Paralegal Schools in Florida

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 Florida have come to rely on paralegals with the kind of expertise that can only come from earning a certificate or degree in paralegal studies.

Want to escape the grind of that dead-end job and get the respect and money you deserve? Just graduating high school and dreaming of strolling into the lobby of a Miami law firm every morning to start your day? Maybe you realized that dream years ago and now you’re looking to climb the ladder and specialize so you can prove you’re in it for the long haul.

If you’re interested in a career in law, there’s no shortage of opportunities in Florida… and no shortage of schools offering paralegal programs either. Finding options isn’t the issue, narrowing them down to find the right fit is more the challenge.

We’ve tried to simplify that task a bit by giving you a list of our favorite programs offered at top schools throughout Florida and online. Our selections are based solely on the quality of the programs, so we only include schools that are regionally or nationally accredited.

 

Barry University

Bachelor of Science (BS) in Administration, Legal Studies Specialization – On-campus and online

Legal Studies Certificate – On-campus (undergraduate, pre-degree)

Legal Studies Post-Baccalaureate Certificate – On-campus

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

Barry University is a 4-year university in Miami, with additional campus locations in Orlando and Palm Beach. The bachelor degree option includes 24 credits in the legal studies specialization. The core curriculum can be completed entirely online, while the legal studies courses are only offered on-campus. On-campus courses are offered in the evenings and on Saturdays and typically only meet once per week, making it the perfect fit for working students.  Students get all the coursework they need to qualify to sit for the Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) exam, and graduate with the credential in hand.

Both the undergraduate paralegal certificate and the post-baccalaureate certificate include the same 24 credits in the legal studies specialization. Students who earn a post-baccalaureate certificate are eligible to sit for CLA exam too.

 

Broward College

Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies – On-campus

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

Broward College is a 4-year public college in Fort Lauderdale, with additional campus locations in Davie, Pembroke Pines, Coconut Creek, Miramar, Weston, and Dania Beach.

The paralegal associate degree at Broward College is a 64-credit program with an internship that gives you the kind of real world experience you need to enter the field with confidence.  Paralegal courses are only offered at the Coconut Creek and Pembroke Pines campus locations.  Courses are conveniently offered during the daytime and in the evenings.

 

City College

Associate of Science (AS), Legal Assistant/Paralegal – On-campus

  • Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools

City College is a 2-year public school headquartered in Fort Lauderdale.  Additional campus locations include Orlando, Gainesville, Hollywood, and Miami. We like the fact that this program encompasses a wide variety of core topics relevant to paralegals, including court proceedings and litigation, immigration law, real estate law, torts, and contracts.  The paralegal program is only available at the Orlando and Fort Lauderdale campuses.

The program also offers an externship where students get an opportunity for real-world experience in a legal setting.  Many students work in the Public Defender’s office or the State Attorney’s office during their externship.

 

College of Central Florida

Associate of Science (AS) in Paralegal Studies – On-campus

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

The College of Central Florida is a 4-year school with campus locations in Ocala, Lecanto, and Chiefland. What’s unique about the program here is that the curriculum is taught by a highly experienced faculty of lawyers. The program is 64 credits in length and gives students the added benefit of participating in a working internship experience.

As an added perk, students who earn their associate degree are able to transfer seamlessly to the Bachelor of Applied Science in Business and Organizational Management program.

 

Daytona State College

Associate of Science (AS) in Paralegal Studies/Legal Assisting – On-campus

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

Daytona State College is a 4-year institution located in Daytona Beach, with additional campus locations in DeLand, Deltona, New Smyrna Beach, and Palm Coast. The paralegal degree program at Daytona State College is a 64-credit program. Students attending full-time can complete the program in two years.

As a capstone, students are given the option of taking a law office management course or participating in an internship.  Graduates of the program are offered guaranteed enrollment in the Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management program.

 

Eastern Florida State College

Associate of Science (AS) in Paralegal Studies – On-campus

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

Eastern Florida State College is a 4-year public school with campuses in Cocoa, Melbourne, Palm Bay, and Titusville. What really stands out about the program offered here is the large variety of legal specializations available to students. Students can choose to specialize in litigation with courses like bankruptcy, torts, and family law. Students interested in the transactional law specialization would take courses that cover wills and trusts, probate, and real estate transactions.

Courses are available on the Melbourne campus during the daytime and evening for added convenience and flexibility. A full semester-long internship is also part of the program.

 

Florida Atlantic University

Paralegal Certificate – On-campus

  • Non-credit continuing education
  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Florida Atlantic University is a 4-year public university with campuses in Boca Raton, Dania Beach, Davie, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Pierce, and Jupiter.  This program stands out for its convenient course schedule and fast pace. If you’re attending full-time, the 12-course certificate program can be completed in just one year.  Classes are scheduled during the evenings and meet three times per week to accommodate the busy schedules of working students.

 

Florida Gulf Coast University

Paralegal Certificate – Online

Advanced Paralegal Certificate – Online

  • Non-credit continuing education
  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Florida Gulf Coast University is a 4-year public school in Fort Myers. The paralegal certificate is offered online in two 7-week consecutive sessions, while the advanced paralegal certificate is offered in one 7-week online session. Students enrolling in the advanced paralegal certificate program must already have a basic certificate to apply.

The total cost of the paralegal certificate program, including books, tuition, and Westlaw access, is $1,740.  The total cost of the advanced paralegal certificate program is $1,800.

 

Florida International University

Legal Assistant Certificate – On-campus or online

  • Non-credit continuing education
  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Florida International University is a 4-year public university in Miami. What’s unique about the paralegal certificate program here is that it can be completed entirely online, entirely on-campus, or a combination of both!  Campus-based courses are conveniently offered in the evenings and Saturday mornings.

The program is 10 weeks long and includes specialty workshops in the most relevant areas of law, such as bankruptcy and litigation.  Enrollment is open throughout the year with start dates in January, May, and August.

 

Florida SouthWestern State College

Associate of Science (AS) in Paralegal Studies – On-campus

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

Florida SouthWestern State College is a 4-year public college located in Fort Myers, with additional campus locations in Naples and LaBelle. The AS in Paralegal Studies is a 64-credit program offered on a full-time and part-time basis.  The program includes core topics like constitutional law, legal research and writing, litigation, torts, and law office management.

One of the coolest aspects is the capstone project, a 135-hour internship, in which students get the opportunity to serve in a paralegal role in a local law office or government agency.

 

Florida State College at Jacksonville

Florida State College at Jacksonville is a 4-year public college located in Jacksonville.

Associate in Science (AS) in Paralegal Studies – On-campus

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

What caught our attention about this program is that it’s the only ABA-approved paralegal program in northern Florida. The program is 64 credits in length and culminates with a 180-hour professional internship.  Students who are unable to participate in the internship are placed into a simulated law office class.  Core curriculum includes courses like probate, estate planning, tort law, preparation of legal documents, and conducting legal research.

 

Gulf Coast State College

Gulf Coast State College is a 4-year school located in Panama City.  The college has additional campus locations in Port St. Joe and Southport.

Associate of Science (AS) in Legal Assisting/Paralegal Studies – On-campus

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

The AS in Paralegal Studies is a flexible 64-credit program.  Many of the prerequisite courses can be taken online.  All of the core paralegal courses are taught on the Panama City campus, with most courses offered during the evening hours.

 

Hillsborough Community College

Hillsborough Community College is a 2-year community college in Tampa.

Associate of Science (AS) in Paralegal Studies – On-campus

Advanced Technical Certificate – Paralegal Studies – On-campus (post-baccalaureate)

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

Hillsborough Community College offers two program options – an associate degree in paralegal studies and a paralegal certificate.  The associate degree is a 64-credit program, while the certificate is a 21-credit program.  There are no enrollment requirements for the degree program, other than a high school diploma or GED.  The certificate program, however, is only open to students who have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

 

Indian River State College

Indian River State College is a 4-year public college in Fort Pierce, with additional campuses in St. Lucie West, Vero Beach, Stuart, and Okeechobee.

Associate of Science (AS) in Paralegal Studies – On-campus

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

The AS in Paralegal Studies is a 64-credit program.  The core paralegal curriculum is 25 credits and includes courses like survey of law, civil litigation, and corporate law.  An additional 25 elective credits are required as well, which gives students an opportunity to focus on certain areas of law, such as criminal law, constitutional law, or family law.  An optional internship is also offered with the program.

Courses are offered at the Treasure Coast Public Safety Training Complex on the main campus in Fort Pierce.

 

Keiser University

Keiser University is a non-profit university with multiple campus locations throughout Florida.  The university’s main campus is located in West Palm Beach.

Associate of Arts (AA) in Paralegal Studies – On-campus or online

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

What stands out about this program is its accessibility.  The AA in Paralegal Studies program is available at the Clearwater, Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Lakeland, Melbourne, Miami, New Port Richey, Orlando, Pembroke Pines, Port St. Lucie, Sarasota, Tallahassee, Tampa, and West Palm Beach campus locations.

The program is also offered through the Fort Lauderdale Online Division.  Students can complete the program entirely on-campus at one of the above locations, entirely online, or a combination of both!

 

Miami Dade College

Miami Dade College is a 4-year public college with campuses in Hialeah, Homestead, Miami, and Doral.

Associate of Science (AS) in Paralegal Studies – On-campus

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

What’s unique about this program is that all core paralegal courses are taught by experienced attorneys.  The program consists of 64 credit hours and is available on the Wolfson Campus in Miami.  Most students who enroll in the program work full-time, so many of the legal specialty courses are offered in the evenings.  As an added benefit, students are trained in the use of software applications, including Westlaw.

 

Nova Southeastern University

Nova Southeastern University is a 4-year private university with a main campus in Fort Lauderdale.  Additional campus locations include Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami-Kendall, Miramar, Orlando, Palm Beach, and Tampa.

Bachelor of Science (BS) in Paralegal Studies – On-campus

Paralegal Studies Minor – Bachelor Degree – On-campus

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

The paralegal programs offered at Nova Southeastern University stand out as highly-rated ABA-approved programs.  One of the most unique features is that students actually participate in a mock trial event and get the opportunity to meet with judges and legal analysts.

The bachelor degree program consists of 138 credits, including 45 credits in core paralegal topics.  The program also includes an internship in the last semester.

 

Palm Beach State College

Palm Beach State College is a 4-year college with campus locations in Belle Glade, Boca Raton, Lake Worth, Loxahatchee, and Palm Beach Gardens.

Associate in Science (AS) – Paralegal – On-campus

Paralegal Advanced Technical Certificate – On-campus (post-baccalaureate)

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

Palm Beach State College offers both a degree and certificate program in paralegal studies.  The associate degree requires 64 credits and covers core legal topics such as immigration law, estate law, business law, and the court system. Specialization courses available include family law and criminal litigation.  The paralegal certificate is a 21-credit program available to students who have a bachelor degree from any field of study.

Most courses are available on-campus in the daytime and evenings.  The only core paralegal courses that can be completed online are bankruptcy law and immigration law.

 

Seminole State College of Florida

Seminole State College of Florida is a 4-year school with campuses in Sanford, Oviedo, Heathrow, and Atlamonte Springs.

Associate of Science (AS) in Legal Assistant/Paralegal – On-campus

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

The AS in Legal Assistant/Paralegal is a 60-credit, ABA-approved program.  Students can take many of the prerequisite general education courses online.  However, per ABA requirements, at least 10 credit hours of legal specialty courses must be taken in a traditional classroom setting.  Currently, the only legal specialty course which is offered fully online is Business Law.  Legal specialty courses are conveniently scheduled during the daytime and evening hours.  Classes are currently not available on Saturdays.

 

South University

South University is a 4-year university with campuses in nine different states, including a campus in West Palm Beach.

Associate of Science (AS) in Paralegal Studies – On-campus

Bachelor of Science (BS) in Legal Studies – On-campus

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

What stands out about this program is the variety of paralegal courses included with the associate and bachelor degree programs.  Some of the core courses include civil litigation, family law, estate planning, probate law, and criminal law with electives in worker’s compensation law and administrative law.  The program also boasts a capstone internship in the last semester.

 

Southern Technical College

Southern Technical College is a 2-year private college with campuses in Auburndale, Bonita Springs, Brandon, Fort Myers, Mount Dora, Orlando, Port Charlotte, Sanford, and Tampa.

Associate of Applied Science (AAS) – Paralegal – Online

  • Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools

This program caught our attention for the fact that the entire paralegal degree program can be completed online.  The program teaches key skills like legal research methods, trial practice, and document preparation and incorporates core courses such as bankruptcy and immigration law.  Although the program can be completed entirely online, courses are also available on the Fort Myers, Tampa, and Port Charlotte campuses.

 

St. Petersburg College

St. Petersburg College is a 4-year public college with campus locations in Tarpon Springs, Clearwater, Largo, and St. Petersburg.

Associate of Science (AS) in Paralegal Studies – On-campus

Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Paralegal Studies – On-campus

Paralegal Studies Certificate – On-campus (post-baccalaureate)

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

What’s unique about St. Petersburg is that all three paralegal program offerings are approved by the American Bar Association.  Another interesting caveat to this program is that students can specialize in up to three areas, including estate and guardianship administration, real estate, and criminal litigation.  Courses are staggered and not all courses are available each semester.  All legal specialty courses, however, are offered during the evenings.

The paralegal certificate is only open to students who hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school.

 

Valencia College

Valencia College is a 4-year public school located in Orlando, with additional campus locations in Winter Park, Lake Nona, Kissimmee, and Poinciana.

Associate of Science (AS) in Paralegal Studies – On-campus

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

What stands out about the AS in Paralegal Studies at Valencia is that the program offers two specific specialization options – litigation and transactional.  The litigation specialty includes courses like civil litigation and bankruptcy law. The transactional specialty includes courses like real estate law and probate.  As an ABA-approved program, it cannot be completed entirely online.  However, many of the general education courses can be completed online while legal specialty courses are completed on-campus.

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