The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the economy will add more than 40,000 jobs over the next decade. Students have the opportunity to join this expanding workforce by pursuing a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies online. Not only will students enjoy the convenience of an online degree, but graduates with a bachelor’s degree in the field often earn a significantly higher salary than employees with only an associate.
Choosing a Program
From insurance fraud investigation to legal assistance, graduates with a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies work in a variety of legal environments. Foundational courses in areas like civil litigation, contracts, and legal ethics ensure that students acquire the skills needed to effectively carry out their duties. Not only do students learn about the various statutes and procedures of the U.S. legal system, they also become well-versed in computer applications and online research tools.
A bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies requires students to complete a minimum number of elective credits in law or a related area like communication or psychology. Students customize their degree to match their current occupation or desired area of employment by enrolling in electives that match their goals. Examples of potential electives include trust drafting, administrative law, and environmental law. Additionally, some legal studies programs feature concentrations in areas like business or pre-law. Programs that offer a law school track prepare students for the LSAT exam. Students completing their paralegal bachelor’s degree may be required to complete an internship or a portfolio as part of the graduation requirements.
For career information, skip down:
- Curriculum for an Online Paralegal Bachelor’s
- Online Paralegal Bachelor’s Careers
- Certifications and Licenses a Paralegal Bachelor’s Prepares For
Online Paralegal Bachelor’s Degree Program Ranking Guidelines
We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.
The Best Online Paralegal Bachelor’s Programs
1Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
Saint Mary of the Woods, Indiana
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, based near Terre Haute, Indiana, offers a career-oriented paralegal bachelor’s degree. This program focuses on thinking and communication skills to prepare students for future opportunities in the legal field. This degree can be earned entirely online through asynchronous study and teaches degree candidates how to assist lawyers with research, interviews, and brief preparation. SMWC helps online students succeed by providing online writing support, tutoring, information technology support, and career counseling resources.
The bachelor’s of arts in paralegal studies at SMWC requires students to complete 120 credits, 51 of which come from major-related classes. The degree normally takes full-time students four years to complete. All distance learners earn 39 credits in core classes, including legal research, interviewing and investigation, computer applications related to the legal field, and civil litigation. Candidates also take 12 elective credits, such as criminal law, family law, intellectual law, and property law. Additionally, students complete legal practicums where they gain field experience with lawyers and/or in legal offices.
Prospective students submit their high school or college transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. The college also encourages all student to complete the FAFSA to identify financial assistance opportunities. SMWC accepts transfer credits from other accredited higher educational institutions, from high school advanced placement courses, and based on exams. The college may grant individuals up to 30 transfer credits through prior learning assessments.
SMWC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The paralegal program aligns with standards provided by the American Association for Paralegal Education.
2 Keiser University–Ft Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Keiser University, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, offers a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies online. This program helps students develop critical thinking, written, and verbal communication skills. Candidates also gain knowledge about the structure of the legal system in the United States. This degree prepares students to work as paralegals or go on to enroll in law school. Keiser helps students translate their educational experiences into rewarding jobs through career counseling and professional development services.
Keiser’s bachelor’s of arts in legal studies requires candidates to earn 120 credits. The program normally takes four years to finish. Students begin by completing lower-division major classes that cover foundational legal topics, such as civil and criminal litigation, contracts, property law, and family law. Individuals then focus on specialized upper-level major courses, which teach skills and knowledge related to the legal support field, such as legal drafting, workers compensation, torts, immigration law, and legal technologies. Distance learners also take upper-division general education classes related to information systems, critical thinking, workforce diversity, and professional writing.
Applicants without previous college experience must provide their high school transcripts or GED records. Transfer students send transcripts from previously attended higher education institutions. Keiser accepts transfer credits from regionally accredited colleges and considers granting transfer credits for classes at non-accredited institutions on a case by case basis. The university requires all students to complete at least 25% of their total credits at Keiser.
Keiser is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
3 Liberty University
Liberty University, located in Lynchburg, Virginia, prepares students for legal support careers through its paralegal bachelor’s degree program. Students learn about the American legal system, government structure, and the interface between politics and law. The program focuses on practical legal skills, such as writing and filing depositions, and the importance of legal research. Liberty promotes student success through its online writing and tutoring services. The university’s online student life center also helps distance learners feel connected to the wider Liberty community through chat groups, counseling, and devotional resources.
Students in Liberty’s bachelor’s of science in paralegal studies program can take all classes online in a convenient, asynchronous format. The degree consists of 120 credits and requires four years of full-time study. Students take general education classes covering communication skills, information literacy, math, science, technology, and critical thinking. As a Baptist institution, Liberty also requires students to take classes in Christian philosophy. Paralegal degree candidates complete major core courses that detail constitutional government, legal writing, legal research, criminal practice, and family law.
Applicants without prior college experience send in their high school transcripts, while transfer students also submit all of their higher education records. Liberty normally only accepts applicants with GPAs of 2.0 or better. The university maintains a generous transfer credit policy and allows incoming students to apply up to 90 transfer credits towards a degree. Liberty also grants transfer credit for some forms of military service.
Liberty is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
4 Brandman University
Brandman University, based in Irvine, California, offers a paralegal bachelor’s degree that emphasizes contemporary legal issues. Students learn best practices for managing legal offices and how to support lawyers with document preparation, legal research, and litigation logistics. Distance learners also develop critical thinking and research skills. This degree is offered entirely online or in hybrid format and prepares candidates to take the Paralegal Core Competencies Exam and the Certified Paralegal examination.
Students in Brandman’s bachelor’s of arts in legal studies, paralegal profession program take major core classes that focus on government, legislation, and the overall legal field. Studied topics include constitutional government, contracts, litigation and trial policy, and ethical considerations. Specialized courses consist of law practice management, victim advocacy, intellectual property, and employment law. Online classes, delivered in an asynchronous format, allow working students to study at their convenience.
This program accepts candidates who hold at least 12 college credits and GPAs of 2.0 or better. The university typically only accepts transcripts from regionally accredited institutions, but Brandman maintains generous credit transfer policies. Military veterans can also receive transfer credit for training, and other forms of work experience may qualify for credit. Transfer students can draft portfolios in special classes to apply for work-based credit. Brandman supports online students with a range of dedicated student resources, including enrollment coaches, academic advisors, and career counselors.
Brandman is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
5 Eastern Kentucky University
Future legal support professionals can complete Eastern Kentucky University’s bachelor’s paralegal degree program almost entirely online. This program requires 120 credits, and students can earn 110 of these credits through online classes. The degree balances a liberal arts education with professional development in the legal field. Graduates can go on to work as legal assistants, paralegals, and government officials. EKU offers job placement assistance to help program graduates find meaningful employment.
Students seeking a BA in paralegal science degree at EKU complete general education liberal arts requirements before focusing on legal topics. Students in the program take core courses covering legal research and writing, trial process, real estate and bankruptcy, and legal administration. Individuals choose from electives that include family law, criminal law, business organization, and estate planning. Distance learners also complete paralegal internships. Near the end of the program, students complete a two-week residency in Richmond, Kentucky where they take courses and engage in hands-on experiences by visiting the Kentucky Courthouse vault and meeting with sitting judges in the courtroom.
The university accepts first-time freshmen who hold fewer than 24 college credits, GPAs of 2.5 of better, and competitive ACT or SAT scores. Applicants must also meet college readiness standards in English, reading, and math. Alternatively, they can take classes at EKU to gain full admission. Transfer students with 24 or more college credits must hold GPAs of 2.0 or better; however, they do not need to submit standardized test scores.
EKU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
6 Loyola University Chicago
Loyola University of Chicago offers a bachelor’s of paralegal studies degree that trains legal support professionals through online courses. This program, offered through the university’s school of continuing and professional studies, prepares students to support lawyers and government offices. The program also teaches degree candidates to act as socially conscious and ethical citizens. Loyola helps online learners succeed by providing technology support, professional development, and career counseling.
Loyola’s BA in paralegal science consists of 120 credits. Students learn about foundational legal topics, including legal writing, computer applications, ethics, research, and American law. Learners then choose to focus on civil litigation, corporate practice, or enter a combined civil litigation and corporate practice track. Students take courses on professional identity and development before completing a capstone. The program delivers courses in eight-week sessions.
Loyola accepts applications on a rolling basis. Potential students must submit high school and/or college transcripts. Loyola maintains transfer-friendly policies and accepts credits from regionally accredited institutions. Transfer students with 30 or more college credits may choose abbreviated general education tracks, allowing them to earn their degrees faster. The university offers prospective transfer students online tools to determine how many transfer credits they can apply toward their Loyola degrees. However, the school does require that all students finish at least 60 credits at the university or complete their last 45 credits through uninterrupted study at Loyola.
Loyola is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
7 Mississippi College
Mississippi College, based in the city of Clinton, offers an online paralegal studies bachelor’s degree that prepares students to support attorneys in specialized legal fields. Individuals learn to conduct basic legal research, prepare legal documents, and understand procedural rules in different court systems. Hosted by the department of history and political science, this degree also teaches degree candidates about government structures and political issues.
Distance learners pursuing this bachelor’s of science in paralegal studies degree at MC cover core topics in legal office practices, including litigation, wills and estates, family law, legal research and writing, and legal office management. Students also take electives related to politics and history, as well as general studies courses covering English, social science, mathematics, fine arts, and physical education. Due to MC’s Baptist roots, students must also take religious studies courses. Paralegal students participate in internships at law offices and government agencies to gain paralegal experience. This degree requires candidates to earn a total of 130 credits.
Incoming freshmen apply by submitting their high school transcripts or GED records and ACT or SAT scores. Transfer students with more than 12 college credits must submit transcripts from previously attended colleges. All applicants should hold GPAs of 2.0 or better. MC allows transfer students to bring in up to 65 credits from other regionally accredited schools, and the college provides online resources to help individuals determine how many transfer credits they can apply toward their MC degrees.
MC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
8 Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Northwestern State University, located in Natchitoches, Louisiana, offers an online paralegal bachelor’s concentration as a part of its BA in criminal justice degree program. This course of study prepares students to work as paralegals or further their education by attending law school. Students receive a well-rounded liberal arts education, broad knowledge of criminal justice, and the specific skills needed to manage law offices. NSU facilitates student success with several support services. For example, academic advisors help distance learners plan their course of study to match their goals and fit their schedules, while support staff provide tutoring and teach students study skills. Additionally, career counselors help students find gainful employment.
NSU’s bachelor’s of arts with a concentration in pre-law and paralegal studies requires candidates to earn 120 credits. Individuals in this program complete university core liberal arts requirements in English, mathematics, humanities, social science, and science. Students also take criminal justice classes that cover police process, corrections, juvenile justice, and homeland security. Candidates then learn about legal research, litigation, estates and trusts, family law, and corporate law.
First-time freshmen submit their high school transcripts, with GPAs of 2.35 or better, and ACT or SAT scores. Individuals with higher standardized test scores may gain admission with lower GPAs. Freshmen candidates also need to meet high school course requirements in English, science, math, and history. Transfer students submit their college transcripts; those with 23 or fewer college credits must also include high school transcripts. NSU accepts transfer credits from other regionally accredited institutions and participates in programs to facilitate easier transfer for students with associate degrees from schools in Louisiana.
NSU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
9 Hampton University
Hampton University, located on the coast in Virginia, offers a bachelor’s paralegal degree that graduates effective legal support professionals. Hampton designed this program for current professionals in the legal field as well as for individuals who aspire to work as paralegals. The program emphasizes verbal and written communication, logical thinking, and research skills. This degree provides a broad liberal arts education. Online classes use an asynchronous format, allowing candidates to pursue this degree at their convenience.
Hampton helps distance learners succeed by providing ample support services. Academic advisors partner with students to plan their course of study, while staff and peer tutors assist students with academic work. Additionally, financial literacy advisors teach degree candidates to efficiently manage money and career counselors help graduating students secure jobs.
This bachelor’s of arts in paralegal studies requires candidates to earn 122 credits and normally takes four years to complete. Students take university general education classes that cover writing, humanities, mathematics, economics, and history. Major core classes teach various topics in the legal field, including legal research and writing, constitutional law, criminal law, personal injury, wills and estates, and bankruptcy. Students also take classes in psychology and sociology.
First-time freshmen apply by submitting high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores, although individuals with GPAs of 3.3 or higher do not need to send in standardized test scores. Transfer students submit letters of recommendation and transcripts detailing their college experience. Transfer students with fewer than 30 college credits may also need to supply high school transcripts and standardized test scores. Hampton requires all applicants to submit autobiographical essays.
Hampton is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
10 Tulane University of Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Tulane University, based in New Orleans, Louisiana, offers an online paralegal bachelor’s degree that provides students with broad academic knowledge about the law as well as practical legal support experience. This BA in general legal studies with a certificate in paralegal studies prepares graduates to work in legal support roles or go on to law school. The flexible curriculum lets students select electives that match their individual learning goals. Tulane helps students succeed by providing academic advising, tutoring and academic coaching, career counseling, and technology services.
Tulane’s legal studies degree with an emphasis on paralegal studies requires students to complete 120 credits. Distance learners select classes in general education topics including writing, critical thinking, math, business statistics, and foreign languages. They also practice oral communication skills through public speaking, small group communication, and business communication classes. Students then take major core classes that cover important legal issues like legal research, legal writing, litigation, and computer technology in law firms. All students participate in internships at law firms or government offices to gain practical paralegal experience.
Candidates apply by submitting high school or college transcripts. The university prefers applicants with GPAs of 3.0 or better. Tulane encourages all prospective students to fill out the FAFSA to determine their eligibility for financial aid. The university accepts transfer credits from other regionally accredited institutions, and incoming transfer students may also earn credit based on examinations and professional licensure.
Tulane is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
11 Florida Gulf Coast University
Fort Myers, Florida
Florida Gulf Coast University, based in the city of Fort Myers, offers an online BS in legal studies program that prepares students to enter law school or pursue work as paralegals. Students in this course of study prepare for various paralegal certifications, such as the Certified Paralegal examination and the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam. This curriculum, which can be completed online, provides students with a broad understanding of the law and how it relates to social issues. Graduates also know hot to conduct legal research at a high level of competency.
This bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies program requires candidates to earn 120 total credits and generally takes four years to complete. All students in the program learn core legal concepts such as criminal procedure, legal research and writing, torts, contracts, and ethical issues. They also develop their logical thinking and rhetorical skills. Students can select from a variety of major electives, including dispute resolution, courtroom techniques, family law, estates and trusts, and real estate law. Degree candidates must earn a grade of ‘C’ or better in all major courses.
Prospective students with fewer than 12 college credits apply with high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. First-time freshmen must meet high school course requirements in English, math, science, and foreign language study. Transfer students with 12 or more college credits supply transcripts from previously attended colleges. FGCU accepts transfer credits from other regionally accredited institutions, and the university participates in programs to facilitate credit transfer from two-year community colleges in Florida.
FGCU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
12 University of Maryland-University College
The University of Maryland – University College offers a bachelor’s of science in legal studies that provides students with important legal support skills. This course of study focuses on conducting legal research, applying legal concepts to resolve disputes, and meeting client objectives through document management. The degree, developed to reflect the needs of employers, teaches candidates practical legal office job skills.
This program, which can be completed online, requires candidates to complete 120 credits. It normally takes four years of full-time study. Students pursuing this paralegal studies bachelor’s degree must maintain a GPA of 2.0 or better to graduate. University general education courses cover basic research skills, writing, humanities, social sciences, physical sciences, math, and computer technology. Major core courses delve into key legal issues, including legal research, ethics, torts, domestic relations, criminal law, litigation, and contracts. Students also take elective classes to further tailor their degree, and many select minor concentrations.
UMUC requires first-time freshmen applicants to submit high school transcripts, although the university does not ask for standardized test scores. Candidates with at least 24 college credits apply as transfer students and submit only their college transcripts. UMUC boasts flexible transfer credit options and accepts up to 90 transfer credits from accredited colleges and universities and up to 70 credits from community colleges. The university maintains transfer agreements with many two-year Maryland institutions. UMUC also grants credit for military training and through examinations.
UMUC is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
13 William Woods University
William Woods University, in Fulton, Missouri, hosts an online paralegal bachelor’s program that prepares students for legal support careers. Program graduates can go on to work as paralegals, government administrators, and in corporate law office settings. This program, approved by the American Association for Paralegal Education, teaches key skills needed in legal support roles. Students learn about the American legal system, legal research and writing, interviewing and investigation, and relevant computer skills. This flexible course of study requires students to attend eight-week classes online and allows degree candidates to start and stop their studies to accommodate individual work schedules.
The bachelor’s of science in paralegal studies at William Woods requires students to complete 122 credits, with 42 credits related to major courses. This degree normally takes full-time students four years to finish. Major core courses cover a variety of legal topics, such as legal research, evidence handling and fact gathering, criminal practice, civil practice, estate planning, and constitutional issues. All students also participate in practicums where they assist law offices through virtual internships. Distance learners undertake a capstone project where they demonstrate proficient legal reasoning by completing assignments that integrate many of the key concepts learned during the program.
William Woods accepts freshman applicants with high school GPAs of 2.5 or better and competitive ACT or SAT scores. Candidates with higher education experience apply with college transcripts and must hold GPAs of 2.0 or higher. Transfer students seeking financial aid should supply their high school transcripts. Transfer students can apply up to 70 credits from other institutions to this degree program, but students must complete their final 30 credits at William Woods.
William Woods is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
14Kent State University
Kent State University, in northeast Ohio, offers a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies online that includes broad liberal arts educational requirements. This interdisciplinary program teaches students critical thinking skills, the ability to conduct legal research, and in-depth knowledge of the American legal system. This curriculum, approved by the American Bar Association, qualifies students to take the Certified Paralegal examination. Kent State fosters student success through various support services, including academic advising, subject-specific tutoring, and career counseling.
Kent State’s BA in paralegal studies requires degree candidates to earn 121 credits. It typically takes four years of full-time study. Students complete general education requirements with classes in composition, foreign language studies, math, science, and humanities. Major classes include legal research and writing, litigation, and professional ethics. Students learn about specialized legal issues by taking major elective courses that cover topics such as family law, contracts, tort law, patent and trademarks, and labor law. Distance learners also participate in internships in law offices and government agencies, gaining practical experience in the legal field.
Freshman applicants submit their high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores, although individuals out of high school for more than three years do not need to send standardized test scores. Applicants without higher education experience must have completed high school coursework in English, foreign language studies, math, science, and the humanities. Transfer students apply by submitting college transcripts, and those with fewer than 12 college credits must also provide high school records and standardized test scores. Kent State accepts transfer credits for courses completed at other regionally accredited institutions. The university also grants transfer credit for military training.
Kent State is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
15 Charter Oak State College
New Britain, Connecticut
Charter Oak State College, based in New Britain, Connecticut, offers an online bachelor’s paralegal concentration through its BA general studies program. This degree, developed in coordination with the Connecticut Bar Association, helps students develop the key competencies needed for success in the legal support field. Degree candidates learn about federal and state government organizational structures, legal research techniques and writing best practices, and ethical considerations. The curriculum teaches students to manage legal offices and support lawyers in different legal subfields. Students also gain broad academic experience in the liberal arts.
This BA in general studies with a concentration in paralegal studies requires 120 credits and normally takes four years of full-time study to complete. Distance learners in this program take general studies classes in history, social science, science, and mathematics. Paralegal concentration students complete courses in American government, business law, legal research and writing, technology, communication, civil procedures, and ethics. Students then choose electives that investigate specialized topics, such as family law, wills, elder law, real estate, healthcare, insurance, and environmental law. Learners also complete a capstone project where they research complex legal issues.
Charter Oak normally requires applicants to hold at least nine college credits. Candidates apply by submitting college transcripts and standardized test scores. The college maintains generous credit transfer policies to help incoming students finish their degrees quickly. Charter Oak accepts transfer credit from other regionally accredited institutions and grants credit for professional training.
Charter Oak is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
Based in Naples, Florida, Hodges University offers a bachelor’s of science in legal studies that provides distance learners with the knowledge and skills needed to work as legal support professionals. This bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies online program teaches students to conduct legal research, collect evidence, and prepare litigation briefs and legal documents. Hodges designed this curriculum for students who want pursue work as a paralegal immediately after graduation or for individuals who plan to go on to law school. Coursework covers relevant topics in the legal management field, such as digital information security and email privacy issues. The university helps students succeed by providing academic guidance, career counseling, and technology support.
This degree requires students to complete 120 credits. Many asynchronous online classes offer accelerated options, and students can complete the curriculum in as few as five semesters of full-time study. Students pick general studies classes in English, math, science, humanities, social science, communications, and computer science before going on to complete major core classes in civil law, torts, contracts, property law, digital privacy, constitutional law, and legal research and writing. Students also choose electives to further tailor their degrees. Distance learners must maintain a GPA of at least 2.0 to graduate.
First-time freshmen apply by submitting their high school transcripts. The university maintains agreements with public schools in Collier and Lee Counties and grants college credit for some classes at high schools in those districts. Transfer students submit their college transcripts. The university also requires most applicants to write a personal essay. Candidates without extensive college-level experience take skill assessment and placement exams.
Hodges is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
17 Valdosta State University
Valdosta State University, located in southern Georgia, offers an online bachelor’s of paralegal studies program that turns students into capable legal support professionals. Enrollees learn to conduct legal research in a variety of legal settings; gain an understanding of local, state, and federal government entities; and learn how to act ethically in the legal field. Students in this program qualify to take professional certification tests, such as the Certified Paralegal examination, to prepare them for legal assistant careers. VSU maintains a dedicated office to help online students with technology support issues.
The bachelor’s of arts in legal assistant studies degree at VSU requires degree candidates to complete 120 credits. The program normally takes four years to finish. Students take 60 credits of general education classes in English, foreign languages, mathematics, humanities, social science, and science. Major core courses cover topics including legal research and writing, logic and argumentation, criminal justice, and computer technology. Students in this program also complete a capstone project and participate in internships in law offices or government agencies, giving them hands-on experience in the legal support profession.
First-year students apply by submitting high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. Applicants with 30 or more college credits submit college transcripts and must have a GPA of 2.0 or better. VSU accepts transfer credit from other regionally accredited institutions, and the university maintains credit transfer agreements with many Georgia community colleges. VSU also offers transfer credit based on examinations.
VSU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
18 Peirce College
Peirce College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania offers a bachelor’s of science in paralegal studies degree that prepares candidates to become valuable members of the legal support community. This paralegal bachelor’s program, recognized by the American Bar Association, qualifies students to take the Certified Paralegal examination. The degree emphasizes practical skills used in law office management professions. Online classes, available in an asynchronous format, allow busy working students to study at their convenience. Peirce helps distance learners in this program through support services that include academic advising, tutoring, and career development opportunities.
This paralegal degree requires candidates to earn 121 credits. Students take 60 credits of general education classes, including English, rhetoric, ethics, social science, math, science, and computer technology coursework. Legal support core classes cover legal research and writing, family law, property law, criminal law, tort, contracts, and professional ethics. Students also complete a capstone project where they apply their newfound skills to complex legal issues such as civil litigation and regulations. Additionally, individuals have the opportunity to participate in cooperative work experiences in legal offices to gain hands-on, practical experience.
Prospective students apply online by submitting their high school or college transcripts. Peirce endeavors to help adult transfer students complete their undergraduate degrees and offers transfer credit for classes taken at other regionally accredited institutions. Peirce maintains transfer agreements with many Pennsylvania community colleges.
Peirce is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
19 SUNY College of Technology at Canton
Canton, New York
SUNY College of Technology at Canton offers a bachelor’s of science in legal studies that helps students become capable legal support professionals. This paralegal bachelor’s degree combines an interdisciplinary approach that exposes students to liberal arts topics with specialized training in legal support skills. Candidates learn about legal writing and research, studying topics in various legal subfields. Online classes, delivered in an asynchronous format, provide students with increased flexibility. Canton supports student success through online tutoring resources and IT help services. The college also maintains an online student engagement tool to help online students participate in student organizations and clubs.
This program requires distance learners to complete 120 credits. Individuals typically take seven or eight semesters to graduate. Students take liberal arts general education requirements where they cover communication skills, math, history, social sciences, science, foreign language study, and the arts. All degree candidates must also demonstrate competency in critical thinking and information management skills. Legal studies students focus on criminal law, business law, civil litigation, and constitutional law. They also choose legal studies electives, such as torts, family law, immigration law, trial law, American Indian law and federal policy, wills and trusts, and environmental law. Students can opt to participate in internships in legal offices to gain additional hands-on experience.
Incoming freshmen apply by submitting their high school transcripts, while transfer students submit high school and college records. Canton accepts transfer credit from equivalent courses at regionally accredited institutions. Transfer students can also apply for credit through examination or by creating portfolios that highlight the skills they gained from professional training. However, students must complete at least 30 credits while enrolled at Canton.
SUNY Canton is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Regent University, based in Virginia Beach, Virginia, offers an online paralegal bachelor’s degree that helps students launch meaningful careers in the legal support field. Program graduates provide legal assistance in law offices, government agencies, and corporate legal departments. Students in this program learn about legal terminology and improve their research and writing skills. Candidates also develop the clerical and office management skills needed to work in the legal support field.
All Regent students complete the university’s general education requirements. These include classes in English, public speaking, and academic research. Affiliated with the International Evangelical Church, Regent requires all students to complete classes in Christian theology and leadership. Individuals pursuing this bachelor’s of science in paralegal studies degree take major core classes covering specific paralegal topics, such as legal research and writing, judicial systems, litigation, contracts, family law, real estate, and law office management. Candidates can also choose from classes in history, criminology, and government.
Regent facilitates student success through a variety of support services. Student engagement officers help connect new students to the resources they need to succeed, and academic advisors help distance learners plan their curriculum to match their goals and schedules. The university also maintains an academic support center to provide extra instruction in math and writing. Career counselors help Regent students plan for and find rewarding jobs.
Prospective students apply online by submitting high school or college transcripts. Regent maintains generous credit transfer policies, and the university accepts credits from other regionally accredited institutions. Regent also grants credit for military experience.
Regent is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Curriculum for an Online Paralegal Bachelor’s
Students enrolled in a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies online complete a combination of elective and core courses. Elective courses enable students to tailor their program to their needs, and core courses lay the foundation for effective practice in the legal space. While course offerings vary by program, the courses in the list below appear in most core curriculums.
- Introduction to Law: This course oreints students to the fundamentals of careers in the U.S. legal system. Course material focuses on state and federal law, court processes, and the roles of various legal professionals. Knowledge of basic legal procedures and policies covered in this course is necessary for a career as a paralegal.
- Legal Research and Writing: This course equips paralegals and similar professionals with some of the most important skills in the field, including the ability to research and write legal documents. Students develop expertise using Lexis and Westlaw to conduct computer-based research and learn how to draft legal synthesis memoranda and client letters.
- Torts: Familiarity with tort law is critical for paralegals employed by attorneys. 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 frequently review case studies and evaluate litigation procedures.
Online Paralegal Bachelor’s Careers
Students who pursue their bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies online are not limited to a career as a legal assistant. Students can pursue several professional opportunities, including employment in insurance, health and safety inspection, and real estate. Graduates of paralegal programs possess strong organizational, communication, and interpersonal skills. They are adept researchers and proficient in a variety of computer applications.
- Paralegals and Legal Assistants: These professionals work for lawyers and assist them with legal research, collecting evidence, and writing reports. Paralegals frequently arrange meetings with clients, other lawyers, and witnesses. They typically work full-time and manage many cases simultaneously.
- Median Annual Salary: $49,500
- Projected Growth Rate: 15%
- Claims Adjusters, Appraisers, Examiners, and Investigators: Professionals in these occupations evaluate insurance claims to determine the necessity and value of insurance company payout. Commonly tasked with claims investigation, these professionals assess loss to determine the validity of a claim made by the insured party. Graduates with a paralegal bachelor’s degree stand out when applying for jobs with insurance companies.
- Median Annual Salary: $63,670
- Projected Growth Rate: -1%
- Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians: Roughly a quarter of all occupational health and safety specialists are employed by the government. Both specialists and technicians inspect potentially hazardous work environments. They evaluate workplaces, write reports, and sometimes implement training procedures. A bachelor’s degree is required for specialist-level positions and familiarity with federal regulations is necessary.
- Median Annual Salary: $66,820
- Projected Growth Rate: 8%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Certifications and Licenses a Paralegal Bachelor’s Prepares For
- NALA Certified Paralegal: The National Association of Legal Assistants offers a certified paralegal program to professionals with an associate or bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies. To become certified, applicants take a knowledge exam and a skills exam. Certified paralegals’ credentials demonstrate their expertise in the field.
- NALS Professional Paralegal: Students who earn their bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies online are eligible to sit for the National Association for Legal Professionals’ paralegal certification exam. The exam consists of four parts and assesses written communication abilities, knowledge of substantive law and legal procedures, and ethics. Earning NALS credentials increases professional marketability.
- NFPA Certified Paralegal: The National Federation of Paralegal Associations features two exams that lead to paralegal certification: the Paralegal CORE Competency Exam and the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam. Candidates for certification embody the CORE model: competent, organized, responsible, and ethical. Both of these exams prepare paralegals for careers as lawyer assistants, contract paralegals, and independent paralegals.