Paralegal Schools in Minnesota

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

There’s a reason why Minnesota ranks eighth in the nation for highest average paralegal salary (US Department of Labor, 2016). That’s because it’s home to some really talented paralegals working in finance and business and, of course, for top law firms in the Twin Cities

One of the best kept secrets in Minnesota is that we rank among the top in the nation for having the most Fortune 500 companies headquartered here– 19 of them. This means a lot of busy legal departments with a lot of high-powered corporations – and a lot of talented paralegals to staff them.

Saint Paul-based Ecolab is one of those companies, and when its CEO was asked how the Land of 10,000 Lakes earned the privilege of playing host to so many major corporations he said, “We have a highly educated workforce; we have a great work ethic.” Well that just says it all.

While you take care of building a strong work ethic, we’ve taken care of assembling our recommendations for the best paralegal schools, both online and throughout the state.

The schools we recommend offer paralegal certificates and degrees for aspiring professionals at all stages in their career, ranging from those who’ve just graduated from high school, to those who already have experience in the field and want to boost their credentials.

 

Alexandria Technical & Community College

AAS in Paralegal Studies – Campus and online

  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

We’re featuring this 63-credit two-year program because its graduates enter the workforce with a strong foundation in the paralegal field. Students from any background are welcome to apply to this program, but must maintain at least a 2.5 GPA throughout their studies.

A fifth summer semester is included in this program, consisting of a four-credit internship in the greater Alexandria area.

 

Hamline University

Legal Studies Bachelor’s Degree – Campus

Paralegal Certificate (post-bac) – Campus

  • ABA-approved – The certificate program is ABA-approved, the other program is not
  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

Hamline easily made our list for offering the opportunity for students to participate in an internship and mock trial experience with both its programs.

Students who meet HU’s general admission requirements can major in legal studies and earn a BA or BS, degrees that take about four years to complete and that readily prepare students to move on to a master’s program if they choose. The legal studies major itself is 40 credits.

The 32-credit ABA-approved certificate program is for students who already have a bachelor’s degree in any field. It can also be completed concurrently with a bachelor’s degree in any field. It is usually completed in 9-12 months.

 

Hibbing Community College

AAS Legal Administrative Assistant – Campus with some classes also available online

  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

This 60-credit two-year degree is perfect for those in the greater Hibbing area who want to bolster their paralegal credentials. It emphasizes computer applications used in law offices and prepares students to effectively communicate, research, and write in the legal field.

 

Herzing University-Minneapolis

AS/AAS in Legal Studies – Online

BS in Legal Studies – Online

  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

Both paralegal programs at Herzing are open to anyone who meets HU’s general admission requirements, no previous college education or legal experience is required. The associate’s program is 63 credits and can be completed in two years, while the bachelor’s program is 126 credits – six credits beyond a standard bachelor’s – but still can be completed in just four years. The online format is perfect for anyone with a busy schedule.

 

Inver Hills Community College

AS in Paralegal Studies – Campus

Paralegal Certificate (post-associate) – Campus

  • ABA-approved – Yes, both programs
  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

We like IHCC because it has ABA-approved options for students just starting their education, as well as for those who are specifically returning to school for a paralegal credential. This program focuses so much on legal knowledge that it expects students to enter the program with strong computer skills. It’s all about paralegal studies here; you won’t spend valuable time taking typing classes at IHCC.

The 60-credit two-year AS program is for students who meet IHCC’s general admission requirements and want to establish a firm foundation in the paralegal field. The 30-credit 18-month certificate program is designed for students who already have a bachelor’s degree in any field, or an AS/AA degree. If you have an AAS/AAA you may need to take additional prerequisites before you enroll.

Both programs are offered at the Inver Grove Heights campus and include a two-credit internship in the greater Saint Paul-Minneapolis area.

 

Lake Superior College

AAS in Paralegal Studies – Campus and online

AS in Paralegal Studies – Campus and online

Paralegal Studies Certificate – Campus and online

  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

We love Lake Superior College because it has something for everyone. All programs are open to anyone who meets LSC’s general admission requirements. Students can choose the program that’s right for them based on the time they want to invest and future goals. Classes are offered from the school’s Duluth campus and are also available fully online.

The 30-credit certificate program takes just one year to complete. If you decide to pursue the AAS or AS programs afterward you can transfer in the credits earned in your certificate program. The AAS and AS programs are two years and 60 credits each. The AAS is for students who want to go directly into the workforce upon graduation. Students can use the AS for the same purpose in addition to being able to transfer to a four-year school.

 

Minneapolis Business College

AAS in Paralegal Studies – Campus

  • Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools

We like the AAS program through Minneapolis Business College because of its focus on experiential learning. Students study everything from litigation to legal research, and the program culminates with an eight-week externship somewhere in the Roseville or greater Twin Cities metro area.

This program can be completed in 16 months and considers students from all backgrounds, whether you’re in the midst of changing careers or just looking to get started fresh out of high school.

 

Minnesota State Community and Technical College

AAS in Paralegal Studies – Campus and online

  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

This program provides a two-year 60-credit foundation to prospective paralegals looking to get a competitive credential under their belts. This includes a three-credit internship as well as introductory classes to a range of relevant legal topics. For convenience this program can be taken entirely online or from MSCTC’s Detroit Lakes campus.

 

Minnesota State University – Mankato

Paralegal Certificate – Online

Advanced Paralegal Certificate – Online

  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

These online certificate programs are offered for continuing legal education (CLE) credits. CLE credits can be completed to meet professional paralegal organization membership requirements or national paralegal certificate requirements. You may also want to earn these certificates to enhance your professional qualifications.

To complete the paralegal certificate program you’ll need access to Westlaw. Once you sign up for this course you’ll have 14 weeks to complete it. To enroll in the advanced certificate course you must have already completed the basic certificate course. You can complete this program in as soon as 14 months, and doing so will earn you the certificate plus 27 CLEs.

 

Minnesota State University – Moorhead

BS in Paralegal Studies – Campus

  • ABA-approved – Yes
  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

One of only several ABA-approved four-year programs in the state, we’re featuring this school because you couldn’t get a better educational foundation to become a paralegal. Not only that, this program offers two unique emphasis tracks you can choose from within its paralegal program: a transactions emphasis or a litigation emphasis.

As part of this 120-credit program you have the option to complete an internship in the greater Moorhead-Fargo area that’s worth up to 12 credits.

 

National American University

AAS in Paralegal Studies – Campus and blended

BS in Paralegal Studies – Campus and blended

  • ABA-approved – These campuses offer ABA-approved programs: Bloomington, Brooklyn Center, Burnsville and Roseville
  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

We’re featuring this school because of the flexibility and options it offers its students.

NAU has five campus locations in the Twin Cities area that each offer AAS and BS paralegal programs. Four of those – located in Bloomington, Brooklyn Center, Burnsville and Roseville – offer ABA-approved paralegal programs. The Rochester campus’ paralegal programs are currently not ABA-approved.

The AAS program can be completed in as little as 104 weeks, while the BS can be finished in as few as 195 weeks. Graduates of either program are qualified to take a national certification exam offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). With two years of work experience in the legal field, graduates of either program can also take a national certification exam offered by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA).

 

North Hennepin Community College

AS in Paralegal Studies – Campus

Paralegal Certificate (post-associate) – Campus

  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission
  • ABA-approved – Yes, both programs

North Hennepin CC’s ABA-approved programs offer one of the best value-to-cost ratios in the state.

The two-year 60-credit AS program is open to anyone who meets NHCC’s basic admission requirements, including everyone from career changers and high school graduates. The 30-credit 16-month certificate program is open to those who already have an AS, AA, or bachelor’s degree in any field.

Both programs include a three-credit internship in the greater Saint Paul-Minneapolis area.

 

Rasmussen College-Minnesota

AAS in Paralegal Studies – Campus, online, and blended

Paralegal Certificate (post-associate) – Campus, online, and blended

  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

You can complete your paralegal program online or at one of RC’s campuses located in Blaine, Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, Eagan, Lake Elmo, Mankato, Moorhead, or Saint Cloud.

Open to anyone who meets RC’s basic enrollment requirements, the AAS program is 94 credits and can be completed in two years. The certificate program is 61 credits, can be completed in 18 months, and is open to anyone who already has at least an associate’s degree in any field.

Both programs include the option to participate in either a five-credit paralegal internship or a five-credit capstone online simulation exercise. Upon graduation you’ll be prepared to take the national certification exam offered through the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).

 

St. Cloud Technical and Community College

AAS in Legal Administrative Assistant Studies – Campus

  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

St. Cloud Tech’s 60-credit two-year program is open to students who meet SCTCC’s basic enrollment requirements. As part of this program all students complete internships at law firms, court administration offices, and other legal services facilities in the greater Saint Cloud area.

 

Winona State University

BS in Legal Studies – Campus

  • ABA-approved – Yes
  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

We’re featuring Winona’s bachelor’s program because it’s a great value and one of only a few ABA-approved bachelor’s programs in the state. It provides a solid four-year foundation in the paralegal field and culminates with a six-credit internship in the greater Winona area.

Students typically complete all their prerequisite courses and begin taking classes in this major starting their junior year. Students also have the option of completing a 22-credit legal studies minor they can tack on to another bachelor’s major.

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