Paralegal Schools in Iowa

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

Let’s face it: not everyone hopes to be accepted to a major university. In fact, many people become paralyzed with anxiety even thinking about becoming another nameless, faceless student in an ever-expanding sea of classmates. This may ring especially true for aspiring paralegals that understand more personalized instruction could very well equate to a richer educational experience.

All of the paralegal programs we recommend here are offered online. This means without ever leaving home (let alone going to a program out-of-state), paralegal students attending these programs are fully prepared to either promptly enter the workforce or smoothly transition to a better job.

If that isn’t enough, these schools also offer programs that help students and professionals that already hold a college degree to keep climbing the higher education ladder by earning a post-degree certificate. And to make sure we only show you the cream of the crop, all the programs we recommend are accredited.

 

Des Moines Area Community College

AAS-Paralegal—Campus

Paralegal Certificate—Campus (post-associate, post-baccalaureate)

  • ABA-Approval: Yes
  • Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools Higher Learning Commission

Des Moines Area Community College is a 2-year public, post-secondary school located in Ankeny that offers an associate degree and a post-degree certificate program for paralegals.

Both programs happily allow students to start at the beginning of any semester. Students enrolled in either program are treated to an internship experience that includes 225 hours working in a private law office, government agency or private business that hires attorneys.

The AAS program requires the completion of 64 credits hours, while the certificate program only requires 26 credit hours. Only students that already hold a bachelor, AA or AS degree are eligible to apply for the certificate program.

 

Hawkeye Community College

AAS-Legal Office Assistant—Campus

  • Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools Higher Learning Commission

Hawkeye Community College is a 2-year public, post-secondary school based in Waterloo with a great legal office assistant associate degree program.

The legal office assistant program requires 63 credit hours and includes insightful law-based courses such as legal document processing, business law, legal office concepts and procedures, introduction to criminal justice, and legal terminology. A 192-hour business internship is likewise included.

 

Iowa Lakes Community College

AAS in Paralegal/Legal Studies—Campus

  • Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools Higher Learning Commission

Iowa Lakes Community College is a 2-year public, post-secondary school in Estherville with satellite campuses located in Algona, Emmetsburg, Spirit Lake, and Spencer. Right now its main campus in Estherville houses an associate degree in paralegal studies/legal studies program.

This AAS program stands out because of its enthusiasm for practical experience. Not only do students get the unique opportunity to work on actual cases with the Innocence Project of Iowa, but they also earn credits through an approved internship.

The program consists of 70 credit hours that are primarily taught in small classroom settings. However, a few select courses are available through online learning.

 

Iowa Western Community College

AA in Paralegal Studies—Online

  • Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools Higher Learning Commission

Iowa Western Community College is a 2-year public, post-secondary school situated in Council Bluffs that offers an online-based associate degree in paralegal studies.

The school’s AA program consists of 64 credit hours, which are mostly taught online. The mandatory 3-hour experiential internship places students in a law office for the kind of real-world experience employers love to see on a resume. The program features an average class size of 18 students and graciously accommodates both full-time and part-time schedules.

 

Kirkwood Community College

AAS in Paralegal Studies—Campus

  • ABA-Approval: Yes
  • Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools Higher Learning Commission

Kirkwood Community College is a 2-year public, post-secondary school located in Cedar Rapids. It is also a longtime member of the American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE).

The school’s AAS in Paralegal Studies program holds 63 credit hours and culminates in a final semester practical internship. To accentuate the internship experience, students engage in spirited monthly seminars to discuss and reflect upon its career significance.

 

Marshalltown Community College

AAS in Paralegal Studies—Campus/Online

AA in Paralegal Studies—Campus/Online

  • Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools Higher Learning Commission

Marshalltown Community College is a 2-year public, post-secondary school with a satellite campus at Iowa Valley Grinnell. This satellite campus offers students both an AAS and an AA degree option in paralegal studies. For greater flexibility, both degrees are also available entirely online.

We were particularly intrigue by the school’s decision to create two similar yet different associate degree programs based on career goals.

The AAS program is designed for students planning on immediately joining the workforce upon graduation. Meanwhile, the AA program is better suited for students aiming to transfer credits to a university that offers a bachelor’s degree program in paralegal studies.

Both programs are 64 credit hours in length with experienced Iowa attorneys offering instruction. The curriculum places a strong emphasis on Iowa procedures and law, designed to serve students to work in the state court systems.

 

Northeast Iowa Community College

AAS-Legal Assistant—Campus

  • Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools Higher Learning Commission

Northeast Iowa Community College is a 2-year public, post-secondary school based in Calmar that offers an AAS in legal assistant program at its Dubuque and Peosta campus locations.

The program requires 65 credit hours and includes relevant courses like introduction to paralegal studies, legal and medical terminology, criminal law and procedure, and family law. Students are welcome to enroll during summer, spring, and fall semesters.

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