master's degree, but paralegal programs at this level are quite rare. Read more here.
Choosing a Program
Will an online paralegal studies associate program provide me with the skills I need to advance my career?
Online paralegal studies associate programs cover all essential areas of the profession, including client recordkeeping, legal research or writing, and fundamentals of trial, corporate and international law. Internships also allow students to supplement their coursework with off-site training and apply the skills and knowledge to real-world situations. Many of today's employers will only hire paralegal candidates who have earned professional certification; the best online paralegal studies associate programs prepare students for exams and other certification requirements, as well.
Will an online paralegal studies associate program work with my schedule?
Online associate degree in paralegal studies programs offer a flexible alternative to traditional, classroom-based education. Students can access course lectures and readings, participate in virtual discussions with fellow students, submit written assignments, take exams, and communicate with professors from their home computer.
Current technology also allows learners to study on the go using a laptop, tablet, smartphone, and other portable devices with WiFi capabilities. For added convenience, online students can usually coordinate internships and other practicum courses at legal offices and other sites located within a reasonable distance of their current residence.
What jobs can I get with my paralegal studies associate degree?
U.S. News & World Report notes that the legal assistant profession does not carry strict educational requirements. Many paralegals enter the workforce with a high school diploma or equivalent, so candidates with an associate in paralegal studies will be well positioned to compete in the job market. Other career pathways for those with a paralegal studies degree include roles such as court reporters, information clerks, legal secretaries, and administrative assistants.
What are the best online paralegal studies associate programs?
Choosing a program is an incredibly personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school's strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online paralegal studies associate degree programs in the United States. If you are considering an online paralegal studies associate program, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific associate degree requirements and offerings.
The Best Online Paralegal Programs
|1||Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 67%||
This school was founded by the Keiser family in 1977 to better assist adult learners. Their online paralegal degree program is available both on campus and online from each Keiser campus; there are 18 total in Florida. Students must complete 60 credit hours to earn the degree. 24 hours of are in the paralegal studies courses and 36 are general education courses. The program includes classes like Legal Research and Writing, Criminal Law, Civil Litigation, and more. Online learners have access to the Online writing Lab. It helps promote better writing habits by offering feedback on their papers. No prerequisites are required to enter the program.
|2||Alexandria Technical & Community College Alexandria, MN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 61%||
ATCC’s online paralegal degree prepares students for many dimensions of legal work by offering courses in legal procedures, business organizations, estates, bankruptcy, and more. The program is 63 credit hours and requires students to do an internship. Previous experience in English, public speaking, and general communication often prove helpful in the program. Applicants must have obtained a minimum GPA of 2.5 in high school or at their previous college or university. For distance learners who are unable to meet that requirement, ATCC recommends they look into the legal administrative assistant program. The legal assistant program is 60 credit hours and covers a wider range of course subjects. ATCC provides over $400,000 in scholarship funds each year to qualified students.
|3||Drury University Springfield, MO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 58%||
Drury, a liberal arts college based in Springfield, Missouri, enrolls most students in its College of Continuing Professional Studies, which offers online education to working students. The associate of science in paralegal studies offers a broad overview of the legal system, including the courts; criminal, civil, and constitutional law; and legal practices such as research and interviewing. Graduates, who have an understanding of the major principles, doctrines, rules, and structures of the law, are prepared to work in a variety of legal environments. The paralegal associate degree requires 21 credits of core courses and 62 credit hours overall, covering topics such as legal research and writing, litigation, tort law, and family law. The curriculum also includes a three-credit professional practicum experience, which has online learners intern under a professional attorney and apply course learning to real-life legal practice. The internship can be completed within a students’ own community, and the rest of the program uses a fully-online format with no set class times.
|4||University of Alaska Fairbanks Fairbanks, AK||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 25%||
The University of Alaska Fairbanks offers an innovative approach to online learning, with all courses designed by instructors. Each course may feature different learning methods, from traditional eLearning with textbooks and lectures, to unique uses of blogs, social media, or video chat. Whether you are new to the legal field, or a currently employed paralegal looking to develop your skills, UAF’s online paralegal associate degree helps students take their careers to the next level.
Approved by the American Bar Association, UAF’s paralegal studies program is a two-year commitment, requiring at least 10 credit hours. Several courses, such as those in practical paralegal skills, computers in the law office, advanced legal writing, and a paralegal internship, take place on campus or in a practical work setting. No matter where you live, an advisor will help you find and complete these requirements through local institutions.
|5||Minnesota State Community and Technical College Fergus Falls, MN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 36%||
MSCTC offers 25 majors and program online. Their online paralegal program prepares students for a variety of positions in the field, including law firms, court administration, and government agencies. Distance learners are required to earn 60 credits. Subjects studied include: legal research, property laws, wills, and legal ethics. The school maintains a working relationship with Minnesota State University that allows students to easily transfer their credits into any four-year program in the MSU system. Students have online access to the college’s 120,000 full-text reference ebooks. There are no on-campus requirements.
|6||Hodges University Naples, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 25%||
Hodges, a private college in Naples, Florida, offers several fully-online programs for working students, including an associate in science in paralegal studies that prepares graduates to work in legal environments. The degree requires 60 credits, including 36 credits of legal studies, 20 credits of liberal arts courses, and a four-credit elective course in an approved subject area. The legal studies core introduces topics such as legal ethics, civil procedure, and criminal law and procedure. The program is unique among most online paralegal associate degrees for its emphasis on eDiscovery and eLitigation—the use of digital information in current legal practice. Students gain the skills to manage information security for clients and law firms. By taking 12 credits per semester, most candidates can complete the program in about two years, though Hodges allows students to take fewer courses if necessary.
|7||Tallahassee Community College Tallahassee, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 33%||
TCC offers a fully-online associate of science in paralegal/legal studies. The 64-credit program curriculum includes 18 credits in general education and 46 credits in paralegal studies, with courses such as litigation procedures, real estate law, and family law. Students also compete two college-level history courses and one elective course, which offers three options: microcomputer applications for business, criminal law, and technology and a professional programs internship. The internship allows degree candidates to gain experience in a professional legal environment and requires a minimum of 150 hours of fieldwork. TCC offers several helpful resources for online learners pursuing the associate degree in paralegal studies, including enrollment counseling, career coaching, and online tutoring. Academic advisers assist with course sections and help candidates stay on track for graduation. Career placement coordinators offer connections to jobs and employment resources.
|8||Southern Utah University Cedar City, UT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 49%||
The residential campus of Southern Utah University, located in Cedar City, UT, is ideal for students looking to supplement their academics with outdoor adventures. However, students don’t have to live near the scenic campus to earn their associate degree in paralegal studies.
Available entirely online, SUU’s paralegal studies program boasts small class sizes and a unique degree plan that prepares students to enter the workforce as a paralegal or criminal justice system professional. Students take 32 credits of general education courses, 12 credits of core courses, and 15 elective credits. Course topics include criminal law and procedure, real estate and property law, and legal research and writing. The completion of a paralegal internship is also required, which must be completed in person and under the supervision of an employed paralegal or attorney. Students may seek local internship opportunities on their own or with the guidance of the program director and faculty members.
Southern Utah University holds accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
|9||Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, KY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 41%||
EKU offers a partially online program in paralegal studies. Students are required to be on-campus for 10 credit hours. The 10 credit hours required on-campus are part of an intensive two-week course that provides students with access to working attorneys, judges, and paralegals. Distance learners can use this time to access the law library and the courthouse vault. Online paralegal courses begin every eight weeks; students must complete 64 credits to graduate. Classes in the program include Family Law Practice, Administrative Agency Practice, and Criminal Law Practice and Procedure. Students must complete an internship. Learners can seamlessly transition from an AAS degree track to EKU's BA in paralegal science. A post-baccalaureate paralegal science certificate is also available.
|10||Macomb Community College Warren, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 10%||
MCC is a two-year college that serves more than 40,000 students. The school’s associate of applied science in legal assistant is a hybrid program that mixes classroom and online learning. While students are required to visit campus for some courses, about 70% of the curriculum is available completely online. The degree requires a minimum of 67 credits and includes courses such as advanced business communications, administration of estates, and electronic evidence and discovery. Along with the legal studies core, students also select five to six credits of electives to match professional interests. MCC offers several electives relevant to different areas of law, including medical terminology, principles of family law, and proceedings under the federal bankruptcy code. With full-time enrollment, most candidates can complete the paralegal online associate degree within two years.
|11||Trinity Valley Community College Athens, TX||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 17%||
Trinity Valley Community College offers several physical locations in Texas and aims to help students acquire career skills in a timely manner. TVCC’s distance learning department offers an online associate degree in paralegal studies through its legal assistant technology program. The curriculum teaches students to work with both clients and attorneys, preparing subpoenas, motions, and billing forms. Coursework covers law office management, civil litigation, criminal law and procedure, and interviewing and investigating.
Online courses are not self-paced, but run concurrent with on-campus courses during the fall, spring, and summer semesters. While all courses take place in an online format, some syllabi may require proctored exams, which must be completed at the testing center in Athens, TX.
Trinity Valley Community College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commision on Colleges.
|12||Rio Salado College Tempe, AZ||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 5%||
RSC's associate online paralegal courses cover the foundations of law and introduce students to a variety of dimensions in the field. All students graduate with a deep understanding of legal ethics and theory. Distance learners must earn 64 credits and maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 to graduate. It takes 19 credits to fulfill the general education requirements. RSC offers an online paralegal certificate that requires students to earn 36 credits; it has the same GPA requirements. Core classes include Bankruptcy Law, Elder Law, American National Government Law, and more. Classes are taught through RioLearn.
|13||Southwestern Community College Sylva, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 35%||
Based in Sylva, North Carolina, SCC is one of 59 members of the North Carolina Community College System. The school’s primarily-online associate of applied science in paralegal technology prepares students to serve as assistants to lawyers, aiding in substantial legal work such as investigations, legal documents, legal research, and public records searches. The program requires a minimum of 71 credits and trains students in major legal areas such as civil litigation, elder law, civil injuries, and real property. SCC emphasizes professional and practical experience, and several courses include lab components that requires face-to-face instruction. SCC offers about 74% of the curriculum completely online, and campus courses are held on evenings and weekends to keep the program convenient for working students.
|14||Marshalltown Community College Marshalltown, IA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 35%||
Marshalltown Community College, located in Iowa, offers a two-year associate of applied science degree in paralegal studies in an online format. This program prepares students to work in litigation, family law, corporate law, or personal injury.
Taught by experienced Iowa attorneys, and focused on Iowa law and procedures, MCC’s paralegal associate degree is ideal for students who intend to practice within the state. Although, skills gained through the program are transferable to any law office regardless of location. While the admissions application is free and simple, students should be aware that MCC is a participant in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. This means students can enroll in courses at MCC only if they are a resident from a SARA-approved state or live internationally.
Marshalltown Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
|15||Blinn College Brenham, TX||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 8%||
Blinn College, based in Brenham, TX, offers various distance learning degrees and courses, including a paralegal associate degree online. Graduates of this legal assistant program work in private law firms, corporations, insurance companies, governmental offices, and contracting work.
Coursework totals 60 credit hours. Practicing judges and attorneys teach courses, such as civil litigation, contracts, wills, and trusts and probates, ensuring students receive relevant preparation for entry into the workforce.
While Blinn is open to global enrollment, tuition follows a sliding scale, which favors students closer in geographic location. Students within Washington County, Texas, pay the lowest costs, other Texas residents pay a slightly higher tuition, and out-of-state and international students pay the highest rate.
The legal studies associate degree at Blinn is accredited by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
|16||Colorado Mountain College Glenwood Springs, CO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 20%||
Colorado Mountain College, located in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, has previously received the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. In addition to their community and residential campuses, CMC’s online virtual campus offers students the ultimate flexibility through interactive video and web courses. Aspiring legal assistants can earn their associate degree in paralegal studies online in just two years, preparing them for employment or to transfer to a four-year university.
In addition to 12 credits of general education requirements, the paralegal program offers courses in contracts, property law, legal ethics, and a final capstone internship that requires 45 in-person hours at a law office or comparable location. CMC’s paralegal program emphasizes communication skills vital to a paralegal career. While CMC’s tuition costs increase for out-of-state and international students, the institution offers discount rates for veterans, military family members, and residents of the western United States through the Western Undergraduate Exchange program.
Colorado Mountain College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
|17||Cincinnati State Technical and Community College Cincinnati, OH||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 13%||
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College has been a provider of online education since 1995 and offers more than 200 web-based and hybrid programs. While the paralegal online associate degree is available to distance learners, some courses may include proctored exams that require a campus visit. Out-of-state students can expect to pay a higher tuition, with the exception of select Kentucky and Indiana residents who qualify for Cincinnati State’s reciprocity agreements.
The legal administrative assistant program at Cincinnati State prepares graduates for work as legal assistants and legal secretaries in law firms, business, and court systems. Courses in financial accounting, business document formatting, and legal office environment will develop students’ technical skills in keyboarding and spreadsheets, supplemented with vital legal knowledge and protocol. A final capstone project allows students to demonstrate proficiency in workplace software, research, and communication.
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College receives accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
|18||Prince George's Community College Largo, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 9%||
Prince George’s Community College, located in Largo, Maryland, is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commision on Higher Education. PGCC’s eLearning system works similarly to face-to-face classes, requiring textbook reading, course material completion, and communication with peers and instructors, all occuring online. Students receive access to free online tutoring, an online bookstore, and online library services.
PGCC offers 11 associate degrees in an entirely online format, including an associate degree in paralegal studies. Core courses include topics, such as criminal evidence and procedure, techniques of legal research, and law for the paralegal. The knowledge and skills acquired in the legal assistant program prepares graduates to take on immediate entry level work or to transfer to a four-year institution for further study.
What Else Can I Expect From an Online Associate in Paralegal Studies Program?
|Program Costs||$6,000-$20,000 in annual tuition|
|Related Areas of Study||Legal Studies, Legal Assistant, Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, Office Management/Administration, Administrative Assistant, and Secretarial Science|
|Accreditation||ABA Standing Committee on Paralegals|
Example Courses for an Online Paralegal Associate Program
While the exact classes required by each school will vary, students should expect to gain a strong foundation in legal writing and research as well as an understanding of several areas of law. Learners should also expect to complete general education courses in English, math, and science. The sample courses below illustrate courses typically found in a paralegal curriculum.
- Introduction to Law and the Legal System: This course provides an overview of the American legal system, including local, state, and federal courts. Students gain an understanding of the U.S. Constitution, as well as common legal instruments, such as wills and contracts. They discuss professional ethics in the legal field and their responsibility in the attorney-client relationship.
- Law Office Technology: Today's law office utilizes a variety of technologies to improve efficiency. This course covers the standard software applications used to track cases, create documents, and conduct research. Paralegals must know how to access case law using databases such as Westlaw and LexisNexis. Technology continues to evolve with new applications available for tracking time, billing, and ensuring document security.
- Legal Research: The legal profession relies upon precedent and case law. Paralegals often take the lead in researching legal questions by using a variety of resources, such as online databases and legal libraries. This course examines how to research legal issues and ways to write effective legal briefs to present findings.
- Business Law: Business law encompasses several areas of legal practice, such as contracts, real estate, consumer protection, and bankruptcy. Students analyze case law and regulatory requirements for a variety of business activities, including employment decisions and discrimination. Coursework often includes discussion of professional ethics and obligations.
- Criminal Law and Procedures: This course explores both the prosecution and defense of criminal offenses. Students gain an understanding of legal requirements and the procedures used to gather evidence and file charges. The course emphasizes constitutional rights guaranteed to individuals in criminal court. Students also cover the proceedings to move a criminal case through the judicial system, such as plea bargaining, jury selection, and appealing a verdict.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Associate in Paralegal Studies?
Most online paralegal associate degrees require two years and about 60 credits to complete. Students may need additional time to complete their degree if they take reduced class loads. Many schools offer accelerated formats that can decrease the time a student spends in each class to as little as eight weeks, allowing for fewer classes to juggle at once and the possibility of earning additional credits during a year.
If a program utilizes a cohort learning model, students move through the curriculum at the same pace and often in a particular sequence. Individually paced programs allow students to take as many classes as they wish and often in any order they choose, provided prerequisite courses have been satisfied. Students should also consider any internship requirements. Some schools may require a full-time work schedule for that semester, which could preclude students from taking additional classes.
Accreditation for Online Paralegal Associate Degrees
To ensure they are exploring the best online paralegal programs, students should confirm that their college has earned regional or national accreditation before they enroll in classes. Accreditation serves as quality assurance that the school meets certain academic standards. Regional accrediting organizations, such as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, were the first groups certify that colleges met stringent guidelines for curriculum quality, facility maintenance, and student resources.
These organizations remain the most widely recognized and accepted accrediting bodies, though several national organizations have formed in recent years. Many schools do not accept credits earned from non-accredited schools and could require students to retake classes, slowing their progress toward a degree and costing additional money.
Some schools also seek specialized accreditation for their legal programs. The ABA offers accreditation of paralegal education programs. Attending an accredited school could benefit students when they begin seeking employment, but most states do not require paralegals to attend an accredited program.
Colleges and universities turn to private organizations to provide their external quality review. But because accreditation remains a requirement to access state and federal student financial aid, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) provide oversight for these private entities and ensure standards are applied uniformly and fairly. More than 80 accrediting agencies operate in the United States, and while some organizations seek recognition from both CHEA and the ED, not all do so. Visit CHEA or the ED for a list of all accredited schools.
Employment Outlook for Associate in Paralegal Studies
According to the most recent data from U.S. News, paralegals face an unemployment rate of 1.9%; by comparison, the national unemployment rate for all occupations currently sits at 3.9%. The following table compares unemployment rates for paralegals and other law-oriented professionals working in the social service sector.
|Occupation||Unemployment Rate (2018)|
|Child and Family Social Worker||2.1%|
|Clinical Social Worker||2.1%|
Many law firms plan to hire paralegals as a strategy for lowering the overall cost of their legal services and attracting a broader client base. Additionally, corporations and nonprofit organizations hire paralegals and legal assistants to bolster their in-house legal departments. As a result, the BLS predicts steady job placement for paralegals and legal assistants in the years to come. Between 2016 and 2026, the industry is expected to grow by 15%.
Earning a Living
According to the 2017-2018 PayScale College Salary Report, individuals with an associate degree in paralegal studies earn median annual salaries of $32,600 during their first five years on the job and $49,400 after a decade in the workforce. Similarly, the BLS lists $50,410 as the median annual salary for paralegals in the United States. However, it's important to note that earning potential for these individuals largely depends on factors such as certification level, employer size, and city/state of employment. You will find a detailed salary breakdown for paralegals and legal assistants in the table below.
Source: BLS, Oct. 2018
The BLS also notes that the highest-paying locations for paralegals are Washington, D.C., Alaska, New Jersey, Washington, and Connecticut. Two other variables can greatly influence salary expectations for paralegals and legal assistants: specific job title and level of work experience. The next table looks at career salary growth for paralegals, legal assistants, and other careers associated with legal support and administration.
|Occupation||Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years)||Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years)||Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 Years)||Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ Years)|
Source: PayScale, Oct. 2018
Of the five careers listed, legal secretaries experience the highest rate of career salary growth: a 78% increase in earnings between the entry-level and late-career stages. Legal assistants see the second-highest growth rate, with a 59% salary increase after 20 years in the workforce. Career salary growth for the remaining three occupations ranges from 39% to 43%.
Career and Further Education Opportunities
Students who graduate from an online associate in paralegal studies degree program will be qualified for dozens of entry-level jobs, as well as select leadership roles normally reserved for candidates with a postsecondary education background. Four of the most common career pathways for paralegal studies associate degree recipients are highlighted below.
Paralegals and Legal Assistants: Although many paralegals and legal assistants are hired to perform various legal and administrative tasks, some specialize in niche areas of the field. For example, corporate paralegals primarily handle casework related to business law and regulations, while litigation paralegals mostly support trial lawyers. According to BLS data, there is one paralegal for every 2.87 lawyers in the United States.
Court Reporters: Court reporters create written transcriptions for legal proceedings, such as trials and hearings. They are responsible for reproducing all dialogue word for word and describing the court events in an objective tone. Court reporters who work in legal settings must obtain a professional license in several states, although licensing requirements vary nationwide.
Secretaries and Administrative Assistants: Secretaries and administrative assistants handle an office's clerical and administrative duties. Day-to-day tasks often include filing, document preparation, scheduling, and personnel support. Secretaries and administrative assistants who work in law offices and firms generally have a background in paralegal studies, as well.
Information Clerks: Information clerks collect, manage, and retrieve data records for customers and colleagues. Virtually every professional industry welcomes the assistance of clerks. Legal occupations for these individuals include file clerks who work for large law offices and firms, or court clerks directly employed by local or federal courts.
|Occupation||Median Annual Salary||Projected Industry Growth (2016-26)|
|Paralegals and Legal Assistants||$50,410||15%|
|Secretaries and Administrative Assistants||$37,870||-5%|
Source: BLS, Oct. 2018
Making professional connections and learning about different approaches to paralegal studies are crucial to your success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below, you will find three of the country's most prominent organizations for professional paralegals. These companies host networking events, provide online training, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates.
- National Federation of Paralegal Associations: Founded in 1974 following a merger of eight paralegal associations, this nonprofit currently represents 55 associations nationwide and more than 9,000 members. The NFPA strives to implement state-by-state standards for paralegal professionals and monitors activities to ensure legal and ethical practices.
- National Association for Legal Assistants: With more than 18,000 members nationwide, the NALA exists the leading professional organization for paralegals and legal assistants in the United States. Members receive access to certification programs, in addition to the website's online career center, continuing ed webinars, and back issues of the Facts & Findings peer-reviewed journal.
- American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc.: The American Alliance of Paralegals was founded in 2003 to "advance the paralegal profession by focusing on the individual paralegal." The organization offers the American Alliance Certified Paralegal (AACP) credential; members also receive a complimentary subscription of the Alliance Echo magazine.
Financing Your Online Associate in Paralegal Studies
Despite the relative affordability of online programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.
Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.
Completing the FAFSA is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.
Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you will find for campus-based learning, but that has not always been the case. Learn about changes in aid, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.
Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We've curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.
Online college programs offer a flexible, affordable option for single parents interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We have compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.
Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.
- Best Online Paralegal Studies Programs of 2017
Rank School Location 1 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA 2 Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL 3 Georgia Military College Milledgeville, GA 4 Nassau Community College Garden City, NY 5 University of Northwestern Ohio Lima, OH 6 Madisonville Community College Madisonville, KY 7 Hutchinson Community College Hutchinson, KS 8 Alexandria Technical & Community College Alexandria, MN 9 Eastern Florida State College Cocoa, FL 10 Rio Salado College Tempe, AZ 11 Bay Path University Longmeadow, MA 12 Northwest Mississippi Community College Senatobia, MS 13 Minnesota State Community and Technical College Fergus Falls, MN 14 Tyler Junior College Tyler, TX 15 Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, KY 16 University of Alaska Fairbanks Fairbanks, AK 17 Lake Superior College Duluth, MN 18 Yavapai College Prescott, AZ 19 Pasco-Hernando State College New Port Richey, FL 20 Itawamba Community College Fulton, MS 21 Metropolitan Community College-Kansas City Kansas City, MO 22 Remington College-Dallas Campus Garland, TX 23 Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis, IN 24 Southern Utah University Cedar City, UT 25 Colorado Mountain College Glenwood Springs, CO 26 Blinn College Brenham, TX
- Best Online Paralegal Studies Programs of 2016
Rank School Location 1 Florida National University Hialeah, FL 2 Drury University Springfield, MO 3 Keiser University - Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL 4 Alexandria Technical & Community College Alexandria, MN 5 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA 6 Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, KY 7 Eastern Florida State College Cocoa, FL 8 Madisonville Community College Madisonville, KY 9 Southwestern Community College Sylva, NC 10 Tallahassee Community College Tallahassee, FL 11 Minnesota State Community and Technical College Fergus Falls, MN 12 Calumet College of Saint Joseph Whiting, IN 13 Mohave Community College Kingman, AZ 14 Yavapai College Prescott, AZ 15 Hutchinson Community College Hutchinson, KS 16 Northwest Mississippi Community College Senatobia, MS 17 Western Piedmont Community College Morganton, NC 18 Lake Superior College Duluth, MN 19 Holmes Community College Goodman, MS 20 Georgia Military College Martinez, GA 21 Tompkins Cortland Community College Dryden, NY 22 Marshalltown Community College Marshalltown, IA 23 Darton State College Albany, GA 24 Cerro Coso Community College Ridgecrest, CA 25 Clovis Community College Clovis, NM