Paralegal Schools in Massachusetts

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

Massachusetts has one of the oldest legal systems in the nation. This is a place where everyone knows that law firms are only as good as their staff – and this includes paralegals.

With the 10th-highest average paralegal salary in the nation (US Department of Labor, 2016), legal support staff in Massachusetts have a lot to look forward to. The demand for paralegals is strong, and if you want to stand out among the competition you need solid credentials.

We’ve put together some recommendations for the best online education options in legal studies. The schools above offer programs for career changers, high-school graduates, and experienced paralegals who are looking to add to their qualifications.

 

Assumption College

Paralegal Studies Certificate – Campus

  • Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges

We selected this program to feature because it offers a supportive environment for students. No surprise that graduates here have a strong record of going on to success. Located in Worcester, students can complete this certificate in one year. It is made up of six courses covering legal research, litigation, corporations, estates and trusts, family law, and real estate law.

This program is open to anyone who wants to add to their paralegal credentials. To apply you need a high school diploma and you can optionally include SAT or ACT test scores.

 

Bay Path University

AS in Paralegal Studies – Campus

BS/BA in Legal Studies – Campus

Certificate of Advanced Paralegal Studies (post-associate) – Campus

  • ABA-approved – Yes, all programs
  • Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges

Ladies, if you are looking for an ABA-approved program at the associate’s, bachelor’s or certificate level, look no further. This women-only school offers classes for all these programs from its Longmeadow campus on the weekdays and weekends to accommodate all types of schedules. Classes for the certificate and AS programs are also available from BPU’s Sturbridge campus.

The 60-credit AS program takes two years to complete and the BA/BS programs take four years to complete. If you already have an associate’s degree and want to earn the stand-alone 21-credit certificate you can do this in 18 months. If you complete the AS or BS/BA program you also automatically get the certificate. You can apply the credits you earned for your AS degree towards a BS or BA in legal studies if you decide to continue your education.

Each of these programs includes a paralegal internship as part of its curriculum.

 

Boston University

Paralegal Certification – Blended and online

  • Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges

Named the best paralegal program by readers of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly in 2017, this certificate is designed for anyone who wants to bolster their paralegal credentials. There are several different scheduling options to complete this non-credit program. For example, you might meet seven Saturdays in a row on BU’s Boston campus and complete an online segment, all of which take place over the course of three months.

Applicants to this program must have a strong command of the English language, while a bachelor’s degree or related work experience is recommended. Topics covered include legal research, legal writing and reasoning, probate and family law, litigation, and more.

 

Bunker Hill Community College

AS in Paralegal Studies – Campus

Paralegal Certificate (post-associate) – Campus

  • ABA-approved – Yes, both programs
  • Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges

This school makes our list because it offers two ABA-approved programs that develop professional relationships with the legal field in the heart of Boston.

The AS program takes two years to complete and is 65 credits. The certificate program is 30 weeks and 27 credits. Both programs culminate with an internship in the greater Boston metro area.

You can apply for the certificate program if you already have at least an AA or AS degree. If you have an AAS you may need to complete additional prerequisites before you can apply. The AS program is open to anyone who meets BHCC’s general admission standards.

 

Cape Cod Community College

Paralegal Certificate – Campus and partial online

  • Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges

This 28-credit program puts student schedules at the forefront, offering options for evening classes and two-year part-time completion, or a one-year schedule for full-time students. Internship opportunities are available year-round in the West Barnstable and greater Cape Cod area.

Those changing careers or coming from high school need only a high school diploma or GED to apply for this program. Two of this program’s 11 classes are offered online as well as on-campus along with the rest of the classes.

 

College of Our Lady of the Elms (Elms College)

AA in Paralegal Studies – Campus

BA in Paralegal Studies – Campus

BA Social Services Paralegal – Campus

Certificate of Advanced Paralegal studies (post-associate) – Campus

Paralegal Nurse Consulting Certificate (post-associate) – Campus

  • ABA-approved – Yes, all five programs
  • Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges

We chose to feature this school because it has been producing top-qualified paralegals from its Chicopee campus for decades with the oldest ABA-approved paralegal programs in the state. This school is unique in the nation for offering such a wide variety of ABA-approved paralegal programs.

The two-year associate’s degree program and four-year 120-credit bachelor’s degree programs are open to anyone who meets the school’s general admission requirements. Students can apply the credits they earn in the AA program towards the BA programs. Completing either the AA or BA programs also earns the advanced paralegal certificate automatically, and includes a paralegal internship.

To be eligible to apply to the 18-credit nurse consulting certificate program you must have a current RN license and at least 2,000 hours of clinical practice.

If you already have an associate’s degree in any field and want to complete the advanced certificate independently, this requires earning a total of 60 college credits, 27 of which must be in the paralegal subject area.

If you’re earning a bachelor’s degree from this college in a different subject and want to minor in paralegal studies you can do this too. This involves completing at least 27 credits from the paralegal program and also results in the advanced certificate upon graduation.

Along these lines Elms College offers a Social Services Paralegal program. This is for bachelor’s or master’s degree students who are in a social work program or law program with a social work emphasis, who complete 27 credits from the paralegal department.

The college also offers its distinguished double-major Legal Studies-Spanish program for students earning a bachelor’s degree who want to add both these fields to their academic achievements.

 

Massachusetts Bay Community College

AS Paralegal Studies – Campus and partial online

Paralegal Certificate – Campus and partial online

  • Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges

We like this program because of the way it accommodates students’ busy schedules. MBCC offers many of its courses in the evening, on the weekend, and online. As they near the end of their studies students have the option to participate in an internship in the Wellesley Hills and greater Boston metro area.

The 62-credit AS degree can be completed in two years, and the 27-credit certificate can be completed in one year. The certificate program is a shorter version of the AS program, and students can apply credits from their certificate towards an AS if they decide to continue studying. Both programs are open to anyone who meets MBCC’s general admission standards.

 

Middlesex Community College

AS in Paralegal Studies – Campus and hybrid

Paralegal Studies Certificate (post-associate) – Campus and hybrid

  • ABA-approved – Yes, both programs
  • Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges

This program makes our list because of its quality and degree choices. The 60-credit two-year AS program is offered in two versions: a career version designed for paralegals who are going directly into the workforce upon graduation, and a transfer version designed for students who intend to continue their education with a four-year degree after graduation. Both these versions are ABA-approved and open to anyone who meets MCC’s general admission requirements.

The ABA-approved certificate program is for students and career changers who already have at least an associate’s degree in any field. This 27-credit program takes approximately eight months to complete.

All programs include an internship in the Bedford or greater metropolitan area. There are some options to complete some courses online, while students can take evening classes at MCC’s Bedford campus and day classes at the Lowell campus.

 

Mildred Elley – Pittsfield Campus

Paralegal Studies Certificate – Campus

  • Accreditation – Licensed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Office of Private Occupational School Education, Division of Professional Licensure

We like how this program provides a supportive atmosphere for students to earn their education. The certificate program is 39 credits and takes 12 months to complete. Students also have the option to complete an internship in the greater Pittsfield area that counts for up to six credits. All you need to apply to this program is a high school diploma or GED.

 

Mount Wachusett Community College

Associate Degree in Legal Studies – Campus and online

Paralegal Certificate – Campus and online

  • Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges

We’re featuring this school’s paralegal programs because of how it prepares career changers and those coming from high school for success as paralegals.

The 60-credit degree program takes two years to complete. The 28-credit certificate program is a shorter version of the degree program and takes one year to complete. Both programs include the opportunity for a paralegal practicum and are open to anyone who meets MWCC’s basic entrance requirements. Students can complete this program entirely online or enroll in classes from MWCC’s main Gardner campus.

 

Newbury College

BS in Legal Studies – Campus

  • Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges

This school has a legal studies BS program that is open to anyone. To fill out a complete application all you need is a letter of recommendation, high school transcripts, a writing sample, and a letter of recommendation.

Over the course of 121 credits and four years you’ll learn the knowledge it takes for success in the legal field. This includes an opportunity for an internship somewhere in the Brookline or larger Massachusetts area.

 

North Shore Community College

AS Paralegal Studies – Campus

Paralegal Certificate (post-associate) – Campus

  • ABA-approved – Yes, both programs
  • Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges

We chose this school because it has two great ABA-approved paralegal programs. The 60-credit two-year AS program is open to anyone who meets NSCC’s general admission requirements. The 27-credit one-year certificate program is open to anyone who already has an associate’s degree in any field.

The AS program includes a field placement course, while students in the certificate program can find similar opportunities in the greater Danvers area.

 

Northern Essex Community College

AS in Paralegal Studies – Campus

Paralegal Studies Certificate (post-associate) – Campus

  • ABA-approved – Yes, both programs
  • Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges

We like this school because it offers a program for everyone. The AS degree is offered in two formats: one designed for students going directly into the workforce upon graduation, and one designed for students going on to transfer and pursue a four-year degree. Both formats are ABA-approved and open to students just out of high school as well as career changers.

The 27-credit ABA-approved certificate program is for students who already have an AS/AA degree. Those who have an AAS or AAA may need to take additional prerequisite courses before applying. This program can be completed in one year.

Students in all programs have the opportunity to take a paralegal practicum course as an elective. Classes are based out of NECC’s campuses in Haverhill and Lawrence.

 

Quincy College

AS in Paralegal Studies – Campus

Paralegal Studies Certificate – Campus

  • Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges

We like this school because it’s in a great location and offers options for prospective paralegals who want a one or two-year credential.

The two-year AS program is 61 credits. The certificate program is a shorter version of the AS degree, consisting of 30 credits that can be completed in one year. Both programs are open to students who meet QC’s basic admission standards, however some courses that are part of the certificate program have prerequisites that must be completed before students can take the core program courses.

Both programs include a three-credit paralegal studies internship in Quincy or the greater Boston metro area.

 

Roxbury Community College

Paralegal Certificate

  • Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges

We’re featuring this one-year 27-credit program because it’s designed to get graduates from the classroom into professional jobs in the field as efficiently as possible. Anyone can apply to this program, which requires submitting high school transcripts and taking the school’s academic skills assessment test.

Courses based from RCC’s Roxbury campus introduce students to the basic concepts of law and how it is applied in different areas.

 

Suffolk University

AS Paralegal Studies – Campus

Certificate in Paralegal Studies (post-associate) – Campus

  • ABA-approved – Yes, both programs
  • Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges

We like these programs because they are the peak of professionalism and preparedness, located in the state’s legal-sector capital.

The AS program takes two years to complete, while the 24-credit certificate program can be completed in nine months. Both programs are ABA-approved and both include an internship in the professional legal field in the greater Boston metropolitan area.

If you meet SU’s general entrance requirements you can apply for the AS program and earn the certificate as you go. The stand-alone certificate program is designed for students who already have an associate’s degree in any field.

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