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The Best Online Paralegal Bachelor's Programs

The Best Online Paralegal Bachelor's Programs

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With a paralegal bachelor's degree, graduates can pursue careers in the legal field without attending law school.

An online paralegal bachelor's degree introduces students to the legal system and provides career-ready training for paralegal jobs. Paralegals with a bachelor's degree stand out on the job market compared to those with a paralegal studies certificate or associate degree.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a faster-than-average growth in paralegal and legal assistant jobs between 2019-2029. Paralegals earn a median pay of around $25 per hour, with paralegals who work in finance, insurance, or federal jobs earning a median salary of over $64,000 per year.

Our list ranks the best online paralegal bachelor's programs to help prospective students find the right fit to help them reach their career goals. This page also introduces the earning potential and career outlook for different careers you can pursue with a paralegal studies degree.

Top 10 Online Paralegal Bachelor's Programs 2020

#1 Mississippi College Clinton, MS
#2 Tulane University New Orleans, LA
#3 Brandman University Irvine, CA
#4 Charter Oak State College New Britain, CT
#5 University of Massachusetts Lowell Lowell, MA
#6 Regent University Virginia Beach, VA
#7 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
#8 Loyola University Chicago Chicago, IL
#9 William Woods University Fulton, MO
#10 Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College West Terre Haute, IN

Best Online Paralegal Bachelor’s Programs

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4

Charter Oak State College 

New Britain, CT Apply Now

About this school

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.

Graduation Rate
68%
5

University of Massachusetts Lowell 

Lowell, MA Apply Now

About this school

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
  • Litigation

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.

Graduation Rate
60%
6

Regent University 

Virginia Beach, VA Apply Now

About this school

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.

Graduation Rate
61%
7

Liberty University 

Lynchburg, VA Apply Now

About this school

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.

Graduation Rate
47%
8

Loyola University Chicago 

Chicago, IL Apply Now

About this school

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
Graduation Rate
77%
9

William Woods University 

Fulton, MO Apply Now

About this school

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.

Graduation Rate
59%
10

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College 

West Terre Haute, IN Apply Now

About this school

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.

Graduation Rate
57%
11

Northwestern State University 

Natchitoches, LA Apply Now

About this school

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.

Graduation Rate
39%
12

Kent State University 

Kent, OH Apply Now

About this school

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.

Graduation Rate
58%
13

University of Providence 

Great Falls, MT Apply Now

About this school

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.

Graduation Rate
45%
14

Eastern Kentucky University 

Richmond, KY Apply Now

About this school

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

Graduation Rate
44%
15

Grand View University 

Des Moines, IA Apply Now

About this school

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.

Graduation Rate
50%
👏

End of list, bravo!

Ranking Methodology
Best Online Programs

Online Paralegal Bachelor's Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

What Is an Online Paralegal Bachelor's Degree?

A bachelor's degree in paralegal studies trains undergraduates in the legal system, civil procedure, contracts, and legal research and writing. Paralegal studies majors also strengthen their analytical skills.

A paralegal degree emphasizes career-ready skills and practical training. Prospective students should also consider a legal studies degree, which provides a broader foundation in the law and more general courses, with less focus on career-specific skills. A legal studies degree is best for students interested in pursuing further study, while a paralegal program is better for students seeking entry-level paralegal jobs.

While many graduates from a paralegal bachelor's program work as legal assistants or paralegals, graduates with paralegal training can work as compliance officers, arbitrators, claims adjusters, or mediators. A bachelor's degree in paralegal or legal studies can also help graduates apply to law school and become a lawyer.

Choosing an Online Program

Prospective online learners should consider several factors when choosing a program. For example, students should look at the school's accreditation status, graduation requirements, and program format, including whether the program is synchronous or asynchronous. The resources below can help students learn more about choosing an online degree.

How to Choose Your Major What to Look for in an Online College

What Else Can I Expect From a Paralegal Bachelor's Program?

During a bachelor's degree in paralegal studies, undergraduates take courses on the legal system, civil law, legal writing, and torts. These courses provide foundational training for legal careers. Some programs also offer electives in areas like corporate law, bankruptcy, and family law, allowing students to specialize their degrees.

Paralegal Bachelor's Curriculum

  • Introduction to Law: Introduction to law courses offer an overview of the legal system and the role of courts. Coursework covers things like the attorney-client relationship, constitutional law, contract law, and administrative law. Students also learn about civil vs. criminal law. The course lays the groundwork for advanced classes.
  • Legal Research and Writing: Paralegals can strengthen their legal research and writing skills in this course. Learners also gain practical skills in legal analysis, research, reasoning, and writing. The course covers topics like argumentation, investigation, statutory interpretation, and negotiation.
  • Torts: Classes on torts examine personal injury law, including the legal definition of negligence and its application in the court system. Students learn about liability rules, the theoretical foundation of torts law, and victim compensation. The class prepares paralegals for careers in personal injury law and civil law.

Paralegal Careers

A bachelor's degree in paralegal studies prepares graduates for careers that require legal training. While many graduates become paralegals, the degree can also lead to opportunities as an arbitrator, mediator, or claims adjuster. Graduates can also pursue law school and a later career as a lawyer or judge.

This section introduces the job responsibilities, earning potential, and job outlook for careers related to a paralegal studies degree.

Paralegal

Paralegals support lawyers by conducting legal research, drafting documents, and gathering evidence for cases. They write reports to help attorneys prepare for trial, draft legal documents like contracts or mortgages, and file briefs and appeals with the court.

Paralegals usually specialize in a particular area of the law, like those listed below.

  • Corporate law
  • Litigation
  • Personal injury
  • Bankruptcy
  • Estate planning and probate
  • Family law

In these areas, paralegals have specialized tasks. Corporate paralegals may prepare contracts, monitor government regulations, and create financial reports. Litigation paralegals manage documents from clients, conduct research, and organize evidence for trials.

During a bachelor's program, paralegals may specialize their training by choosing electives in a specific field of law. Most paralegals hold at least an associate degree or certificate in paralegal studies, though some employers prefer to hire paralegals with a bachelor's degree.

Median Annual Salary

$51,740

Job Outlook (2019-2029)

10%

Arbitrator

Arbitrators oversee negotiations between two parties to help them reach a resolution outside of the court system. They meet with disputants to discuss their issue, conduct research into the matter, and oversee negotiations between the two parties. Arbitrators may also interpret legal or regulatory matters in the conflict and prepare settlement agreements. Essentially, they act as impartial third parties to help resolve conflicts.

Some arbitrators hold a law degree and are practicing attorneys. However, many positions require only a bachelor's degree with some legal training. While arbitrators do not need a national license, some states require training and certification to work as an arbitrator or mediator.

Median Annual Salary

$63,930

Job Outlook (2019-2029)

8%

Claims Adjuster

Claims adjusters evaluate insurance claims to decide whether insurance companies must pay them. They inspect properties to evaluate the extent of the damage, determine whether a policy covers the loss, and decide how much the insurer should pay. Adjusters also interview witnesses, contact doctors to discuss personal injury claims, and create reports on their findings.

While many claims adjusters work for insurance companies, others work as public adjusters. These adjusters work for claimants to provide an independent evaluation of the insurance claim. They may receive a percentage of the claim as payment. Claims adjusters typically must hold a bachelor's degree, and legal training can help candidates find opportunities in this field.

Median Annual Salary

$66,540

Job Outlook (2019-2029)

-6%

Paralegal Professional Organizations

Professional organizations help paralegal studies graduates transition into the workforce. These organizations offer networking opportunities, conferences and events, professional development support, webinars, career resources, and certifications that demonstrate mastery of paralegal skills. Students can often benefit from membership discounts.

  • National Federation of Paralegal Associations Founded in 1974, NFPA is the oldest national paralegal association. Representing over 9,000 members, the federation offers professional development tools, publications covering developments in the field, and events where professionals can network. NFPA also offers certifications for paralegals who pass the CORE competency exam or the advanced competency exam.
  • American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc AAPI represents paralegals and sets professional standards and a code of ethics for the field. It hosts events with networking opportunities, posts job openings, and provides information on legal topics. AAPI also offers webinars, a national summit, and other professional development resources.
  • American Association for Paralegal Education AAfPE was founded in 1981. Through AAfPE, prospective paralegal students can learn about evaluating paralegal programs and finding the right program. The association also provides educational standards and information on paralegal core competencies for students and professionals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Paralegal a Good Career?

Paralegals earn a median pay of around $25 per hour, with much faster than average projected job growth. The field also offers career advancement opportunities, especially for paralegals who specialize in particular subfields.

What Jobs Can I Do With a Paralegal Degree?

A paralegal degree prepares graduates for careers as paralegals, legal assistants, claims adjusters, arbitrators, or mediators. Graduates can also return to school to pursue a law degree or a doctorate.

What Is the Highest Paying Paralegal Job?

The highest median wages for paralegals are in federal government roles, closely followed by those working in finance and insurance. The highest 10% of wage earners made over $82,500 in 2019, according to BLS data.

Is It Better to Have a Paralegal Certificate or Degree?

Both a paralegal certificate and a paralegal degree prepare graduates for careers in the legal field. However, some employers prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree, particularly for positions with management responsibilities.

Do Most Paralegals Become Lawyers?

No, paralegals do not always become lawyers. While some paralegals use their legal training to pursue a JD and become lawyers, they more commonly pursue careers that do not require passing the bar exam, like arbitrator or mediator.

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