Best Online Paralegal Programs 2024

The legal profession depends on paralegals. Discover the best online paralegal studies programs to prepare for this in-demand career.
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Updated on February 21, 2024
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2024

Best Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in Paralegal Studies

Paralegals research case law, draft legal briefs, and interview potential clients and witnesses. These trained legal professionals assist attorneys in specialties like civil law, litigation, family law, and criminal law. Paralegals earn a median salary of $59,200, according to May 2022 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Want to become a paralegal? An online bachelor’s in paralegal studies can help you stand out in a competitive job market. Find the right program for you with our ranking of the best online paralegal programs.

Featured Paralegal Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Online Paralegal Programs Rankings Summary

Jump to a school below using the links in the "School" column.

Rank School In-State Tuition Out-of-State Tuition Acceptance Rate
#1 Loyola University Chicago
Chicago, IL
$46,410 $46,410 77%
#2 Roger Williams University
Bristol, RI
$37,025 $37,025 91%
#3 Florida Gulf Coast University
Fort Myers, FL
$4,191 $22,328 89%
#4 Madonna University
Livonia, MI
$24,900 $24,900 52%
#5 Hampton University
Hampton, VA
$26,198 $26,198 80%

2024 Online Paralegal Programs

We use datasets from sources like the National Center for Education Statistics to inform the data for these schools. BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site. from our partners appear among these rankings and are indicated as such. All data is current as of the date this article was published. Program-specific information may vary.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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#1 Best Online Paralegal Programs 2024

Loyola University Chicago

  • Chicago, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $1,240
Out-of-State | $1,240

Credits to Graduate: 120

Loyola University Chicago has been offering online programs since 1992. A private Jesuit university, Loyola Online offers rigorous courses taught by high-quality professors. With 15 credits in paralegal studies, you can earn an online bachelor's in paralegal studies.

You can take eight-week courses like corporate topics for litigation paralegals.

All online students receive an online student orientation before beginning their program. You have access to academic support services like an academic library, tutoring center, and writing center. Enrolled students can use career services and the wellness center, an online hub with health tips, information, and resources.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$46,410
Out-of-state
$46,410
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$18,990
Out-of-state
$18,990
Retention Rate
88%
Acceptance Rate
77%
Students Enrolled
17,498
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#2 Best Online Paralegal Programs 2024

Roger Williams University

  • Bristol, RI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $433
Out-of-State | $433

Credits to Graduate: 61 for associates; 121 for bachelor's

At Roger Williams University, you can earn an associate degree or a bachelor's degree in paralegal studies online. The program is approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). Courses include legal research and writing, emerging technologies in the legal environment, and criminal law for the paralegal. The program is offered entirely online. 

Because the school is ABA certified, you will have to take at least 9 credits of legal specialty courses with synchronous instruction. You can still take these courses online, but you will have to meet with your class at specific times and days.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$37,025
Out-of-state
$37,025
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$17,476
Out-of-state
$17,476
Retention Rate
81%
Acceptance Rate
91%
Students Enrolled
4,529
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
43% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
#3 Best Online Paralegal Programs 2024

Florida Gulf Coast University

  • Fort Myers, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $204
Out-of-State | $839

Credits to Graduate: 120

You can complete an associate degree or bachelor's in legal studies at Florida Gulf Coast University. The program prepares you to become a paralegal or to continue on to law school after graduation. You will learn about the legal system, law, and research.

Enrolled students can opt to focus on an area of interest like criminal law, family law, and real estate. All students at Florida Gulf Coast must also complete volunteer service-learning hours in order to graduate. 

As an online student, you will receive technical support. You will also have access to online academic support like tutoring. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$4,191
Out-of-state
$22,328
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$6,974
Out-of-state
$28,170
Retention Rate
82%
Acceptance Rate
89%
Students Enrolled
15,909
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#4 Best Online Paralegal Programs 2024

Madonna University

  • Livonia, MI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $525
Out-of-State | $525

Credits to Graduate: 120

With over 2,000 paralegal graduates, obtaining a bachelor's in paralegal studies from Madonna University will connect you with a strong alumni network. All your instructors will be experienced attorneys. 

Madonna University's liberal arts paralegal program is offered entirely online. However, you will have to complete a minimum of 9 credit hours through synchronous instruction since it is an ABA-approved program.

Coursework includes law office management, legal research and writing, and litigation. You will also need to complete an internship. Enrolled students can choose from electives like domestic relations, intellectual property, and probate estates.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$24,900
Out-of-state
$24,900
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$16,380
Out-of-state
$16,380
Retention Rate
68%
Acceptance Rate
52%
Students Enrolled
2,444
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
72% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#5 Best Online Paralegal Programs 2024

Hampton University

  • Hampton, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $300
Out-of-State | $300

Credits to Graduate: 120

You can earn a four-year bachelor's in paralegal studies from Hampton University entirely online. The liberal arts program is designed to prepare you to become a paralegal or continue on to law school. 

Hampton University has a 15-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio. Coursework includes litigation and trial practice, contemporary legal ethics, and law in society. Students must also complete an internship before graduation. 

Online students have access to the same resources as in-person students, including the library, career services, and academic advising. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$26,198
Out-of-state
$26,198
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$13,099
Out-of-state
$13,099
Retention Rate
81%
Acceptance Rate
80%
Students Enrolled
3,317
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
12% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

How We Rank Schools

To create this ranking, BestColleges sourced the most recent data available from the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Department of Education College Scorecard. We then ranked each school according to the top variables college students selected in our College Choice and Admissions Survey. To learn more, check out our full rankings methodology or read the summary below.

Ranking Methodology Summary

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To qualify for our rankings lists, each school must be an accredited public or private, nonprofit institution. Each eligible school was then ranked based on a formula measuring:

  • Affordability (30%)
  • Student outcomes (30%)
  • Reputation (20%)
  • Diversity and social mobility (20%)

In addition, we only included colleges with graduation rates in the top third of all online colleges.

What Is Paralegal Studies?

In an online paralegal studies program, you’ll explore the American legal system and build career-focused legal writing and research skills. Many programs also offer specialized courses to prepare for corporate law, family law, or litigation careers.

Is paralegal studies a good fit for you? Check out free online paralegal courses before investing in a degree. And if you want to jump-start your career, look for accelerated paralegal programs. Already have a bachelor’s degree? Consider a paralegal graduate certificate.

What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Paralegal Studies?

With a degree in paralegal studies, you’ll qualify for jobs as a paralegal or legal assistant. And while an associate degree can get you in the door, a bachelor’s degree helps you stand out from the competition.

Paralegals often work for private law firms, corporations, nonprofit organizations, or public defender offices. Your paralegal degree can also lead to a career as a mediator, court reporter, or project manager. Bachelor's in paralegal studies programs may also prepare you for a graduate degree in law or criminal justice.

Possible Careers with an Online Bachelor's in Paralegal Studies
Job Median Pay (2022) Projected Percent Change in Employment (2022-2032)
Paralegals and Legal Assistants $59,200 4%
Court Reporters $63,560 3%
Mediators $64,030 5%
Project Management Specialists $95,370 6%
Source: BLS

How Do I Get Paralegal Certifications or Credentials?

You can showcase your paralegal knowledge and skills with a professional certification. These voluntary certifications demonstrate your qualifications to employers. Some employers may prefer to hire certified paralegals.

Several organizations offer certifications, including the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), the National Association for Legal Support Professionals, and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations.

Professional Paralegal (PP)

You’ll need a bachelor’s in paralegal studies or five years of paralegal experience to become a certified professional paralegal. Then, you’ll pass a four-part exam on communications, legal procedures, legal ethics, and substantive law to receive the credential.

Accredited Legal Professional (ALP)

You'll become an accredited legal professional with this certification. You need a bachelor's in paralegal to qualify for this certification, and you’ll need to pass an exam that covers administrative skills.

Certified Paralegal (CP) or Certified Legal Assistant (CLP)

If you attend an ABA-approved program, you’ll qualify for the certified paralegal credential, offered by NALA. You’ll need to pass an exam that covers civil litigation, contracts, corporate law, legal writing, and other topics.

Core Registered Paralegal or Registered Paralegal

A bachelor’s degree meets the education and experience requirement for this credential. You’ll need to pass the Paralegal CORE Competency Exam, which tests candidates on their legal skills.

Advanced Certified Paralegal

Certified paralegals can apply for the advanced certified paralegal credential by completing coursework in criminal litigation, family law, trial practice, and other subjects. Candidates must pass an assessment to receive the credential.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Being a Paralegal?

Paralegals benefit from above-average salaries and a growing number of job openings. Professionals in this field earned a median pay of $59,200 in May 2022, according to BLS data, well above the median wage for all occupations of $46,310. Additionally, the BLS projects 38,000 job openings annually for paralegals and legal assistants from 2022-2032.

What about the cons? Paralegals often work in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment. Without pursuing a legal degree, career advancement opportunities can be limited. Paralegals may also need to switch jobs to see substantial raises.

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Paralegal Programs

How long does it take to become a paralegal?

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Becoming a paralegal can take anywhere from six months to four years. The exact length of a paralegal program depends on the credential and your prior education.

If you already have a bachelor’s degree, you can pursue a graduate certificate in paralegal studies, which typically takes 6-12 months. You can also enter the field with a two-year associate degree or a four-year bachelor’s in paralegal studies. Many employers prefer to hire candidates with a bachelor’s degree.

What is the highest-paying paralegal job?

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The highest-paid paralegals report a median pay of over $95,000 per year, according to May 2022 BLS data. That’s significantly more than the median wage for all paralegals, which reached $59,200 in 2022.

Your earning potential as a paralegal depends on your degree, location, and industry. For example, paralegals in finance or federal government jobs reported median salaries of over $72,000. Those working for state government agencies earned around $50,000.

What type of paralegal is most in demand?

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The most in-demand practice areas for paralegals include litigation, corporate law, and intellectual property, according to LinkedIn. Bankruptcy and e-discovery also ranked among the most in-demand specialties. In these focus areas, paralegals provide critical support to attorneys.

Paralegals can specialize their training during a bachelor’s program. Pursuing a professional certification can also help paralegals move into high-demand fields.

Is it stressful to be a paralegal?

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Yes, it can be stressful to be a paralegal. That’s because law offices tend to be fast-paced environments. Depending on the workplace, paralegals may support multiple attorneys, which can add to their stress levels. And, in many legal specialties, paralegals must operate under tight deadlines.

However, paralegals primarily work normal business hours in an office, which can mean having a predictable schedule.

Do you need a bachelor's to be a paralegal?

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No, you can become a paralegal with an associate degree in paralegal studies. However, a bachelor’s degree offers greater preparation for legal careers through its in-depth focus on research, writing, and legal specialties.

In addition, many law firms prefer to hire paralegals who hold a bachelor’s degree — and some firms require a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree also prepares you for graduate-level programs. As a result, earning a bachelor’s in paralegal studies can be a good career investment.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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