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An online bachelor's in paralegal studies can help graduates launch a career as a paralegal or legal assistants. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), paralegals work in the government, healthcare, and finance industries. Graduates can also apply the skills they learn in a bachelor's in paralegal studies program to other careers.
The legal field offers high median annual salaries and projected job growth. To help degree-seekers find their best path into this field, this page explores bachelor's in paralegal studies programs and career possibilities for paralegal program graduates.
Check out our bachelor's in paralegal studies program guide for more information.
What Are the Best Online Bachelor's in Paralegal Studies Programs of 2021? Here Are Our Top Five:
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|1||Florida Gulf Coast University||Fort Myers, FL|
|2||Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College||Saint Mary of the Woods, IN|
|3||William Woods University||Fulton, MO|
|4||Liberty University||Lynchburg, VA|
|5||Mississippi College||Clinton, MS|
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2021 Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Paralegal Studies Programs
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Florida Gulf Coast University
|Fort Myers, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 48%||
Florida Gulf Coast University -- located in Fort Myers -- provides more than 100 academic programs, including a partially online bachelor of science in legal studies. This comprehensive program prepares graduates for law school or work as paralegals and legal assistants. Learners access online coursework through the Canvas platform, and they can complete all upper-division course requirements from a distance.
The 120-credit curriculum contains required coursework like torts, contracts, and legal research and writing. Candidates personalize their studies by choosing from electives like courtroom techniques and alternative dispute resolution. They may also develop office administration skills and learn how to oversee real estate transactions.
Like many bachelor's in paralegal studies programs, FGCU requires applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores. Distance learners can apply for a variety of financial aid, including scholarships for Florida residents and tuition waivers for out-of-state students.
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
|Saint Mary of the Woods, IN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 57%||
Founded in 1841 as a women's institute, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College now offers coeducational programs to about 1,000 students each year. Degree options include a fully online bachelor of arts in paralegal studies that prepares candidates to assist lawyers with research, interviews, drafting of briefs, and other case preparation tasks. SMWC maintains institutional membership with the American Association for Paralegal Education.
Major coursework covers topics like theories of liability; contracts and commercial transactions; and law, ethics, and society. Students also learn about civil litigation processes in state and federal courts, developing the skills needed to conduct preliminary investigations and client interviews. Participants fill out remaining credit requirements with electives, choosing from options like environmental law and intellectual property.
To pursue this online bachelor's degree in paralegal studies, applicants must submit a free application. Individuals also have the option to submit ACT or SAT scores.
William Woods University
|Fulton, MO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 58%||
William Woods University offers more than 20 online undergraduate and graduate degrees, including a bachelor of arts in paralegal studies. Asynchronous classes run an accelerated eight weeks, allowing candidates to graduate in under four years.
Courses include electronic legal research, evidence and fact gathering, and probate and estate planning. Students develop office administration skills with an emphasis on professional ethics. They also gain hands-on experience through a virtual practicum.
To qualify for admission, first-year students need to graduate in the top 50% of their high school class and have a minimum 2.5 GPA. They must also score at least 19 on the ACT or 900 on the SAT. This online bachelor's in paralegal studies program is an institutional member of the American Association for Paralegal Education.
|Lynchburg, VA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 50%||
Based in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty University has offered distance education since 1985. Today, the institution delivers over 400 online certificates and degrees, including a bachelor of science in paralegal studies. Courses span eight weeks and students can fulfill up to 75% of their degree requirements with transfer credits. Participants typically graduate within 3.5 years.
Courses include American government, foundations of law, and criminal practice and procedure. Students also explore specialized topics like real estate transactions and corporate and organizational law. Graduates can go on to work as law clerks, legal assistants, and claims adjusters.
This online bachelor's in paralegal studies program requires applicants to possess a minimum 2.0 GPA. Liberty offers merit scholarships and in-state grants.
|Clinton, MS||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 53%||
Mississippi College maintains a flagship campus in Clinton, serving about 5,000 students each year. The school offers over 80 undergraduate degrees, including an online bachelor of science in paralegal studies. Participants gain the research and communication skills necessary to work for government agencies, corporate legal departments, and private law firms.
The curriculum of this bachelor's in paralegal studies program contains major coursework in civil litigation, family law, and wills and estates. Students also learn to conduct legal research as part of the case preparation process. They can access networking and professional development opportunities by engaging with Pi Gamma Mu -- the national social studies honor society.
Application materials include official academic transcripts and ACT, SAT, or CLT scores. MC funds a variety of scholarships, including those that target transfer students.
|Stevenson, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 56%||
Stevenson University champions accessible distance education by emphasizing small class sizes and one-on-one advising. Online students can enroll in a career-focused bachelor of science in legal studies program to prepare for work as law librarians, compliance officers, and paralegals. Courses span an accelerated eight weeks, with students engaging in mostly remote learning. However, some classes do use a hybrid delivery format with some in-person requirements.
Like other bachelor's in paralegal studies programs, this degree track covers core topics like torts, estates/trusts, and civil litigation and pleading. Students also take a business law class to explore the relationship between organizations and government legal systems. For candidates who already possess an undergraduate degree, the university offers a second bachelor's program.
Applicants must possess at least 15 transferable college credits earned with a minimum 2.0 GPA. Stevenson's bachelor's in legal studies program is the only four-year program approved by the State of Maryland American Bar Association.
|Virginia Beach, VA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 59%||
Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Regent University offers remote academic programs through Blackboard. Its undergraduate catalog covers 10 broad fields of study and includes a fully online bachelor of science in paralegal studies program. Through a flexible curriculum, students gain the technology and organizational management skills needed to work as administrators, research assistants, and community advocates.
The 39-credit major curriculum includes classes such as introduction to the judicial system and investigation in litigation. This online bachelor's in paralegal studies program also provides an overview of common practice areas, including family, criminal, personal injury, real estate, and immigration law. Asynchronous classes span eight weeks.
Regent does not require GPA minimums or ACT/SAT scores. In addition to government funding and endowed institutional awards, students can apply for scholarships through the School of Law.
University of Providence
|Great Falls, MT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 46%||
The University of Providence -- in Great Falls, Montana -- enrolls about 1,000 students in 60 academic programs annually. The school's catalog includes 10 online degrees, including a bachelor of science in legal and paralegal studies. Approved by the American Bar Association, this 120-credit program prepares candidates to occupy administrative roles in corporate compliance departments, legal aid organizations, and financial institutions.
Bachelor's in paralegal studies candidates develop skills related to legal analysis, research, and writing. They can use electives to specialize in a practice area, like constitutional or debtor-creditor law. This program requires students to complete an internship, in which they gain practical experience in a judge's office or law firm.
UP maintains fall and spring entry dates. First-year applicants must submit ACT or SAT scores. The university powers distance education with Moodle.
Roger Williams University
|Bristol, RI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 70%||
Roger Williams University is based in Bristol, Rhode Island, and delivers affordable remote programs in 28 areas of study. Degree options include an online bachelor of science in paralegal studies that enable candidates to pursue careers in government, corporate, and nonprofit organizations. To maintain approval from the American Bar Association, RWC requires distance learners to take at least 10 credits of legal specialty courses in a traditional classroom setting.
Required coursework consists of professional research and writing, law in contemporary society, and the litigation process. Bachelor's in paralegal studies candidates also take a class in emerging technologies in the legal environment, learning to use software and internet packages to conduct investigations and perform litigation support.
RWU welcomes all learners and does not require an application fee, a personal essay, or standardized test scores. Online students access 10-week courses through the Desire2Learn platform.
SUNY College of Technology at Canton
|Canton, NY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 40%||
SUNY Canton supports more than 3,000 students every year, many of whom obtain their credentials remotely through Blackboard. Distance learners can enroll in a bachelor of science in legal studies program. Participants may complete a fully online curriculum or create a hybrid experience by taking certain classes on campus.
Classes cover topics like foundations of financial accounting, business law, and advanced legal writing. The curriculum also contains a civil litigation course, which teaches candidates the jurisdiction and standing criteria litigants must meet to enter the legal system. The program culminates with a semester-long internship.
Students who want to extend their education can pursue a dual-degree option; this accelerated track enables candidates to obtain an online bachelor's degree in paralegal studies at SUNY Canton and a law degree from the University of Buffalo in six years.
What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Paralegal Studies Program?
To succeed in a bachelor's in paralegal studies program, students need strong communication, research, and technology skills.
To succeed in a bachelor's in paralegal studies program, students need strong communication, research, and technology skills. Most programs require 120 credits, and full-time students can graduate in four years.
Most bachelor's in paralegal studies award a BS or a BA degree. In general, BA degrees feature humanities electives and emphasize theoretical and critical thinking skills, whereas BS degrees feature mathematics and science electives and focus on quantitative and practical skills.
Despite the differences in these degrees, graduates can pursue similar careers. Many programs offer internships and practica for students to put their training into action.
Concentrations are another opportunity for students to focus on a specific legal area, or to connect their legal training to another field entirely. Possible concentrations include litigation and corporate law, pre-law, business, and human resource management.
Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.
What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Paralegal Studies Program?
Bachelor's in paralegal studies curricula vary by school and degree type, but most programs cover similar core topics. The following list outlines some common courses in this type of program.
- Legal Research
Legal research courses provide learners with the most effective research methods when looking up case laws and regulations. Students also learn the leading technologies, media, sources, and citation methods for legal research.
- Real Estate Transactions
This course covers the sales processes in real estate. Covered topics include contracts, foreclosures, inheritance measures, and property laws. Students learn how to complete legal real estate documents, settle disputes, and search for titles and property boundaries.
- Family Law
In this course, students learn about legal definitions, regulations, and major disputes pertaining to families. Covered topics include marriages, parent and child relationships, divorce, and asset and ownership divisions when families are in dispute.
- Legal Communications
In legal communications courses, students learn how to prepare legal documents like case briefs, pleadings, complaints, and various notices. Covered topics include legal writing and crafting legal arguments.
- Legal Ethics
Legal ethics courses explore the major ethical issues involved in the law profession. Learners examine the professional responsibilities of paralegals, lawyers, and judges. Students also learn about the development of legal standards and the consequences for failing to adhere to them.
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What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Paralegal Studies Degree?
Earning a bachelor's in paralegal studies can help graduates pursue various in-demand careers. The BLS projects 10% job growth for paralegals between 2019 and 2029, a result of the gradual decreasing costs of legal services and an expansion of paralegal duties.
Discover what you can do with a bachelor's in paralegal studies. Learn more about legal studies careers.
Paralegals support lawyers and other legal professionals by completing legal documents, conducting legal research, and obtaining evidence and statements for cases. Paralegals may specialize in litigation, real estate, family law, and corporate law.
- Arbitrator or Mediator
Arbitrators and mediators act as the middle ground between multiple parties in a dispute. They keep conversations orderly and on task, and hear multiple viewpoints to help determine a mutual resolution to the issue.
- Court Reporters
Court reporters record transcriptions for court proceedings and various legal meetings. They use specialized technology to transcribe dialogue, create copies for legal parties and officials, and make notes on gestures and actions.
- Title Examiners
Title examiners usually specialize in real estate law and work with titles, typically performing title searches, investigating issues, and compiling information for legal and insurance purposes. These professionals may also work with mortgages and create records for public and private use.
- Occupational Health and Safety Specialist
Occupational health and safety specialists perform many tasks surrounding workplace safety. They may work with rules and regulations committees, investigate workplace safety concerns, and consult with organizations on how to comply with health regulations.
Paralegal Studies Not for You? Check Out These Related Careers.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Paralegal Studies Programs
- Is a bachelor's in paralegal studies worth it?
A bachelor's in paralegal studies can help graduates begin several promising careers. The BLS projects 10% growth in the paralegal field between 2019 and 2029, more than twice as fast as the average for all occupations. The BLS also projects 5% growth for all legal professions in that same time frame — more than 60,000 new jobs.
- What can I do with a bachelor's in paralegal studies?
Most graduates work as paralegals. However, graduates can also pursue related legal professions and various business and financial occupations. Graduates can also enroll in law school and study to become lawyers.
- Do you need a bachelor's degree to become a paralegal?
Paralegals do not need a bachelor's in paralegal studies, although many employers prefer candidates with that advanced training. According to the BLS, since many employers require a bachelor's degree, prospective paralegals often pursue a degree in a different discipline and then get a certificate in paralegal studies.
- How much money can I make with a bachelor's in paralegal studies?
The earning potential for graduates with a bachelor's in paralegal studies varies by employer, industry, and location. According to the BLS, the paralegal profession paid a median annual salary of $51,740 in 2019, with the top 10% of earners making over $82,500.
- What are the highest paying jobs with a bachelor's in paralegal studies?
The highest paying job for graduates with a bachelor's in paralegal studies depends on experience and training. For example, occupational health and safety specialists earned a median annual salary of $70,480 in 2019, but several business and financial careers exceeded that figure. Some paralegal graduates may qualify for management careers, which boasted a median annual wage of $105,660 in 2019.