The entry-level, pre-degree certificate definitely has its place as an option for career preparation in the paralegal field. It provides a streamlined and neatly tailored course of study for anybody without a college degree. With a narrow focus on just the fundamental paralegal skills you need and none of the general education courses you don’t, it has become a favorite option among recent high school grads, career changers looking to become paralegals, and even mid-career professionals who got into the profession at a time when education requirements weren’t as stringent and now want to brush up on contemporary topics.
But no other paralegal education option leaves prospective students with as many questions. While associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs typically include a pretty uniform course sequence and consistent number of credits, there is no official – or even commonly agreed upon – standard for what constitutes a basic certificate program in paralegal studies. This has largely left schools to develop these programs as they see fit based on the demands of the local job market.
Many are non-credit career diploma programs, while some are structured as undergraduate certificates that give students the option to apply credits toward a degree later on… Some can be completed in a matter of weeks, while others take a year or more… Some are available through community colleges and state universities while others are offered through proprietary schools that specialize in paralegal training… Some are offered completely online and involve no instructor and peer interaction, while others offer internship options, are highly interactive, and give students access to all the student services available to other on-campus undergrads.
In the absence of universally agreed upon standards, an elite class of schools has accepted the challenge that comes when you have to make your own rules, rising to the occasion by offering something truly useful to students gearing up for a career in the legal field.
How We Selected the Best Entry-Level and Undergrad Paralegal Certificate Programs in the Nation
We went through a tireless review process looking at the more than 250 regionally and nationally accredited community colleges, career and technical training institutes, state schools, private universities and proprietary schools offering basic, pre-degree certificates in paralegal studies and related fields. We worked hard to isolate the unique characteristics that show a program was created with the student experience in mind.
We considered things like opportunities for experiential learning through an internship or practicum… Student services, including a robust career counseling and job placement program that connects students with local firms and other employers… The program’s reputation for turning out graduates with the skills employers look for… How well it is connected to the local legal community to create networking and professional opportunities for students… Whether the program is well-aligned with the demands of the local job market based on what we found in current job postings… Whether the program lends itself to further education… How well the program accommodates working students with online and hybrid options or classes scheduled during evenings and weekends…
Of course, not every one of these factors is equally important to all students in all job markets, so we kept a close eye on how the program stacks up to other options available in the area, and how well it measured up to the hiring requirements among local employers.
In the end, we asked ourselves one question…
Knowing what we know now about what it takes to succeed in a law firm or corporate legal department, would we feel good about recommending this program to someone we were mentoring in this particular part of the country?
Our Pick for the Best Entry-Level and Undergraduate Certificate Programs in the US
If we could identify enough strong points in a program to confidently answer ‘YES’ to this question, we added it to our list to give it the recognition we feel it deserves. Here you have it, in no particular order, our favorite pre-degree certificate programs available in the U.S.
This list features programs that our editorial staff hand selected to present as top recommendations. We believe the many aspects of a program that come together to create an exceptional student experience can’t be reduced to numbers alone, so no formula was used to attempt to score or rank these programs. Instead, they represent our top picks based on a thoughtful review of the things we know mean the most to students. Each one of these programs offers something unique, and all come equally highly recommended. We stand behind the principal of editorial integrity and make these recommendations independently and without compensation.
Office of Professional and Continuing Education
Paralegal Certificate Course
(also includes Advanced Paralegal Certificate Course)
Whether you’re new to the legal field or looking to advance in your current position, the Auburn University Office of Professional and Continuing Education offers a paralegal certificate that can get you where you want to be in just 12-14 weeks. Through our partnership with The Center for Legal Studies, the Paralegal Certificate Course© is also available in a variety of delivery options designed for the working professional. Our mission is to provide quality programming for students of all ages and education levels. When you complete a Paralegal Certificate Course© through Auburn University, you can count on a program that will prepare you for a future of success in this exciting and growing field.
Center for Continuing Education
Paralegal Studies Certificate
The University of South Alabama is there whenever you decide to kickstart your paralegal education, as students of this program can start the Paralegal Studies Certificate at any time of the year that’s convenient for them. To earn your certificate, simply complete the nine required courses and an additional seven elective courses, which may include an internship experience, if desired. All classes here meet one night per week, and all are offered on a rotating basis, thereby offering up the best in convenience for working professionals. We also love the paralegal scholarship opportunities the university offers, including the Bruce McCall Endowed Memorial Scholarship for Paralegal Studies and the Taylor-Martino Endowed Scholarship for Paralegal Studies, both of which are awarded to students who demonstrate high academic achievement.
Career Tech Programs
Legal Assistant/Paralegal Certificate
Complete Enterprise State Community College’s legal assistant/paralegal certificate program and you’ll go from the classroom to an entry-level paralegal job in less than a year. Though this program does require 18 general education credits, we couldn’t resist including it on our list of top entry-level paralegal certificates. There’s plenty of other reasons to enjoy this program, too, including a beautiful campus, a student center for all your financial aid, admissions, and shopping needs, and the popular Weevil Center, a great place to study between classes. It’s no wonder that Enterprise State Community College was also named among the top 120 Community Colleges in Nation by the ASPEN Institute—twice!
Continuing Education Department
Orange Beach, Alabama
Columbia Southern University’s paralegal certificate program isn’t just a comprehensive course of study in paralegal studies; all students who complete this program can also participate in an optional externship, and the education required to sit for NALA’s CLA Exam and Microsoft’s MOS Exam. Few other programs will give you the hands-on experience and nationally recognized certification needed to easily transition to the real world. We also love the assistance the university provides its students with a variety of services, includes resume and career preparation.
School of Social Sciences
Legal Office Clerk Certificate
Whether you’re going to college for the first time or heading back to college as a career changer, Yavapi College’s Legal Office Clerk Certificate allows you to get the education and training you need to qualify for an entry-level clerical position – the perfect stepping stone to a paralegal career. This program consists of 18 credit hours, which can be completed online or on-campus. In addition to the flexible course delivery options, we are impressed with the Yavapai’s academic and career advising services, which are there to provide guidance as you make the transition from student to legal professional.
Paralegal Studies Certificate
Brighton College’s partnership with the Paralegal Institute has produced competent and qualified paralegals since 2007. In addition to its proven history of success, the paralegal studies certificate offers open enrollment and eligibility to sit for the NALA Certified Paralegal exam upon graduation. We love the forward thinking “Paralegal Today” course included as part of the curriculum, which gives students a primer on everything from office technology to legal office culture in a contemporary context. We’re also impressed with the fact that this 21-credit program allows students from California to add the three additional course credits necessary to meet requirements under California state law.
Certificate of Completion in Paralegal
Rio Salado College’s Certificate of Completion (CCL) in Paralegal program offers the training and education you need to enter the exciting paralegal field, thanks to a comprehensive course of study that focuses on contemporary legal issues. This program hits the mark for aspiring paralegals, thanks to its fully online delivery and the fact that it provides all students with access to WestlawNext. Maybe this has something to do with why the program boasts an 83% on-time completion rate, one of the best in the business. Plus, complete your program here and you’ll be part of the Maricopa County Community College District—a major resource for education and job training in Arizona.
Complete the Paralegal Certificate program through Mohave Community College and you’ll be part of a vibrant and dynamic community college system that serves more than 13,000 students each year. In addition to its campuses in Kingman, Bullhead City, Lake Havasu City, and Colorado City, the college offers an extensive distance education program, so completing your paralegal education is more convenient and more accessible than ever. We’re also fans of the program’s practicum requirement—the ideal opportunity to work alongside a resident instructor to complete a supervised legal project in a real-world legal environment. Plus, complete the Paralegal Certificate program here and you’ll be eligible to sit for the Arizona Legal Document Preparer Examination.
Business & Information Technology Department
North Little Rock, Arkansas
Paralegal Technology Certificate of Proficiency, Paralegal Technology Technical Certificate
Pulaski Technical College’s Business and Information Technology boasts an impressive Paralegal Technology program, offering up two different courses of study to accommodate students with different career goals. Though there are prerequisites for some of the courses in these programs, we still felt they deserved a spot on our top entry-level programs list. The Paralegal Technology Certificate of Proficiency consists of just 15 credit hours and includes basic study in legal terminology and computer applications, while the Paralegal Technology Technical Certificate consists of 31 credit hours and includes more in-depth study in the legal field. We’re impressed with the Pulaski Tech’s excellent advising and career services, which provides students with academic advising, internship support, and guidance on educational and career goals.
Continuing & Professional Education Department
Paralegal Studies Certificate
Flexibility, accessibility, convenience: The Paralegal Studies Certificate at the University of California Davis Extension has it all. Whether you’re a high school graduate or an established professional looking to make a career change, the Paralegal Studies Certificate is aligned with the California Business & Professionals Code and includes more than 100 contact hours spent developing paralegal-specific skills. We love this program because it is delivered both on-campus and through a convenient, online format that comes complete with outstanding resource materials, including an interactive study support site. You can choose to complete the on-campus program, which starts in June at the school’s Sacramento campus, or the online program, which can be started any time throughout the year. Both programs can be completed in just six months, taking you from the classroom to the legal environment in no time flat!
Los Angeles, California
The U.S. legal system…legal research and legal interviews…legal analyses…Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles’ Paralegal Certificate offers a comprehensive course of study on contemporary legal issues that can lay the groundwork for the NALA Certified Paralegal (CP) exam. Offered entirely online through ed2go, the Paralegal Certificate program is a self-paced course of study that comes complete with everything you need to make your education a success, including free access to Westlaw and the NALA Campus. Plus, as a student of Loyola Marymount University, you’ll be paired with an instructor for one-on-one counseling, so you’ll have plenty of support and guidance as you complete your paralegal program.
School of Professional Studies
La Jolla, California
Undergraduate Paralegal Specialist Certificate
(also offers Paralegal Specialist Certificates with specialization in Corporations, Criminal Law, and Litigation)
National University’s paralegal specialist certificates are among a select few paralegal certificate programs that allow students to focus their education on a specific area of law. Though a college degree isn’t required, there are a significant number of prerequisites required to enter this program. Whether you choose to complete a broader program by completing the Undergraduate Paralegal Specialist Certificate or focus your paralegal certificate program on corporations, criminal law, or litigation, National University has a program for you. From study in substantive legal analysis to drafting legal documents to understanding procedural matters, National University’s paralegal specialist certificates are designed to take you from the classroom to your first paralegal job. Plus, thanks to its 45+ campuses throughout California, completing your education in paralegal studies is easier and more accessible than ever.
Paralegal Specialist Certificate
Whether you want to complete an entry-level paralegal program in class or online, or whether you’re a high school graduate or a career changer who previously earned a degree in another field of study, Intercoast College can accommodate your education goals and easily transition you from the classroom to your first job in a legal environment. In addition to its comprehensive Paralegal Certificate program that features flexible course scheduling and small class sizes at its Riverside, Fairfield, Rancho Cordova, Anaheim, or West Covina campuses, you’ll enjoy many perks as a student of Intercoast College: externship assistance and individualized career services assistance that are second to none. From one-on-one employment counseling to resume preparation assistance to employer networking and job leads, Intercoast College provides you with everything you need to land your first paralegal job.
Kensington College of Legal Studies
Basic Paralegal Certificate
(also offers Paralegal Assistant Certificate)
The California Institute of Management and Technology provides the best of both worlds for students of its Basic Paralegal Certificate program, as the hybrid design of the program combines hands-on training with substantive law courses in an online format. This means that you can feel good knowing that you are prepared to tackle the real-world challenges of the legal environment upon graduation. This program is the longest running program of its kind in Orange County, preparing well-qualified paralegals who are able to do everything from assisting in case preparation to interviewing witnesses to preparing legal documents. We love this school’s focus on providing high-quality business programs with a global, cross-cultural focus and emphasis on social responsibility.
Legal Studies Department
Monterey Bay, California
(also offers an Advanced Paralegal Certificate)
Complete the Paralegal Certificate program through the Center for Legal Studies and you’ll be among the more than 70,000 graduates produced every year through the massive California State University system. This program is offered through the university’s Professional Development Program, which provides high-quality educational opportunities for students in the Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito County areas. Thanks to the fully online delivery of the Paralegal Certificate program, students with geographical restrictions or professional demands can complete the program from the comfort of their home, at any time of the day or night that’s most convenient for them.
School of Legal Studies
Diploma in Paralegal Studies
A well-rounded paralegal education is in your reach, thanks to the Diploma in Paralegal Studies through Platt College. Complete this entry-level paralegal program and your paralegal curriculum will be supplemented with courses in environmental sciences, art history, psychology, speech, and English, so you can be sure you’ll have the skills and education necessary to succeed in your first paralegal job, whatever the legal setting. Platt College has served the Greater Los Angeles, Orange County, and Inland Empire areas for more than 30 years, providing its students with quality programs that are supplemented with top-notch career services, academic tutoring, and more. Complete the Diploma in Paralegal Studies through Platt College and you’ll have the option of completing the program through its Alhambra, Ontario, Riverside, or Anaheim campuses.
Department of Performing Arts, Behavioral & Social Sciences
General Paralegal Certificate
The Community College of Denver knows a thing or two about producing career-ready graduates. Its General Paralegal Certificate program is specifically designed to arm students with the skills and knowledge they need to enter the paralegal field, with extensive study in contemporary legal issues, along with training in interviewing, researching, and document drafting, among others. Plus, if you decide to continue your education at some point, your certificate is fully transferrable to the college’s Paralegal AAS degree. Just a few of the perks of being a student at the Community College of Denver include academic and student support services, which include the Resource Center, a one-stop shop for student guidance, information, and resources needed to ensure success— while in the program and beyond.
Legal Assistant Certificate
Front Range Community College is all about flexibility for the students of its Legal Assistant Certificate program…and it shows. Want the campus experience? Choose to complete your program at either the Larimer or Westminster campus. Is online study a better fit for you? Complete this program entirely online, from the comfort of your home. As a student here, you’ll also have access to the school’s wide array of services, including academic advising, crisis counseling and stress management, veteran services, and career counseling. We also love that this program includes the option of rounding out your course of study through the completion of a capstone project or internship.
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
A completely online Paralegal Certificate program and national recognition for student success are just two of the many reasons why completing your education through Colorado Mountain College just makes good sense. There’s no denying that Colorado Mountain College will offer the quality education you’re looking for—CNN/Money ranked them 17th in the nation for student success. Combine that with this school’s focus on personalized attention and real-world degrees, and it’s easy to see why earning your paralegal certificate here will help you hit the ground running. Plus, complete your Paralegal Certificate at Colorado Mountain College and you’ll have the option of continuing your education at some point at the bachelor’s level through either Colorado Mountain College or Colorado Mesa University.
Department of Public Service
Certificate in Paralegal Studies
For more than 125 years, Post University has been delivering quality educational programs with the highest level of personal support—and their Certificate in Paralegal Studies is no exception. This 30-credit course of study can help you land an entry-level paralegal job in any number of legal settings. Best of all, you can choose the method of course delivery that best meets your personal and professional needs. Choose the online program and you’ll study in a highly engaging virtual classroom taught by professors with real-world legal experience…Choose the hybrid option and you’ll enjoy a mix of both on-campus and online courses…Choose the on-campus option and you’ll study at Post’s beautiful New England campus, where you’ll enjoy the school’s tight-knit community atmosphere. We also love their top-notch student services, which include academic advising, tutoring, and career services.
New Britain, Connecticut
Paralegal Studies Certificate
If you’re an adult learner looking to start your career or restart your career, Charter Oak State College is the place for you. As Connecticut’s preeminent online public college, Charter Oak offers the Paralegal Studies Certificate, delivered via an accelerated, eight-week format using the dynamic Blackboard learning tool. While most courses within this program can be completed online, students must complete the Legal Research, Writing and Reasoning course on campus. We are impressed with the alumni network of more than 15,000, 97 percent rave about their satisfaction with their program— undoubtedly due to the school’s dedicated faculty, most of whom also hold teaching positions at other accredited colleges and universities.
Legal Studies Department
Certificate in Legal Studies/Paralegal
Naugatuck Valley Community College is the place to go if you’re interested in a certificate program that’ll get you from the classroom and into the exciting and dynamic legal environment in no time flat. The Certificate in Legal Studies/Paralegal consists of 24 credit hours of study in contemporary issues affecting the paralegal profession and the legal industry, so you can be sure that you have the knowledge and skills needed to serve as a qualified and competent paralegal in any number of legal settings. Plus, as a student here, you’ll enjoy a number of academic resources that will support you as you pursue your education, including advising and transfer assistance, on-campus tutoring, and onsite childcare, just to name a few.
Professional & Continuing Studies
A career as a paralegal is well within your reach through the University of Delaware’s established Paralegal Certificate program. Complete your program within a year with evening study at the Wilmington campus, where you’ll learn from experienced attorneys. This program also gives all students free access to the LexisNexis legal research system throughout the course of the program, so you can be confident that you’ll have the legal research expertise needed to become a valuable addition to any employer. We are big fans of the university’s Professional and Continuing Studies department, not only for its array of educational opportunities, but for its outstanding Academic Advisement and Career Counseling (ACCESS) Center, which will help you on your educational and professional journey.
School of Professional & Career Education
Miami Shores, Florida
Legal Studies Undergraduate Certificate
Barry University’s Legal Studies Undergraduate Certificate provides you with a convenient and accessible path to your first job or your next job in the paralegal field. We love the flexibility of this certificate program, which consists of 24 credit hours that can be transferred to any degree at the university any time during the course of your program, if desired. Also, the program schedule provides the best in convenience for working professionals, as classes meet just once a week, either in the evenings or on Saturdays. You’re always supported through the School of Professional and Career Education, thanks to academic advisors who are there to help you define your educational goals, apply to the paralegal program, and prepare to enter the workforce upon completion of the program.
School of Criminology & Criminal Justice
Boca Raton, Florida
Florida Atlantic University knows that your time is precious, so they designed their Paralegal Certificate program to meet the needs of busy working professionals. Complete 12 intensive courses in just one year, meeting only in the evenings, three nights per week. But that’s not all—study under practicing attorneys as you acquire the skills and knowledge you need to excel in an entry-level paralegal job. Upon graduation, Florida Atlantic will help you land your first job, thanks to partnerships with staffing companies and paralegal associations, and regular updates on local job postings.
Division of Continuing Education
The University of North Florida’s Paralegal Certificate program is designed to prime you for success in the paralegal field, thanks to its special arrangement with ed2go and the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) Campus. This fully online course of delivery comes complete with everything you need to succeed, including membership in NALA and access to NALA’s Certified Paralegal Exam Review self-study course. Complete this program in 12 months and you’ll receive a voucher to sit for the Certified Paralegal Exam provided you meet all NALA certification requirements. We love that this program is self-paced, which allows you to complete the coursework on your own time and schedule. We also love that the university pairs each student with a facilitator for valuable, one-on-one interaction. All facilitators are successful, working professionals in the legal field, so you can feel confident knowing that the guidance and support they provide will always point you in the direction of success.
Legal Studies Institute
The Legal Studies Institute, an affiliate of Florida International University Law, has been providing quality legal training to students for more than 30 years, so you can be sure its Paralegal Certificate program will provide you with the skills and knowledge necessary to become a successful paralegal in virtually any environment. Delivered both online and on-campus, the Paralegal Certificate offers the best in convenience and accessibility for both traditional and adult learners. We also love the university’s career assistance services, which helps place graduates with various law firms, corporate legal departments, and local government agencies, making your transition from the classroom to your first paralegal job an effortless one.
College of Continuing & Professional Education
Kennesaw State University has their finger on the pulse of the adult learner, boasting no less than 40 certificate-based, professional training programs, including the Paralegal Certificate program. This comprehensive program consists of 13 courses, each of which is taught in an engaging classroom setting that allows for plenty of opportunities to interact with instructors and faculty. We also really like the flexibility that this program provides, as you can arrange your own schedule, taking as little as one and as many as four courses per six-week session. If you complete just two courses each session, you’ll graduate in about 12 months. Plus, the university has established relationships with many local law firms, so students are the first to know when internship and job openings are announced. The program even offers students the option to participate in a courthouse tour!
Paralegal Studies Department
Paralegal Studies Career Certificate, Paralegal Studies Undergraduate Certificate
Your first or next job in the paralegal field is waiting for you at Ashworth College, thanks to its fast-track Paralegal Studies program which is offered as either a career certificate (designed to take you directly from the classroom the workplace) or as an undergraduate certificate (includes college-level courses that can be applied toward a degree program), this program prepares you to work in any number of legal settings as a competent and trusted paralegal. This fully online program, which can be completed in as little as four months, allows you to study at our own pace, from the comfort of your home, yet it also provides exceptional academic support. We also love that this program also offers students the option of choosing an Advanced Specialty Course in real estate law, corporate law, criminal law, or estates, wills and trusts —included in the price of the program!
Georgia Center for Continuing Education
(also offers the Advanced Paralegal Certificate)
The University of Georgia, through a partnership with the Center for Legal Studies, offers the Paralegal Certificate program, which can be completed either in the classroom or entirely online. This flexible program, which has a near-40-year history of successfully producing qualified and competent paralegals, can be completed in just 14 weeks, either at the Gwinnett campus or through an interactive learning platform. Whichever method of course delivery you choose, you can rest assured knowing that you are completing a truly comprehensive program that will allow you to easily transition into your first – or your next – paralegal job.
Department of Paralegal Studies
Paralegal Studies Certificate
Oakton Community College has become a valued leader in education in the Chicago region, thanks to its wide array of degree programs and noncredit career enhancement and personal enrichment courses and its outstanding student support and career services. Their Paralegal Studies Certificate program is a great fit for recent high school grads, career changers, or working professionals who want to upgrade their skills in their existing role. This course of study consists of 24 semester credit hours of paralegal courses that provide a solid primer in the legal field and paralegal profession. We love the optional practicum course that’s designed to give you a chance to begin applying the skills you learn in a real-world environment under the tutelage of experienced legal professionals.
Richland Community College
Midwest Paralegal Study Program
Department of Continuing and Professional Education
Paralegal Study Certificate
Richland Community College, in partnership with the Midwest Paralegal Study Program, offers the 12-month Paralegal Certificate of Completion, a generalist program designed to produce competent, entry-level paralegals. Whether you’re a recent high school grad or a legal professional seeking advancement or a career change, this fully online program will get you where you want to be in no time flat! In addition to its comprehensive course of study, which includes a paralegal career course that will guide you in your job search and portfolio creation, you’ll also be able to take advantage of Richland Community College’s academic resources, which will give you the support you need to reach your educational and professional goals.
Career Programs Department
Palos Hills, Illinois
Legal Office Assistant Certificate
Moraine Valley Community College’s 40-credit-hour Legal Office Assistant Certificate focuses on the practical skills and knowledge needed to serve as a valuable member of the legal team. Emphasis on advanced word processing, legal procedures, and legal terminology ensures that you can take on an entry-level paralegal position in nearly any type of legal environment. We really love that the program provides students with the opportunity to complete an internship, which will strengthen the technical and interpersonal skills learned in the classroom. Outside of the Legal Office Assistant Certificate program, we’re also impressed with the college’s beautiful campus and its dynamic campus culture, complete with a host of student clubs and organizations.
Paralegal Certificate of Proficiency
The Paralegal Certificate of Proficiency at Lewis & Clark Community College offers a convenient path that will take you from student to practicing paralegal in just three semesters. This is the perfect program if you’re looking for a short-term option for upgrading your skills, so you can work under the supervision of an attorney in a wide variety of legal settings. We love that the courses in this program, which are designed to translate well into practice, cover the gamut of the legal field, including criminal law, constitutional law, tort law, litigation, and family law, among others – and the program even culminates in a cooperative project that provides real-world experience in a legal office. We’re also impressed with this school’s many student services, including academic and support services and campus health services.
Political Science Department
(also offers the Paralegal Certificate and the Advanced Paralegal Certificate through the Center for Legal Studies)
If you’re looking for flexibility and convenience, Fort Hays State University’s Paralegal Certificate program should be your first stop! Want to complete your program at the beautiful Fort Hays campus? Choose the on-campus Paralegal Certificate program. Do professional obligations or geographical limitations prevent you from studying on campus? Choose the online Paralegal Certificate, offered through a partnership with the Center for Legal Studies. Both programs prepare students to become competent and reliable paralegals in any number of legal settings, thanks to a foundation of courses that cover the fundamentals of the legal field and the paralegal profession. Complete your paralegal program here and you’ll be part of a dynamic, Midwest university that offers the best in learning opportunities and one-on-one attention and support.
Business – School of Legal Studies
Paralegal Studies Certificate
(also offers an Advanced Civil Practice Paralegal Certificate and an Advanced Criminal Practice Paralegal Certificate)
Husson University’s Paralegal Studies Certificate will give you a comprehensive foundation on the basic areas of law at a university that also offers associate and bachelor’s degrees in paralegal studies. This rich academic environment ensures you have the skills and knowledge needed to serve as a competent paralegal in virtually any legal environment. This program is ideal for both recent high school grads and career changers, yet it also suits practicing paralegals who are looking to update their skills and knowledge. This program consists of just 15 credit hours (5 courses), which can be taken on a full-time or part-time basis. As one of Maine’s oldest business schools, you can feel confident knowing that the Paralegal Studies Certificate will adequately prepare you for a career in the exciting and challenging paralegal profession.
Law Enforcement/Legal Studies Department
West Barnstable, Massachusetts
Cape Cod Community College understands the unique needs of the adult learner, which makes their Paralegal Certificate a sure bet if professional responsibilities prevent you from attending school full-time. This program is designed for part-time study, with courses offered primarily in the evenings. Most students complete the 28-29 credits of this program in about two years. Best of all, this program comes complete with a voluntary internship experience, so you can take the skills you learn in the classroom and apply them to a real-world setting. Cape Cod Community College strongly encourages internships among its students, and the faculty here promote internship opportunities in their classes and programs.
Career & Training Programs Department
Pittsfield, Massachusetts (and Albany, NY)
Paralegal Studies Certificate
(also offers the Advanced Paralegal Studies degree)
Complete the Paralegal Studies Certificate program at Mildred Elley College and you’ll learn how to investigate and gather facts, research, gather evidence, write reports, file exhibits, appeals, and briefs, and much, much more. Plus, you’ll learn essential computer applications and skills that will allow to seamlessly transition from student to working paralegal. This on-campus program, which can be completed at either the Pittsfield, MA or Albany, NY campus, also provides students and alumni with some serious and lasting benefits. We really love the school’s lifetime job placement assistance and free career assessment—both of which will help you reach your career goals early and ensure you continue to progress.
Legal Studies Department
Certificate in Paralegal Studies
The Certificate in Paralegal Studies program through Mount Wachusett Community College will provide you with the foundation you need to become a valued member of the legal team, whether it’s in a law office, courthouse, insurance company, or in-house counsel office. This program delivers a solid course of study in the paralegal field, including several substantive areas of law and legal research and analysis. There are plenty of benefits to completing your program through Mount Wachusett Community College, including its Division of Student Services and Enrollment Management, which offers all the student services needed to ensure academic and professional success, including career planning, job placement, academic advisement, personal counseling, and transfer guidance.
Division of Social Sciences and History
Delta State University recognizes that not all careers demand the completion of a degree program, which is why they offer the Paralegal Studies Certificate, an intensive, 30-hour program that focuses on the primary responsibilities of a paralegal. Designed for the adult learner, classes within the Paralegal Studies Certificate are delivered on the weekend, with classes meeting four alternating weekends on Fridays and Saturdays. In addition to the program’s core courses, students here have the opportunity to take additional electives in areas such as family law, agricultural law, real estate law and workers’ compensation, among others. We really love that you’ll also have the opportunity to complete a practicum as part of your certificate program, so you can take what you learn in the classroom and hone and refine it in a real life legal office setting.
Center for Legal Studies – MSUB Extended Campus
(also offers an Advanced Paralegal Certificate)
Montana State University Billings offers no less than 26 online programs, so this major state university knows a thing or two about success through online study. It’s no wonder, then, that they partnered with the Center for Legal Studies to offer the Paralegal Certificate program, a nationally acclaimed program with a near-40-year history of success. Complete this program and you’ll be prepared to successfully navigate the legal field, whether it’s in a law firm, insurance company, courthouse, or corporate setting. The Paralegal Certificate program is a 14-week program delivered through an interactive online platform (or DVD- or text-based, if desired). We love this program because it affords students the opportunity to interact with peers and learn from experienced legal professionals, all the while benefitting from the convenience of distance-based study.
Department of Continuing Education
Las Vegas, Nevada
The University of Nevada Las Vegas knows that a paralegal program is only as good as its accessibility, which is why they offer their Paralegal Certificate program in both a classroom and online format. Choose the classroom option and study at the university’s beautiful Las Vegas campus, or choose the online option if professional responsibilities or geographic limitations make on-campus study impractical. The online program, while delivering a distance-based course of study, still provides students with plenty of interaction and collaboration, thanks to its online web support and dynamic learning platform that encourages student participation. If you’re looking for a program with a long history of success, look no further than the University of Nevada Las Vegas. This program has been producing competent paralegals for more than 20 years, and its proven program of study has been adopted by such major universities as Rice University, the University of California Berkeley, Duke University, and Howard University, among others.
College of Graduate and Professional Studies
Rindge, New Hampshire
Paralegal Studies Certificate
Franklin Pierce University’s Paralegal Certificate provides students with a solid foundation of the law and the paralegal profession and the practical skills needed to serve as a valued member of the legal team. Consisting of just 30 credits (ten courses), this fully online program will prepare you to sit for the NALA exam and land your first job in an entry-level paralegal position in just months. Plus, as a student of Franklin Pierce, you’ll enjoy use of the school’s career and student services.
Department of Continuing Education
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Legal Assistant Certificate
The University of New Mexico’s Legal Assistant Certificate is all about convenience, as it prepares you to serve as a competent and knowledgeable paralegal in just two months, with classes meeting twice a week for 16 sessions. But don’t let this accelerated program of study fool you—the courses within this program will prepare you with a comprehensive skillset that will serve you well in nearly any legal environment. You’ll learn about legal concepts, preparing legal notices, billing, and enhancing your administrative skills. Complete your program at the University of New Mexico, New Mexico’s flagship institution, and you’ll enjoy their expansive career and student services, which include career fairs, a career resource lab, on-campus recruiting events, and job/internship listings.
Binghamton, New York
Certificate in Paralegal Studies
Both theory and practical skills are seamlessly woven into Broome Community College’s Certificate in Paralegal Studies program, so you can be sure you’ll have the skills and knowledge necessary to make you a valuable member in a law office or other legal setting. Complete this 30-credit program of study in just nine months (or longer, if you’d like), and choose from courses that are offered in the day, evening, or online. We love the flexibility this program provides, along with the option of transferring most of the credits toward an associate’s degree in paralegal studies, if desired.
Albany, New York (and Pittsfield, Massachusetts)
Paralegal Studies Certificate
Mildred Elley College offers the Paralegal Studies Certificate, a comprehensive program designed to produce qualified paralegals who serve as valuable members of the legal support team. Through this program, you’ll learn how to investigate and gather facts, you’ll dive deep into the research process, and you’ll gain valuable communication and computer skills. In addition to this exceptional entry-level paralegal program, there’s plenty more to love about the college, too. At Mildred Elley College, you’ll benefit from job training, lifetime job placement assistance, and a free career assessment. Plus, you can earn your certificate at the Albany, Pittsfield, or New York City campus, making the program both convenient and accessible
New York, New York
Executive Legal Assistant Certificate
Asa College’s Executive Legal Assistant Certificate program takes you from the classroom to the legal environment in just eight months. Through this course of study, you’ll be armed with the knowledge and competence in legal concepts, making you a valuable addition to any legal team. In addition to this comprehensive course of study, you’ll be part of the Asa College family, which affords you lifetime placement privileges and refresher courses. We also love that you can transfer the courses of the Executive Legal Assistant Certificate to one of the college’s many associate degrees. ASA has a unique commitment to student success, so you can expect the help you need through the entire career development cycle, from initial assessment and career planning to job search and advancement.
School of Legal Studies
Forest Hills, New York
Plaza College’s School of Legal Studies offers the Paralegal Certificate program, a rigorous course of study in law, litigation, legal writing, research, and more. This 30-credit certificate program is comprehensive and all-inclusive, ensuring that you’ll have the skills and knowledge needed to serve as a valuable member of the legal team in any legal setting. Plus, as a student of Plaza College, you’ll also enjoy a variety of benefits, including a diverse range of programs and services to support your academic and professional ambitions. The School of Legal Studies and the Paralegal Certificate program are the newest additions to Plaza College, offering up the best in paralegal education.
Cincinnati State is a dynamic technical and community college that offers more than 100 associate degree programs and certificates and one of the largest cooperative education programs in the U.S. In fact, they boast more than 2,400 co-op job placements each year, thanks to their more than 600 business and industry partners. The 30-credit Paralegal Certificate program is an exciting addition to Cincinnati State’s academic offerings, delivering a comprehensive course of study in the legal field and the paralegal profession. As a student of this program, you’ll have access to the college’s vast array of student and career planning services, including Career Coach, an online planning tool that will help guide your academic and professional journey, and in-person career assessment, planning, and placement services.
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Why choose Lakewood College’s Paralegal Diploma program? Online delivery, instructor assistance, your own success coach, and a streamlined, nine-month course of study, for starters. We also love that this program comes complete with everything you need to make your program a success, including textbooks, study guides, and career search and time management guides. You’ll always feel part of the Lakewood College community throughout your course of study here, thanks to plenty of instructor guidance, unlimited tutoring, and access to Lakewood’s active student and alumni social community.
Department of Computers and Business
Legal Office Assistant Certificate
Northwest Technology Center’s Legal Office Assistant Certificate prepares students to become capable legal support professionals. You’ll learn about the clerical/administrative skills you need to provide assistance to attorneys, as well as advanced software skills and communication skills in this program. You even have the choice of completing it on a full- or part-time basis. Plus, you’ll get a valuable introduction to a variety of specialty legal areas, including criminal law, bankruptcy, and real estate law. We love this program, not only for its comprehensive course of study and career counseling and placement services, but for its on-the-job training program that allows students to work with businesses in the community to hone their skills and assist with a variety of office projects.
Online Legal Assistant Certificate
The one-year 45-credit Online Legal Assistant Certificate through Umpqua Community College is exactly what you need to land your first or your next paralegal job. Complete your paralegal studies through Umpqua Community College and you’ll enjoy a fully online course delivery and the flexibility of starting in the fall, winter, spring, or summer. Plus, you’ll have the benefit of expert faculty, personal attention, and access to the school’s advising and career services, which will help you manage your college experience and achieve your academic and career goals.
Law and Legal
Paralegal Certificate Program 1
Linn-Benton Community College is home to the Paralegal Certificate Program 1, a six-week course of study that will prepare you for your first paralegal job – or your next one! There’s plenty of reasons why we love this fully online, instructor-led program, including the flexibility of starting throughout the year and the Job Hunting course, a hands-on experience that allows students to find an internship or a job while completing program curriculum! Some of the valuable topics covered in this course include how to develop good working skills and job habits and how to find job leads. We also love that this online program provides plenty of opportunities for peer and instructor interaction, thanks to lively online discussion platforms.
Center for Professional Education
(also offers the Contract Law Specialist, Intellectual Property Specialist and Immigration Law Specialist Certificate programs)
The University of Texas at Austin knows what it takes to become a leader in the paralegal field, which is why the courses of the comprehensive Paralegal Certificate Program (and specialty paralegal certificate programs) cover the most in-demand legal skills, along with a foundational knowledge of ethics and legal principles. Whether you prefer an on-campus experience or the convenience of a completely web-based curriculum, the University of Texas at Austin has you covered. We also love the flexibility of this program, as students work with instructors to identify which elective courses best fit with their particular area of interest. You can choose from contract law, tort law, criminal law, family law, or business organizations to round out your paralegal program. In less than five months, you’ll have the knowledge and skills needed to sit for both the NALA and NFPA exams and enter the profession in any number of legal settings.
Professional Development Institute
The University of North Texas’ Professional Development Institute delivers one of the most streamlined and cost-effective paralegal programs, not just in Texas but in the entire nation. The Paralegal Certificate Program is designed for students looking for an alternative to a degree program that’ll get them from the classroom to the legal environment in just eight weeks. Whether you’re new to the field or looking for additional training to advance in your current position, this program is for you. We love the university’s commitment to the Professional Development Institute, which has served more than half a million professionals in the past 30 years. From top-quality instructors with years of experience in the field as Texas attorneys and paralegals to a fully online course delivery that includes modules that are released over an eight-week period, this unique program is designed to advance your career without requiring a huge time commitment. Want proof of this program’s success? Look to the more than 2,500 people who’ve graduated from this program in the past 24 years.
Paralegal General Practice Specialist Career Studies Certificate
(also offers Legal Assistant and Litigation Specialist Certificates)
Tidewater Community College, as the second largest of all colleges within the Virginia Community College System, is able to offer a vast selection of programs and courses, including the Paralegal General Practice Specialist—a 28-credit program that can be completed in as little as three semesters. There’s plenty to love about this program, too: the option of applying it to the college’s AAS in Paralegal Studies…instructors who are also successful members of the legal profession…and courses that provide you with the practical skills needed to excel in the paralegal field. We’re also big fans of the college’s support services, staffed with a team of academic advisors, professional tutors, career coaches, and counselors who are there to help you realize your academic and professional goals.
Division of Online and Continuing Education
The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh’s Paralegal Certificate program is all about flexibility for the aspiring paralegal. It’s designed to quickly transition you from student to professional, thanks to its 100 percent online, fast-track course delivery that can be completed in just 5-6 months. But don’t let the convenience of this program fool you: students of the Paralegal Certificate program receive a comprehensive course of training that was developed by an experienced paralegal. Consisting of two sections that cover law basics and law office operations, as well as practical study and in-depth study of different law specialties, this streamlined course of study offers everything you need to become a valued member of the legal team. Study here to become a paralegal and you’ll be part of the robust University of Wisconsin System—one of the largest systems of public higher education in the U.S.