The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the addition of more than 40,000 paralegal and legal assistant positions from 2016-2026. Students can prepare to enter this growing field by earning a paralegal bachelor's degree online. Online learning provides convenience and scheduling flexibility, and professionals with a bachelor's degree often enjoy more job opportunities and higher earning potential than associate degree holders.
The Best Online Paralegal Bachelor's Programs
Online Paralegal Bachelor's Degree Program Ranking Guidelines
We selected the following programs based on each program's academic quality and variety of available courses. We also considered the school's awards, rankings, and reputation.
1. Mississippi College
Mississippi College provides students with a quality education rivaling many Ivy League schools. MC's bachelor of science in paralegal studies requires applicants to submit a completed application, transcripts, and official ACT or SAT scores. International students must obtain at least a 69 TOEFL score or 5.5 IELTS score.
MC expects students to complete 130 credit hours to earn its paralegal degree online. This includes 46 core university credits covering English, history, social science, science, and math. Students must also attend chapel and take six credit hours in biblical studies. However, students also choose their own electives and minor. The typical minor at MC requires 18 credit hours, and students must work with their adviser to choose the right electives for their interests and career goals.
The paralegal degree online aims to inspire a commitment to Christian and democratic ideals, and the program emphasizes how civilization and philosophies in government progress over time.
Major classes include:
- Introduction to Law
- Civil Litigation
- Wills and Estates
- Real Property Law
- Legal Writing
Many of MC's paralegal faculty members are accomplished teachers with prestigious teaching awards. They remain active in professional organizations, frequently publish and present research, and attend professional conferences.
Mississippi College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
2. Tulane University of Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Tulane University resides in lively New Orleans, Louisiana. However, not every Tulane student completes all of their classes on-campus. The school offers a bachelor of arts in paralegal studies that includes both online and in-person classes. This program suits busy professionals, parents, and traditional students hoping to earn their degrees on a flexible schedule.
To gain admission to Tulane, individuals must submit their official high school transcripts. Transfer students must be in good standing at their previously attended universities.
This online paralegal degree is approved by the American Bar Association (ABA), making it the perfect first step for students who wish to earn an advanced legal degree. Graduates who earn this degree can immediately begin working as paralegals. Graduates also find jobs as legal assistants, law office managers, human resource administrators, court clerks, investigators, contract administrators, and insurance adjusters. To meet ABA requirements, students must take at least 12 in-person or synchronous credits.
In order to obtain a degree at Tulane, students must complete 120 credits, 36 of which come from paralegal courses. This degree also requires a 100-hour law office internship and coursework dedicated to legal professionalism and job search skills.
Core classes for this online degree include:
- Introduction to the Legal System
- Legal Research
- Legal Technology
- General Legal Studies Practicum
Tulane University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
3. Brandman University
Brandman University in Irvine, California, provides students with a bachelor of arts in legal studies with a paralegal profession concentration. Students can save time on commuting by taking some classes online. Students must live near Brandman to complete the hybrid program, but the university offers the same affordable tuition rate for in-state and out-of-state students.
To gain admission to the university, applicants must obtain 12 or more transferable bachelor-level credits with a 2.0 minimum GPA and submit a completed application and official transcripts.
Noteworthy classes for this online degree include:
- White Collar Crime
- Foundations of Law
- Interviewing, Negotiation, and Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Litigation and Trial Advocacy
- Ethics in a Legal Environment
The program also requires a capstone, and students must earn a C grade or better in all core classes. Brandman allows students to choose their own concentration courses, which include topics like victim advocacy, employment law, transactional law, and intellectual property.
In addition to core classes, Brandman expects students to complete 42 general education credits. These credits include topics like writing communication, natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Students completing the paralegal concentration qualify for the certified paralegal exam and work as paralegals in California. Students who wish to practice as paralegals in other states should check with that state's requirements. Graduates commonly earn jobs as paralegals, licensing examiners, government property investigators, regulatory affairs specialists, and title abstractors.
Brandman University is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WASCSCUC).
4. Charter Oak State College
New Britain, Connecticut
Located in New Britain, Connecticut, Charter Oak State College, a public university lives up to its tagline: "degrees without boundaries." The school offers a flexible bachelor of arts in general studies with a concentration in paralegal studies. Charter Oak developed this program with help from the Connecticut Bar Association.
The curriculum focuses on law, legal ethics, verbal and written legal communication, technology, doctrines of attorney and client privilege, the state's court structure, and how a paralegal's law firm relates to that structure. Through their studies, learners develop helpful legal research and management skills and understand practical applications often required of paralegals.
Charter Oak allows students to select up to 12 paralegal credits in order to tailor them to their career goals and interests.
Stand-out classes include:
- Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibilities
- Legal Research and Writing
- Wills, Probate, and Administration
- Juvenile and Education Law
- Bankruptcy Law
Charter Oak also requires students to complete a three-credit capstone class, and the school expects students without any paralegal experience to complete an internship. In addition, Charter Oak encourages students to take related classes like American government, introduction to psychology, and state and local government.
Charter Oak State College is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
5. University of Massachusetts - Lowell
The University of Massachusetts Lowell has long provided its students with real-world work experience in several fields. For students who want to pursue careers in law, the school offers a bachelor of science in criminal justice with an option in paralegal. Students pursuing this degree complete some classes on-campus and others online.
To apply, students must obtain a high school diploma or GED equivalent and submit an application fee. UMass Lowell charges the same affordable tuition rate for in-state and out-of-state students. To complete their degrees as quickly as possible, learners can enroll in fall, spring, and summer classes, taking several classes per semester. However, busy students with time constraints can take fewer classes per term.
Course topics include legal research, courts and jurisdictions, evidence and discovery, pleadings, and criminal and real estate law. This program also covers ethics and details about the criminal justice system.
Students can expect to take courses like:
- The Relationship of Law, Logic, and Ethics
- Introduction to Business Law
- Legal Research Methods
- Introduction to Corrections
UMass Lowell also requires students to complete 36-38 general education courses. These credits cover topics like college writing, social sciences, arts and humanities, and science. Students can also choose up to 18 free elective credits relating to their personal interests or career goals.
University of Massachusetts Lowell is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
6. Regent University
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Regent University is close to Norfolk International Airport and the Atlantic Ocean and near metropolitan area of more than 1.6 million people. The affordable Christian university boasts Georgian architecture and 70 acres of well-maintained grounds. Students do not need to take all their classes in a face-to-face format. In fact, they can earn a bachelor of science in paralegal studies from Regent primarily online.
This convenient online paralegal degree maintains affiliation with Regent University's American Bar Association-approved law school. Students learn legal terminology and brush up on research and writing skills. Regent expects students to draft motions, briefs, pleadings, and other court documents. Learners even cultivate interviewing skills, which becomes useful for communicating with clients and witnesses.
Overall, students gain an overview of common law practice areas like marriage and family, real estate, personal injury, and contracts. By graduation, students possess clerical and management skills in fee arrangements, time tracking, basic accounting, and detailed records management.
Regent helps graduates become indispensable legal team members. Former students often find jobs in law offices or government organizations as legal assistants, legal aid advocates, judiciary clerks, clerks of court, administrative assistants in court, and litigation support analysts.
Regent University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
7. Florida Gulf Coast University
Fort Myers, Florida
Located in Fort Myers, Florida, Florida Gulf Coast University represents a top choice for earning an online paralegal degree. FGCU offers a bachelor of science in legal studies that features dedicated instructors. FGCU cultivates quality professors for all its programs by offering training at its Lucas Center for Faculty Development.
Like most accredited online paralegal degree programs, this course of study prepares graduates to succeed in law school or in legal assisting and paralegal professional roles. Students learn law-related critical-thinking, writing, and research skills. The curriculum also covers aspects of the entire legal system, including contract law, torts, professional ethics, and criminal procedures.
FGCU also understands the importance of allowing students to tailor their degree plans to fit their own interests and career goals. For example, learners can take electives in litigation; wills; trusts and estates; real estate; or family, criminal, and international law.
Before taking upper-level courses, FGCU expects students to hold an associate degree in legal assisting or its equivalent. The program requires 48 upper-level credits, 21 core credits, 12 restricted elective credits, 12 general upper-level elective credits, and three university-required courses.
In addition to preparing students for law school, the Legal Studies program equips students to sit for professional legal assisting and paralegal studies certification exams, including both the Certified Legal Assistant's Exam sponsored by the National Association of Legal Assistants and the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam offered by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations.
Florida Gulf Coast University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
8. Liberty University Online
Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia offers a bachelor of science in paralegal studies. Many paralegal degree programs online still include in-person requirements. However, Liberty offers its program entirely online. Luckily, Liberty charges the same affordable tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state students, meaning learners can complete this degree from anywhere.
Students typically complete this 120-credit program in just 3.5 years. Most instructors who teach in the paralegal department at Liberty have worked as private practice partners, lawyers and attorneys, certified public accountants, certified mediators, and paralegals.
Through their studies, students gain a clear understanding of political and economic ideas, government institutions, and free market processes. Liberty teaches the fundamental skills professionals need to thrive as paralegals. Most graduates find paralegal jobs supporting attorneys, claims adjusters, or law clerks.
Noteworthy classes include:
- Constitutional Government and Free Enterprise
- Foundations of Law
- Criminal Practice and Procedures
- Family Law
To qualify for admission, applicants must submit an application, an application fee, unofficial college transcripts with a completed official transcript request form, a high school self-certification form, and proof of English proficiency. Liberty accepts students with a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA in good standing, but students with lower GPAs may be considered for probationary admission.
Liberty is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
9. Loyola University Chicago
Located in busy Chicago, Loyola University of Chicago provides students with the chance to earn a bachelor of arts in paralegal studies. This hybrid program requires some face-to-face meetings, while other courses take place fully online. However, Loyola offers weekend and evening class opportunities to provide flexibility for busy working professionals.
This program comprises 120 credits, and students must complete at least 10-credits of American Bar Association-designated legal specialty courses in a face-to-face classroom setting.
Through their studies, learners develop skills in legal research, analysis, and writing; legal ethics; and law office technology. This program requires 48 major credit hours, and students can transfer up to 24 major credits toward their degree. All major courses last eight weeks and take place on-campus. However, students can complete most other credits fully online.
To qualify for admission, students must submit an application and official transcripts from all prior institutions. Loyola expects applicants to demonstrate a 2.0 cumulative GPA and remain in good standing at all prior institutions. They must also hold an associate degree in paralegal studies or at least 15 credits in paralegal coursework. Graduates commonly find jobs as paralegals, legal assistants, or legal secretaries.
Noteworthy classes include:
- Civil Litigation
- Legal Technology and E-discovery
- Secured Transactions and Bankruptcy
- Advanced Legal Analysis and Writing
- Introduction to Degree Completion
Loyola University of Chicago is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
10. William Woods University
William Woods University in Fulton, Missouri was founded in 1870 in the aftermath of the Civil War. Originally an orphan school for girls, WWU officially became a college in 1914. Since then, the school has maintained its commitment to helping students grow and achieve goals. Students who wish to earn jobs as paralegals or law assistants can benefit from completing the university's bachelor of science in paralegal studies.
This online paralegal degree includes 42 semester hours in a 14-course sequence. Coursework focuses on substantive and procedural law and legal fact patterns. Upon graduating, students should understand professional ethics and possess strong communication and interpersonal skills.
Noteworthy classes include:
- Electronic Legal Research
- Administrative and Federal Procedure
- Evidence and Fact Gathering
- Probate and Estate Planning
- Law and Paralegalism
Many paralegals work in law offices, but not all graduates work in legal settings. For example, some find jobs in banks as documentation specialists or compliance officers, while others work in risk management in healthcare settings. Some graduates even work as legal administrators in businesses and corporations.
For admission into the program, individuals must submit an application, ACT or SAT scores, and high school transcripts. They must also demonstrate a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA and at least a 19 on the ACT or a 900 on the SAT. This paralegal program is a member of the American Association for Paralegal Education.
William Woods University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
11. Hampton University
Hampton University lies in Hampton, Virginia and offers a bachelor of arts in paralegal studies. Students do not need to commute to campus to earn this degree, as it follows an online format. Graduates typically earn this BA in paralegal studies in four years. Through online programs like this one, HU cultivates a diverse community of learners who work from the comfort of their own homes.
HU aims to help students graduate and become indispensable resources in the law field. Students can expect to learn substantive and procedural law, the ins and outs of the American legal system, how to deliver legal services, legal research and writing, law-related computer skills, and best practices for legal interviewing and investigation. This program also requires a hands-on internship experience.
Noteworthy classes include:
- Litigation and Trial Practice
- Introduction to Administrative Law
- Contemporary Legal Ethics
- Wills, Trusts, and Estates
- Domestic Relations
This program maintains a strong liberal arts focus through curriculum that reinforces verbal and written communication skills, scholarly research techniques, and analytical thinking. Graduates can apply these skills in their professional interactions with attorneys and legal clients. Graduates typically work in law firms, government agencies, legal services office, corporations, professional and trade associations, banks, real estate organizations, and other public- and private-sector businesses.
Hampton University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
12. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
Saint Mary of the Woods, Indiana
Located in West Terre Haute, Indiana, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College provides students with a quality bachelor of arts in paralegal studies. Since its 1841 founding, the school has championed women. The college began as a women's college, but it now enrolls both men and women. Even today, SMWC roots firmly in the Catholic faith.
To apply for the bachelor of arts in paralegal studies, the school expects students to submit ACT or SAT scores, high school transcripts, and official college transcripts, if applicable. The school does not charge an application fee.
This program teaches students the basic research, writing, organizational, and interpersonal communication skills they need to succeed as paralegals. It also encourages learners to examine political influences and historical patterns of law. This major requires 51 degree-related courses.
Noteworthy classes include:
- Interviewing and Investigation
- Law, Ethics, and Society
- Contracts and Commercial Transactions
- Advanced Research and Writing
- Computers in the Law
Many graduates build their careers working as paralegals in law offices. Others go on to work in banks, law enforcement agencies, private investigating firms, insurance companies, courts, and title companies -- all of which hire SMWC graduates. Individuals who earn this paralegal bachelor's degree online can even start their own freelance paralegal businesses. More than 90% of SMWC grads gain employment immediately after graduation.
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
13. Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Northwestern State University of Louisiana began educating the community in 1884 in a mansion on a hill overlooking Natchitoches. The school continued to grow and officially became Northwestern State University in 1970. Today, students can earn a bachelor of arts in criminal justice with a concentration in pre-law and paralegal studies.
Students can complete this degree entirely online, as it does not require any campus visits to enroll, pay fees, buy books, or register for classes. NSU also accepts transfer credits and is a military-friendly university. The school also waives certain fees for commissioned full-time law enforcement or public safety officers, including firefighters and emergency medical services personnel. Out-of-state students enrolled in online courses benefit from in-state tuition.
This 21-credit concentration includes seven courses focusing on pre-law, but students must complete additional courses to earn the bachelor of arts. The pre-law and paralegal studies concentration equips students with a well-rounded liberal arts degree. Graduates can seamlessly transition into post-graduate legal study or immediately jumpstart their paralegal career.
Noteworthy classes include:
- Adjudication Process
- Criminology, Foundations, and Punishment
- Juvenile Delinquency and Punishment
- Criminal Evidence and Procedure
- Advanced Criminalistic and Forensics
To qualify for admission, applicants must submit an application fee, official high school and college transcripts, an immunization waiver or record, and ACT or SAT scores. NSU accepts students with a minimum 2.0 high school GPA and satisfactory ACT or SAT scores.
Northwestern State University of Louisiana is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
14. Kent State University
Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, features more than 280 undergraduate programs of study, over 150 graduate degree and certificate programs, and eight campus locations. These programs include a bachelor of arts in paralegal studies. KSU designed this BA to be as flexible as possible. Students must complete some classes in-person (during the evening or the daytime), but many classes take place online.
KSU often accepts transfer credits from accredited universities. KSU compares each transferred course to other required courses and takes the earned grade into consideration. Students may only transfer two credits from a school not approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). Learners must earn at least 121 credits to complete their degree.
Noteworthy classes include:
- Introduction to Paralegal Studies and Professional Ethics
- Legal Research and Writing
- Principles and Practice of Litigation
- Law of Corporations and Other Associations
- Energy and Natural Resources Law
This program also requires an internship, allowing students to apply their gained knowledge to real-world law situations. The ABA-approved program typically takes students four years to complete. To apply, prospective students must submit ACT or SAT scores and high school transcripts. The university judges each applicant on a case-by-case basis.
Kent State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
15. Valdosta State University
In the heart of Valdosta, Georgia stands Valdosta State University, a public university featuring palm and oak trees and streaming fountains on its campus. The school has issued degrees for more than 100 years, offering over 100 majors, including a bachelor of arts in legal assistant studies.
This program prepares students to conduct legal research to support the legal system, make informed choices about ethical dilemmas, and understand the American legal system. It includes 42 general education classes, 18 major-related classes, 27 concentration elective credits, and 18 elective courses.
Noteworthy classes include:
- Introduction to Paralegalism
- Introduction to Criminal Justice
- Principles of Logic and Argumentation
- Writing for the Legal and Social Sciences Profession
- Human Communication
The degree also requires an internship and capstone project. Both experiences allow students to apply their gained knowledge to real-world situations. Learners must complete a formal minor, as well, to expand their knowledge base and set themselves apart in the paralegal field. Upon graduation, students should be equipped to take the national certification test for legal assistants and work as a paralegal.
Students can also benefit from working in a mock trial on VSU's campus. As an added perk, students who live in states bordering Georgia pay in-state tuition rates.
Valdosta State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
16. University of Providence
Great Falls, Montana
The University of Providence, located in scenic Great Falls, Montana, offers an American Bar Association (ABA)-certified bachelor of science in legal and paralegal studies. Many classes in this major take place online, but students must complete at least 10 credits in person to comply with ABA requirements. Individuals who wish to attend the school must submit an online application, official high school transcripts, and official SAT or ACT scores. After the school receives all required materials, applicants should hear back by mail within two weeks.
Through their studies, students learn to identify legally significant facts, interview clients to retrieve accurate information, communicate effectively with other professionals, draft memorandum and appellate briefs, and apply the paralegal ethical code of conduct to all decisions. The school designed this program primarily for students planning to pursue jobs as paralegals.
Paralegals cannot legally practice law or provide legal services directly to the public. However, those who work for attorneys play an important role in performing legal duties and preparing cases for trial.
Upon graduation, students often become paralegal professionals, corporate compliance professionals, lawyers, and banking associates. This program suits both students who wish to continue their education and become practicing attorneys and those who wish to work as paralegals immediately upon graduation. Students planning to further their education and become attorneys after earning this degree should attend law school.
University of Providence is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
17. Eastern Kentucky University
Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond offers a bachelor of arts in paralegal science. This hybrid degree suits students with busy schedules, as some classes take place online. In fact, only 10 credit hours must take place on campus. In-state and out-of-state students pay the same online tuition rate, and military service members receive a significant tuition discount. Students can transfer up to 90 credit hours, but they must complete at least 30 credits at EKU.
This partially online paralegal program boasts approval from the American Bar Association, meaning students who successfully complete the degree can sit for the Certified Kentucky Paralegal Exam upon graduation -- and the certified paralegal exams in most other states. Students should ensure EKU's program meets the requirements for their state's paralegal certification exam.
Graduates commonly earn jobs as paralegals and legal assistants for law offices and firms, nonprofit organizations, corporate in-house counsel offices, state and local government, courthouses, banks, and insurance agencies. EKU offers job placement assistance for all graduating students.
To gain program admission, applicants need a cumulative 2.5 high school GPA, a minimum 20 ACT composite score or combined SAT verbal and critical reading score of 950, or 24 hours of transfer credits from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum 2.0 GPA
Eastern Kentucky University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
18. Hodges University
Located in sunny Naples, Florida, Hodges University offers a bachelor of science in legal studies designed for busy professionals. The school maintains strong community ties, meaning it can tailor this BS to fit the needs of local businesses. Hodges boasts relatively small class sizes, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 14-to-1. This ensures that students receive the individual attention they need to thrive in their careers.
Noteworthy classes include:
- Administrative Law, the Regulatory Process, and Risk Management
- Governance and Management
- Mediation, Arbitration, and Conflict Resolution
- Employment and Human Resources
- Ethics and Law
Hodges' program best suits students who would benefit from legal training but do not wish to practice law. Through their studies, learners explore the relationship between law and various disciplines and learn how to write legal contracts. Graduates often work in the legal, law enforcement, business, political science, communications, human services, healthcare, and management fields. Example jobs include arbitrator, mediator, conciliator, law clerk, and office manager.
Students in this program enjoy a competitive edge thanks to its emphasis on the quickly changing e-discovery and e-litigation fields. Learners discover how to manage email, privacy issues, and electronically stored information and gain the skills to fill critical positions for legal professions requiring expertise in the e-landscape.
Hodges University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
19. Keiser University
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Located in the coastal city of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Keiser University offers a bachelor of science in legal studies. The school was founded in 1977 and has since grown into Florida's third-largest nonprofit university. Keiser serves 20,000 students, employs 3,800 faculty and staff members, and maintains a network of more than 66,000 alumni.
Through this program, learners develop legal research and drafting skills, analyze substantive law, discover the ins and outs of civil and criminal procedure, and advance litigation case files using law office technology. Like most paralegal degree programs online, Keiser emphasizes legal ethical dilemmas.
Noteworthy classes include:
- Legal Interviewing and Investigation
- Worker's Compensation
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Legal Research and Writing
- Income Tax
In addition to the required classes, students must also complete a capstone project, applying what they learned to real-world situations. They can also complete an internship to fulfill some elective requirements. Keiser expects students to take 12 upper-division general education classes, such as management information systems, workforce diversity, professional writing, and critical thinking.
Keiser's program prepares graduates to work in traditional paralegal positions or law office manager positions. Law office managers oversee the day-to-day operations that go into managing law firm offices, while paralegals typically work directly with attorneys to draft contracts and conduct important interviews.
Keiser University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
20. Grand View University
Des Moines, Iowa
Students who attend Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa can earn a bachelor of arts in paralegal studies. Grand View was founded in 1896 with the mission to provide high-quality education to diverse students through career-oriented, liberal arts-grounded curricula. Today, the school serves approximately 2,000 students each year. Classes at GV remain small, with an average student-to-faculty ratio of 16-to-1. GV is the only university in Iowa offering a bachelor's degree in paralegal studies.
This online paralegal degree requires an associate degree, which students can also earn at Grand View University. GV's program serves busy working professionals, featuring a convenient online format that allows students to maintain a full-time job while completing their degree. The school aims to connect students with valuable internship opportunities, as well.
Noteworthy classes include:
- Introduction to Public Administration
- Writing for Business
Learners can choose between two concentrations: business and human resource management or public administration. GV expects all students to complete an internship, senior seminar, and capstone project. The remaining required classes vary depending on the concentration.
For example, students who choose the public administration concentration must take classes like state and local government, American constitutional law and development, principles of macroeconomics, and state and local government. On the other hand, students in the business and human resource management concentration must take classes in financial accounting, principles of management, and employment law and labor relations.
Grand View University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
The Advantages of an Online Paralegal Bachelor's Degree
Earning a paralegal degree online prepares students to support attorneys by performing critical legal research, drafting documents, interviewing witnesses, and organizing files pertinent to cases. After completing paralegal degree programs online, graduates often work in law firms, federal and local government agencies, and private industries such as financial services. Bachelor's programs in the field explore political science and constitutional law while helping students strengthen their writing and research skills.
A bachelor's degree can increase a professional's career opportunities and earning potential. For an even more competitive advantage, some students pursue a master's degree in paralegal studies. Master's curricula typically cover topics including jurisprudence, advanced legal writing, administrative law, and intellectual property law. Additionally, many master's programs allow students to specialize in a certain area, such as healthcare compliance.
|Degree Level||Average Salary|
|Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies||$43,000|
|Bachelor's Degree in Paralegal Studies||$50,000|
Paralegal Bachelor's Degree Salary Information
An online paralegal degree provides the background necessary to work in firm and corporate settings. Litigation paralegals partner with attorneys to retrieve evidence and support courtroom trials, while corporate paralegals develop contracts and monitor government regulations to ensure company compliance. All paralegals need strong communication, research, and organizational skills. They must also help clients and colleagues feel comfortable enough to share personal and often sensitive information.
- Litigation Paralegal: These professionals collect and organize client documents and evidence that support attorneys' cases. Litigation paralegals often draft settlement agreements and may attend trials to ensure the appropriate display of exhibits.
- Corporate Paralegal: These paralegals prepare contracts, financial reports, and shareholder agreements in company environments. They ensure adherence to government regulations by monitoring laws and policies that affect their company's practice.
- Arbitrator: Arbitrators help disputing parties resolve their conflict without a courtroom trial. They clarify issues and concerns, gather information through interviews, and prepare settlement paperwork.
- Claims Adjuster: These professionals examine insurance claims so companies can decide whether and how much to pay. They make sure claims are not fraudulent and assess whether the policy covers the reported losses.
- Legal Staffing Recruiter: These recruiters help employment firms, government agencies, and human resources departments identify and onboard talent. They develop job posts, attend job fairs, and vett potential hires.
|Legal Staffing Recruiter||$44,000||$55,000||$60,000||$67,000|
Choosing an Online Paralegal Bachelor's Degree Program
Graduates with a bachelor's degree in paralegal studies work in a variety of legal environments, including insurance fraud investigation and legal assistance. Bachelor's programs in the field typically include foundational courses in civil litigation, contracts, and legal ethics. Students learn about the statutes and procedures of the U.S. legal system, and they familiarize themselves with computer applications and online research tools.
Students earning their paralegal degree online generally complete electives in law or a related area, such as communication or psychology. Learners use electives to customize their degree to match their current occupation or career goals. Common elective options in accredited online paralegal degree programs include trust drafting, administrative law, and environmental law. Additionally, some programs feature concentrations in areas such as business. Programs may also offer a law school track that prepares students to take the LSAT. Paralegal bachelor's programs may require students to complete an internship or submit a portfolio.
Accreditation for Online Paralegal Bachelor's Degrees
Students pursuing online paralegal education should only consider accredited online paralegal degree programs. Accreditation demonstrates that a school or program meets set academic standards, and many employers only hire graduates of accredited institutions. Additionally, graduate programs often require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited school.
Schools can hold regional or national accreditation, with regional accreditation serving as the more highly regarded type. Six regional agencies evaluate institutions based on their geographic location. National accreditation typically applies to for-profit institutions that offer vocational or religious programs. Regionally accredited institutions rarely accept credits or degrees earned from nationally accredited schools.
The U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education maintain databases of accredited schools. Additionally, paralegal students can look for programs with approval from the American Bar Association (ABA). However, fully online programs do not meet the ABA's standards for approval.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Paralegal Bachelor's Degree?
Most online paralegal degrees require about 120 credits, which include general education, major, and elective classes. Full-time students typically graduate in four years, but part-time learners may need an additional 1-2 years. Regardless of enrollment status, students can reduce their degree completion time by transferring previous credits or earning credit for professional experience.
Program format can also impact the time necessary to graduate. Some schools offer fully online paralegal programs, while others require in-person components. Paralegal programs may also require an internship or practicum experience, which can increase the program length.
Courses in an Online Paralegal Bachelor's Degree Program
Students completing paralegal degree programs online often take a combination of elective and core courses. Learners choose electives that fit their career goals, and core courses provide a foundation for effective legal practice. While course offerings vary by program, the classes below are common in most paralegal bachelor's programs.
- Introduction to Law: This course covers fundamental knowledge relevant to careers in the U.S. legal system, including roles as paralegals. Students learn about state and federal law, court processes, and the roles of various legal professionals.
- Legal Research and Writing: This course prepares aspiring paralegals to research and write legal documents. Students develop expertise using Lexis and Westlaw to conduct computer-based research, and they learn how to draft legal synthesis memos and client letters.
- Torts: Paralegals who work for attorneys must familiarize themselves with tort law. This course examines the major types of tort law, including negligence, intentional torts, and strict liability. Students acquire knowledge of statutes and case laws, civil procedures, and tort claim writing. Students review case studies and evaluate litigation procedures.
Paralegal Membership Associations
Joining a professional network exposes students and professionals to the latest knowledge and trends in the field. Membership also provides opportunities to network and pursue continuing education opportunities. Professional associations often host conferences and maintain forums. Many also post job openings to help members launch and advance their careers.
- National Association of Legal Assistants: The leading association in the U.S. for paralegal professionals, NALA offers publications, webinars, and courses to its more than 18,000 members. The organization also offers professional certification and data to help paralegals advance in the field.
- National Federation of Paralegal Associations: Established in 1974 as the country's first paralegal association, NFPA promotes paralegals' leadership in the legal community. NFPA comprises more than 50 member associations and 9,000 individual members. The organization offers an annual conference and conducts member-funded research.
- American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc.: This national association formed in 2003 to focus on the needs of experienced paralegals. The organization dedicates resources to the continuing education of these professionals. The alliance was the first to host the National Paralegal Summit and to offer a webinar for paralegals.
- Association of Legal Administrators: Established in 1971, ALA supports professionals who hold management positions in law firms, corporate law departments, and government agencies. The organization helps solve members' operational challenges. ALA offers volunteer opportunities, awards, and publications.
- American Association for Paralegal Education: This association promotes high standards in paralegal education and provides professional development through conferences and seminars. AAfPE researches and disseminates information relevant to the field, and it collaborates with other organizations to establish approval processes for paralegal programs.