Paralegal Schools in Alabama

The body of knowledge required to effectively perform legal support services can only come from a formal education in paralegal studies. As attorneys, corporations and government agencies work within an increasingly complex legal framework, the level of responsibility they expect paralegals to be able to take on has also increased. Law offices and other employers in Alabama have come to rely on paralegals with the kind of expertise that can only come from earning a certificate or degree in paralegal studies.

Whether you’re eager to get your paralegal career started or ready to make the next move so you can advance and specialize in your current position, you’re probably feeling a bit overwhelmed by the huge number of certificate and degree programs available to you.

Here, we’ve narrowed down the search by giving you our top picks of paralegal certificate and degree programs based on quality and accessibility. Whether online or on-campus, the very first thing to look for in making a selection is a basic measure of the quality of the school, and the programs that school offers. That’s why our selections only include programs with regional or national accreditation.

We don’t attempt to rank these schools since they all offer the assurance of a quality education that teaches to the highest standards. We’re just presenting your options here so you can reach out for additional information on cost and delivery options.

 

Auburn University

Auburn University is a 4-year public university located in Auburn, with an additional satellite campus in Montgomery.

Paralegal Outreach Certificate – On Campus (undergraduate, pre-degree certificate for high school graduates)

  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

We love this program for its convenient course schedule and minimal admission requirements.  The Paralegal Outreach Certificate program at Auburn can be completed over 12 sessions at the Auburn campus delivered on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. How’s that for convenience?  The only requirement for this program is a high school diploma or GED equivalent.

 

Auburn University at Montgomery

Auburn University at Montgomery (AUM) is a satellite campus, with their main campus located in Auburn.

Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies

Bachelor of Science in Justice and Public Safety – Legal Studies with paralegal minor

Master of Science in Justice and Public Safety – Judicial Administration with paralegal minor

  • ABA-approved
  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

What really stood out to us here is the variety of paralegal programs offered at AUM, and the fact that they’ve received ABA approval.  Whether you want to follow the general legal studies track or study judicial administration, you can broaden your field of study while still maintaining your focus on a paralegal career.

 

Calhoun Community College

Calhoun Community College is a 2-year public institution with campuses in Tanner and Huntsville.

Associate in Applied Science in Paralegal Studies

  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

What really stands out to us about this program is the inclusion of Alabama circuit court judges and federal bankruptcy trustees as faculty of the paralegal program at Calhoun.  These professionals bring an element of real-world experience that can’t be found in a textbook.

Students at Calhoun also have the option of participating in an internship.  Students are required to clock 150 hours of work in a paralegal capacity within a local law office or government organization.  The internship is completely elective; students can choose to take an additional course in either commercial law or bankruptcy and collections in lieu of the internship.

 

Columbia Southern University

Columbia Southern University is a 4-year private university located in Orange Beach.

Paralegal certificate

  • Accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission

The paralegal certificate program at Columbia Southern is offered via the Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) program, which is a government-funded scholarship program for military spouses.

What we really like about this program is that it can be done entirely online and finished in as little as 9 months, though complete online access to the program is available for 24 months.  Students also have the option of participating in an externship program, where the university places the student in a local law organization to work in a paralegal role.  And, there’s no need to worry about where you are geographically – externship opportunities are available nationwide!

 

Community College of the Air Force

Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) is located in Montgomery and serves as the degree-granting academic institution for the United States Air Force.

Associate of Applied Science – Paralegal

  • ABA-approved
  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

We selected this program because of the convenience it offers to service members interested in furthering their education. The paralegal program at CCAF is available to service members through the General Education Mobile (GEM) platform. GEM is based on a partnership between the CCAF and accredited schools in the area and gives service members the ability to access courses online.

 

Enterprise State Community College

Enterprise State Community College (ESCC) is a 2-year public school with campuses in Albertville, Andalusia, Enterprise, Mobile, and Ozark.

Associate in Applied Science in Paralegal Studies

Short-Term Certificate in Legal Assistant/Paralegal

  • ABA-approved
  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

The associate degree option takes about 2 years to complete and is approved by the American Bar Association.  The certificate option can be finished in less than a year, but students are required to take at least 18 general education credits before starting the paralegal certificate program.  General education prerequisite courses can be taken online, but core curriculum courses are campus-based.

What we really love about this program is that the internship opportunity isn’t limited to only degree-seeking students – it’s offered with both the degree option and the certificate option that includes just paralegal courses.  It’s important to note, though, that a minimum of 21 credit hours in core courses must be completed before becoming eligible for the internship.  The internship consists of 100 hours of practical experience in a legal setting.

 

Coastal Alabama Community College

Coastal Alabama Community College (CACC), previously known as Faulkner State Community College, is a 2-year public institution with campuses in Bay Minette, Fairhope, and Gulf Shores.

Associate of Applied Sciences degree in paralegal studies

  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

What stood out to us about this program is the convenience of courses.  In fact, both general education and core curriculum courses can be taken online and on-campus.  The program also offers an internship at a local law office or other organization in the final semester of the program.

 

Faulkner University

Faulkner University is a private Christian university.  The university’s main campus is in Montgomery, with extended campuses in Mobile, Birmingham, and Huntsville.

Associate of Science in Legal Studies

  • ABA-approved
  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

We love this program for the direct-study national certification preparation course that it offers.  Graduates of this program receive additional instruction in preparing for the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) -Paralegals’ national certification exam – the Certified Legal Assistant Examination.

Faulkner’s program offers a handful of core paralegal courses online, but most courses are still campus-based.  It is required that at least 10 credit hours be completed in a traditional classroom environment, but the campus course schedule is very flexible with courses offered days, evenings, and weekends.

 

Gadsden State Community College

Gadsden State Community College (GSCC) is a 2-year public school with campuses in Anniston, Centre, and Gadsden.

Associate in Applied Science Degree – Paralegal

  • ABA-approved
  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

The paralegal degree program is only offered at the Wallace Drive Gadsden campus location.

There is one really unique feature of this program that caught our attention, and that is that Gadsden State Community College is a qualified testing site for the Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) examination.  As a perk, students who complete the paralegal program at Gadsden State receive a full review course and supplemental preparation materials for national certification testing at no cost.

Courses are offered online and on-campus, though at least 10 credit hours of legal specialty courses have to be taken on-campus.

 

Jacksonville State University

Jacksonville State University (JSU) is a 2-year public institution located in Jacksonville.

Paralegal certificate

Advanced paralegal certificate

  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

JSU sponsors two paralegal certificate programs through the Community Engagement and Outreach program.  The only requirement to enroll is a high school diploma or GED equivalent.

What we really love about JSU’s program is that the study format is completely up to you. You can choose to complete the program entirely online, via DVD lecture and instruction, or via traditional textbook instruction.

Cost of the Paralegal Certificate program:

  • Online format – costs $7,734 and must be completed in 14 weeks
  • DVD format – costs $1,329 and must be completed in 1 year
  • Text-only format – costs $1,289 and must be completed in 1 year

It’s important to mention that the Advanced Paralegal Certificate program is an online-only program, and a paralegal certificate is required before enrolling.  Total cost of the advanced program is $1,800.

 

Samford University

Samford University is a private university located in Birmingham.

Post-associate Paralegal Studies Certificate

  • ABA-approved
  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

What stands out about this program is that it’s a bit more selective than most in its admission criteria.  The certificate program at Samford is a post-degree program, meaning that students must currently hold either an associate or bachelor degree.  In addition, students are required to provide a letter of recommendation from an academic professor or employment supervisor, a current resume, and a personal essay.  Students are then selected for an interview with the Director of Paralegal Studies.

Samford does offer conveniently scheduled courses which can be taken online or in the evenings, or a combination of both.

 

South University

South University is a 4-year academic institution with campuses spanning nine states, including one in Montgomery, Alabama.

Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies

  • ABA approved
  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

We love that this degree program encompasses a capstone externship course.  The externship at South University gives students the opportunity to gain real-world experience doing things like preparing legal documents, interviewing witnesses, and working side-by-side with attorneys.  South University places paralegal students in a variety of different legal environments, including law firms, real estate companies, and government agencies.

Students can complete most courses online, but at least 4 legal specialty courses have to be done on-campus.  Campus schedules are convenient, though, with classes being offered in the evenings and on weekends.