A Paralegal is defined in most states as a person who is qualified to do most of the work of a lawyer, with the exception of providing legal advice to clients and representing them in court, plus any additional state-specific restrictions.
The growing Paralegal profession (18% jobs growth between 2010 and 2020, inclusive, and 15% between 2016 to 2026) is one that often supplements other work/ disciplines. For example, while the minimum education to qualify as a Paralegal is a certificate, there are academic programs from associate’s up through doctorate levels — albeit not all online. As well, professionals in other professions might supplement their knowledge by completing paralegal studies, in order to apply such skills in very specific fields — e.g., technical/ scientific, finance, entertainment, etc., and of course law.
Careercast ranked paralegal work at #17 on their top 200 careers list, compared to #82 for lawyers. Law firms like to hire paralegals for several reasons, including a lower billing rate for clients, lower hourly cost for unbilled hours (and thus an increased per-hour profit), qualified legal assistants, more interaction with clients via paralegals (at a reduced rate) — leading to lawyers taking on more cases, etc. Of course, someone who completes a paralegal/ legal studies degree can still pursue a law degree later.
Being able to earn a paralegal certificate or degree online allows working professionals to accommodate their already-tight schedule. This ranking list presents 20 colleges/ universities (public or private, nonprofit) that offer online paralegal degree programs. In some cases, certificate programs are referenced. As well, some institutions offer “legal studies” degrees — typically at bachelor’s or higher levels. Some of these programs are in fact paralegal studies programs, but often they are adjacent studies. As such, they are mentioned here where relevant.
This ranking/ review list covers colleges offering any level of online paralegal studies degree program, from associate’s to master’s level, that meets the criteria that we applied. The ranking is based on a combination of factors, including:
Rarity of offering/ level of program. (Hireability is increased for paralegal work by the level of program completed. Reason: there are fewer online paralegal programs in the U.S. at higher study levels.)
Data is from NCES (National Center for Education Statistics), and represents the latest available information at time of writing.
Potential careers, career areas or employers for paralegals include:
Banks (Bank, Credit Union, Savings and Loan)
Clerk of Court
Corporate Law Departments
Deputy Court Clerk
Freelance Paralegal Business
Governmental Agencies And Departments
Health Care Companies
Law Enforcement Agencies
Law Offices (Law Firm, Prosecutor, Public Defender)
Legal Administrator (business)
Legal Aid Societies
Legal Document Specialist
Legal Support Staff
Newspaper, Radio, TV
Private Investigation Firms
Real Estate Assistant
Risk Management and Compliance
State And Federal Government
Best Colleges for Online Paralegal Degrees
Here is our list of the top paralegal studies schools offering online degrees. Tuition rates mentioned are the latest available from NCES, typically an average undergraduate in-state cost per year including fees but not other costs (except for graduate programs, in which case fees are excluded from the stated tuition amount.
Clovis Community College (CCC) offers an online Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Paralegal/ Legal Assistant Studies, which requires 62 credits and at least five semesters), and a Certificate of Completion in Paralegal/ Legal Assistant Studies, requiring 33 credits. Related programs include a 63-credit on-campus Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice (AAS-CJ) and a 30-credit online Certificate of Completion in Criminal Justice that takes two semesters. Tuition: $1,536; Net price: $7,466
CCC (est. 1991) is a public institution based in Clovis, New Mexico, and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It was originally founded as a branch of Eastern New Mexico University and now offers associate’s degrees and undergrad certificate programs in nearly 20 areas of study — many of which are professional programs. CCC also has Dual Credit programs (for high school students), adult education, busy and industry training, non-credit online classes, and kids college.
Minnesota State Community and Technical College (M State) offers an online Paralegal degree – Associate of Applied Science (AAS) requiring completion of 60 credits, and taking at least four semesters. The program covers wills/ estate planning and several areas of law, including civil, criminal, family, and property, amongst other topics. Graduates are qualified to work as paralegals in several sectors, performing legal research, writing and other tasks. Tuition: $5,335; Net price: $10,004.
M State (est. 2003) is a public institution based in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The college is the result of a merger between a community college and a technical college, each of which was established before 2003. It offers associate’s degrees and undergrad certificate programs.
Remington College-Heathrow Campus (RC) offers an online Associate’s Paralegal degree, requiring a minimum 90 quarter credits, running on a minimum 18-month timeline (full-time students). Quarters/ semesters run 13 weeks, and courses cover topics such as family law, civil litigation, bankruptcy, real estate, contracts and more. Related degrees include an on-campus Associate’s taking 18-months, and an online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice degree, either as a full degree (36 months), or as an upper-division completion programs (18 months). Tuition: $11,901; Net price: $17,455.
RC (est. 1987) is a private, nonprofit institution based in Lake Mary, Florida, and accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. It offers associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, and certificate programs. All of RC’s academic programs are offered by distance/ online.
McNeese State University (MSU) offers one relevant degree: an online Associate of Arts in Paralegal Studies (AAPS) which requires 60 credits for completion. Students who are interested in pursuing related studies in the legal field may be interested in MSU’s online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice (BSCJ, 2+2 program through partnership with LSU-E), and/or the 36-credit online Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ). Paralegal course topics include criminal law and legal writing. Paralegal Studies faculty are practicing attorneys. Tuition (undergrad): $7,920; Net price: $9,978.
MSU (est. 1939) is a public institution based in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. It offers associate’s to master’s level degrees, plus certificate programs. The university’s overall offering has earned it recognition from the likes of U.S. News & World Report (Best Colleges 2018: Best Regional Universities – South and top 50 Public Universities, plus previous years, plus topical rankings in multiple years); Washington Monthly; PayScale (#3 engineering school nationwide for return on investment – 2017); amongst others. Faculty members earned six Pinnacle Excellence Awards in 2017, for outstanding faculty achievement in ” business, education, engineering and computer science, liberal arts, nursing and health professions and science and agriculture,” while an alumnus won a Pulitzer Prize (2013).
MSU notable alumni include athletes, authors, businesspersons, musicians, politicians and more. A few such alumni include: Christopher Catrambone (founder of Migrant Offshore Aid Station); Joe Dumars (Detroit Pistons, Basketball Hall of Famer); Zach Bronson (San Francisco 49ers football); Keith Ortego (wide receiver, member of Chicago Bears Super Bowl XX winning team); R. C. Slocum (Texas A&M winningest college football coach); novelist Adam Johnson (Pulitzer Prize winner) and author Eric Pete (New York Times bestseller); musicians Keith Frank (Zydeco) and Doug Kershaw (Cajun); historian of the South (Joe Gray Taylor).
Southern Utah University (SUU) offers an 100% online Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies (AAS-PS). The program covers the essential aspects of law and legal research, and completion can lead to paralegal or criminal justice work. The former includes a significant number of duties, including: finding and interviewing witnesses; interviewing and overseeing contact of clients; legal research, investigations, statistical research; writing of legal documents; summarization of depositions, etc.; attend events relevant to client legal proceeding and more. Tuition: $6,676; Net price: $14,024.
SUU (est. 1897) is a public institution based in Cedar City, Utah, and accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. It offers associate’s to master’s level degrees, and certificate programs. The university’s overall offering has earned it recognition from: U.S. News & World Report (Best Colleges 2017 and Best in the West – multiple years; Affordable Investment – Lowest Student Debt Regional West); Princeton Review (Best of the West 2017; Best Colleges — multiple years; America’s Best Value — multiple years); U.S. President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll (Distinction for Excellence and Caring Campus — both multiple years) and other sources.
SUU’s notable alumni includes educators, politicians, journalists, athletes and coaches, actors, and more. Examples: Jill Stevens (Miss America 2008); Cameron Levins (track and field Olympian); Keala Settle (singer, actress); Brad Sorensen (NFL quarterback); Miles Killebrew (NFL safety, Detroit Lions); Thomas Burr (National Press Club president); Michael Leavitt (former Governor of Utah, administrator for President George W. Bush).
Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) offers an online Associate of Applied Science in Legal Assisting (AAS-LA) which requires completion of 67 credits, including 50cr for the major courses. Students taking this program are prepared for paralegal/ legal assisting work, in “law offices, law enforcement agencies,
court systems, municipal offices, corporate office ‐ contract/legal
department, banks, real estate offices, insurance agencies, and
contracting agencies.” In addition to paralegal skills, students also learn critical thinking, scientific reasoning, mathematical problem solving and more. PHCC also offers an on-campus, 62-credit AAS in General Studies with Criminal Justice Specialization for transfer students. Tuition: $4,608; Net price: $5,834.
PHCC (est. 1962) is a public institution based in Martinsville, Virginia, and accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. It offers associate’s degrees and certificates, and has a Dual Enrollment program for high school students. Contact PHCC to determine if AAS-LA program courses qualify.
Notable PHCC alumni include journalist Alison Parker, who was tragically killed on air in 2015 by a disgruntled former colleague
an online Associate of Applied Business in Legal Assisting (AAB-LA), requiring completion of 108 quarter credits. The program covers nearly a dozen topics, including contract law, criminal law, family law, legal ethics, legal researching and writing, litigation, real estate law, and more. Students completing this AAS are prepared for paralegal and legal assistant work. (UNOH claims 90% of program grads are employed or continuing with studies.). A diploma program in Legal Assisting is also available. Contact UNOH for details. Tuition: $11,050; Net price: $15,396.
UNOH (est. 1920) is an open admission, private, nonprofit institution based in Lima, Ohio, and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It offers associate’s to master’s level degrees, plus certificate programs. Besides a number of academic milestones in the state of Ohio (namely first programs statewide in several categories), the university has a national one-of-a-kind first of owning an auto race track, and has several automotive programs, in addition to business, health, marketing, information technology, etc.
Drury University (Drury) offers an online Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies that allots 21 credit hours for major courses. Students learn about the American court system in general, various types of law (civil, criminal, constitutional, contract, family), discovery, interviewing, investigating, legal research and writing. Alternate choices include a 62-credit online Associate of Science in Criminal Justice (ASCJ), an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice (BSCJ, 124cr, with 39cr for major courses), and an online Bachelor of Science in Law Enforcement (BSLE, 124cr, with 33cr for major courses). Tuition: $27,015; Net price: $22,181.
Drury (est. 1873) is a private, nonprofit institution based in Springfield, Missouri, and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It offers associate’s to master’s level degrees. Recognition earned by Drury include placement college rankings such as from: Kiplinger’s Personal Finance (Best values Private – 2018 and previous years); U.S. News & World Report (Best Colleges 2018 – #8 Regional Universities Midwest; Best for Veterans 2014); Princeton Review (Best Colleges 2017 – Best in the Midwest; Guide to Green Colleges); Barron’s (Best Buy in College Education).
Drury’s notable alumni includes game show hosts, executives, film critics and actors, authors/ writers/ journalists, entrepreneurs, songwriters, athletes and more. Amongst the most notable may be: Bob Barker (gameshow host, The Price is Right); the O’Reilly siblings (co-founders of O’Reilly Auto Parts); Tom Whitlock (songwriter, co-wrote “Take My Breath Away” with Giorgio Moroder, on the soundtrack of the Tom Cruise film Top Gun); and Robert Cummings (deceased, Emmy-award-winning actor in several films including Alfred Hitchcock’s “Dial M for Murder,” and others).
Alexandria Technical and Community College (ATCC) offers an online Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree in Paralegal studies, requiring 63 credits and an internship for completion. Topics covered include bankruptcy, business organizations, estates, legal procedures, etc. ATCC also offers a 60-credit online AAS degree in Legal Administrative Assistant, and on-campus AAS and AS (Associate of Science, for transfer students) in Law Enforcement (plus related on-campus diploma and certificate programs). Tuition: $5,410; Net price: $13,235.
ATCC (est. 1961) is a public institution based in Alexandria, Minnesota, and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It offers associate’s degrees and certificate programs in several study areas including Law Enforcement, Business, Finance, Computer Sciences, Health, Transportation/ Mechanics and others.
Valdosta State University (VSYOU) offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Legal Assistant Studies (BALAS), which requires 120 credits for completion, a legal internship, and declaration of a related minor subject. (LAS is also offered as an 18-credit, on-campus minor.) The program prepares students for understanding legal research and how to apply it, as well as issues of ethics. This prepares graduates of the program for either the workforce, or subsequent studies in law school. BALAS students are qualified to join the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity (professional). Career opportunities go beyond paralegal work, in areas of courts, law firms, real estate and titling. VSYOU also offers a 120-credit online (or on-campus) Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice (BSCJ) and a 36-credit online (or hybrid or on-campus) Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ). Tuition (undergrad): $6,410; Net price: $14,573.
VSYOU (est. 1906) is a public institution based in Valdosta, Georgia, and accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The university offers associate’s to doctorate degrees, and certificate programs — over 50 programs in total. Its overall academic offering has earned it recognition from several publishers/ organizations, including: U.S. News & World Report (Best Colleges: Best Online Bachelor’s Programs – #107 2018, #123 2017; Best Online grad programs (various); plus multiple years, plus topical rankings); and others.
Valdosta’s notable alumni form a long list of historians, educators, entertainers and hosts, athletes, entrepreneurs, judges, politicians and government officials, and religious figures, amongst others. A few such include: Debra Fordham (writer/ producer of TV series “Scrubs”); Pauley Perrette (actress, “NCIS”); Lisa Blount (actress, producer) and husband Ray McKinnon (actor); Nancy Grace (CNN TV host); Brad Carter (actor, musician); trombonists Chris Crenshaw and Marcus Lewis; Steve Ekstrom (author); Donald Stoker (military historian); and more.
SUNY College of Technology at Canton (SUNY Canton) offers an online Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies (BSLS). The program is designed for both paralegal and criminal justice transfer students, as well as new college students and working professionals. The program emphasizes legal research and writing, and is interdisciplinary, allowing students to ” take courses in Accounting, Business, Criminal Justice or Law Enforcement Leadership.” Completion requires that students fulfil a one-semester legal internship. Program graduates are qualified for a wide range of career opportunities beyond paralegal/ legal assistant, in multiple environments including: law firms; real estate and mortgage preparation agencies; claims adjustment; law enforcement, etc. Tuition: $8,130; Net price: $12,347.
SUNY Canton (est. 1906) is a public institution based in Canton, New York, and accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. It offers associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, as well as certificate programs. Canton’s overall offering has earned it awards and rankings from: U.S. News & World Report (Best Colleges 2018: #25 Regional Colleges North, #12 Top Public Schools; #76 2017 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs; plus additional rankings in previous years, including for diversity).
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC), a member of AAfPE (American Association for Paralegal Education), offers three relevant programs: an online Associate’s degree in Paralegal Studies (36 credits for major courses, 9cr electives); an online Bachelor’s in Paralegal Studies (39cr for major courses, 12cr electives); an online Certificate in Paralegal Studies for students with an existing bachelor’s degree (33cr for required courses, 3cr electives). Students build skills, including: problem solving; creative thinking; multitasking; interviewing; researching; writing reports, briefs, wills, contracts; amongst others. Courses focus on “the study of law in its relation to politics, society and history.” Related programs include: a 16-credit online pre-law minor, and an online major and minor in Criminology. Tuition: $29,510; Net price: $19,401.
SMWC (est. 1840) is a private, nonprofit institution based in Saint Mary of the Woods, Indiana, and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Affiliated with the Catholic Church (the oldest in the state), SMWC is originally a women’s college, but now admits male students, expanding its efforts in that regard in 2015. Men were first admitted into its undergraduate distance/ online programs in 2005. The college offers associate’s to master’s degrees, as well as certificate programs — over 50 programs of all levels in total. The college claims that around 95% of on-campus students receive some form of financial aid. SMWC’s overall offering has earned it rankings and recognition from the likes of: U.S. News & World Report (Best Colleges 2018 – #22 Regional Colleges Midwest and #12 Regional Colleges Best Value; Best Colleges 2016 – Online Bachelor’s Programs and Best for Veterans); Washington Monthly (Best Bang for the Buck – #13 2017); Princeton Review (Guide to Green Colleges) and others.
SMWC’s notable alumni range from artists to politicians, including: Sarah Vaughan (artist/ comic book writer); Marta Linares (First Lady, Panama); Mary Pat Kelly (author).
Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) offers two relevant programs: an online Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies (BSLS) requiring a minimum 120 credits for completion; online Paralegal Certificate; plus Advanced Paralegal Certificate courses. The BSLS prepares program graduates for either career work (paralegal, legal assisting, etc.) or law school. Students can choose electives in order to specialize in certain types of litigation or other paralegal work. Related academic programs at FGCU include an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and an on-campus Master’s of Science in Criminal Justice. Tuition (undergrad): $6,118; Net price: $13,842.
FGCU (est. 1991) is a public institution based in Fort Myers, Florida, and accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. It offers associate’s through doctorate degrees, and certificate programs — over 85 degree and 11 certificate programs in total. FGCU’s overall offering has earned it various rankings, including a topical ranking of top business schools in recent years (Princeton Review).
A significant number of FGCU’s notable alumni are professional athletes, including for major league baseball, basketball, golf and even monster truck driving, but also include concert pianists such as Priscila Navarro.
William Woods University (WWU), an AAfPE (American Association for Paralegal Education ) member, offers an online Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies (BSPS), which allots 42 credits for 14 major courses. Students gain an understanding of the legal system, legal services, legal research and writing, interviewing and investigation, amongst others, and are prepared for paralegal and related work in financial institutions, health care organizations, government agencies, law firms and public defender offices, corporate law departments and more. WWU also has an on-campus Bachelor of Arts in Political/Legal Studies (BAPLS). Related programs include: an on-campus Bachelors in Criminal Justice Concentration in Law Enforcement and Legal Studies, and additional major of Political/ Legal Studies; an on-campus Bachelor of Science (BS) and Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Interdisciplinary Studies, with three or two areas of study, respectively, including the choice of Legal Studies, for example; an on-campus BS in Criminal Justice (BSCJ). Tuition: $23,260; Net price: $22,611.
WWU (est. 1870) is a private, nonprofit institution based in Fulton, Missouri, and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It offers associate’s through doctorate degrees, plus certificate programs. The university’s overall offering have earned it rankings and recognition from several sources, including: U.S. News & World Report (Best Regional Universities Midwest; Best Colleges: Online Programs Bachelor’s; #2 Midwest for lowest graduate debt load); Victory Media (Military Friend Schools 2016); and others.
Notable WWU alumni include entrepreneurs and executives, lawyers/ attorneys, athletes, politicians and government personnel. A few of these include: Helen Stephens (athlete, Olympic gold medal winner); Allyson White Lewis (author); Marsha (Assistant U.S. Attorney); Kimberly Brixey Barnes (President/CEO Callaway Bank).
Hampton University (HU) offers two relevant programs. The first is an online Bachelor of Arts in Paralegal Studies (BAPS), which runs for four years and requires 122 credits for completion. The second is an online Certificate in Paralegal Studies, 30 credits (applicable to the BAPS degree). The BAPS program prepares students for either or both of paralegal career work, or as a stepping stone to law school, by building skills such as verbal and written communication, scholarly research, critical thinking and more. Related programs include an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice (BSCJ). Tuition: $25,441; Net price: $24,377.
HU (est. 1868) is a private, nonprofit HBCU (Historically Black College/ University) based in Hampton, Virginia, and accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. It offers associate’s through doctorate degrees and certificate programs. Hampton’s overall offering has earned it repeated positions on college ranking reports by U.S. News & World Report in recent years (Best Colleges; #3 2018 Historically Black Colleges and Universities). Washington Monthly also ranked HU in the top 10 for Research (master’s universities). Other ranking sources include Princeton Review (Best Colleges, Best Regional Colleges).
Hampton notable alumni include executives, entrepreneurs, sociologists, entertainers, physicians/ surgeons, writers, athletes, politicians and more. A few of the arguably more famous or otherwise notable Hampton alumni include: Wanda Sykes (comedian); Booker T. Washington (author, educator, founder of Tuskegee University); Alberta Williams King (Martin Luther King Jr’s mother); amongst many others.
Mississippi College (MC) offers three relevant programs. The first is an online Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies (BSPS), which requires 130 credits for completion, including 36-39cr of major courses. The second is an online graduate Certificate in Paralegal Studies, which requires bachelor’s degree for admission, and its 27 credits are not applicable to a master’s degree. The third is a Minor in Paralegal Studies, which is combined with a Bachelor of Communication – Generalist). The Paralegal Studies courses cover topics such as the basics of the American legal system, legal research and writing, wills and estates, family law, property transactions and more. Tuition (undergrad): $17,392; Net price: $16,804.
MC (est. 1826) is a private, nonprofit institution based in Clinton, Mississippi, affiliated with the Mississippi Baptist Convention, and accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. It offers bachelor’s through doctorate degrees, plus certificate programs – over 130 programs in total. It is the oldest college in the state and has the distinct honor of being the first coed college awarding a degree to a female student, in 1931. The college’s overall offering has earned it a long list of accolades and rankings, including from: U.S. News & World Report (Best Colleges 2018: #12 Best Value Schools in the South, #21 Best Schools for Veterans in the South, #32 Regional Universities South; plus topical rankings and previous year rankings); Forbes (top 25 Best College Buys) and other sources.
MC notable alumni include athletes, educators, politicians and government personnel, physicians, and others. Some examples include: Dayn Perry (sports writer, author); Barry Hannah (author); Ted DiBiase, Jr. (wrestler, WWE); Larry Myricks (Olympian, track); NFL footballers Larry Evans, Major Everett, Fred McAfee and others.
Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) offers three relevant online paralegal programs: a 64-credit Associate’s degree in Paralegal Studies; a 120-credit Bachelor’s Degree in Paralegal Science; a 30-credit Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Paralegal Science. Transfer credit limits vary by program, ranging from 0-90. All three of these programs are partially online, are ABA-approved, and department is a member of the AAFPE (American Association for Paralegal Education). The degree programs consist of 8-week terms and have a two-part on-campus residency requirement. (All but 10 credits of coursework in each program are completed online.) Graduating students receive job placement assistance. Instructors are experienced in providing online education and hold either a JD (Juris Doctor) or PhD. Tuition: $9,366; Net price: $12,255.
EKU (est. 1906) is a public institution based in Richmond, Kentucky, and accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The university offers associate’s through doctorate degrees, plus certificate programs. Its overall offering have earned EKU various awards and rankings: U.S. News & World Report (Best Online Programs 2018 – Bachelors, Veterans Bachelors, Topic Colleges, Public Colleges, Regional Universities South – Top Public Schools, plus topical rankings); Forbes Magazine 2017 (America’s Top Colleges); Military Times (Best for Vets Colleges – #17 2017); INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine (Higher Education Excellence in Diversity – HEED Award 2016); Campus Pride (3 Star Premier University, for LGBTQ+ student resources and services).
A very long list of notable EKU alumni include athletes and coaches, radio and TV personalities, politicians and heads of state, lawyers and judges, and more. Some of these alumni include: Lee Majors (actor, Six Million Dollar Man, Ash vs Evil Dead); Roy Kidd (top-winning college football and baseball coach); Crystal Wilkinson (award-winning writer and educator); Sam Champion (weatherman, Good Morning America); Thaksin Shinawatra (one-time Prime Minister of Thailand); Earle Combs (baseball player, teammate of Babe Ruth); Eula Bingham (occupational health scientist); Laura Kirkpatrick (America’s Next Top Model contestant and runner up).
Liberty University (LU) offers three relevant undergraduate programs: a fully online Associate of Arts in Paralegal Studies (AAPS) requiring 60 credit hours; an fully online Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies (BSPS) requiring 120 credit hours; an 18-credit fully online undergrad Certificate in Paralegal Studies (CRT-PS). These programs are offered through the School of Law and have eight start dates yearly. Classes run for eight weeks each. Allowable transfer credits vary by program. Tuition: $21,310; Net price: $24,794. Note: nearly 90% of students are awarded some form of financial aid.
LU (est. 1971) is a private, nonprofit institution based in Lynchburg, Virginia — the largest in this category worldwide. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. It offers associate’s through doctorate degrees, and certificate programs. Liberty’s academic offering attracted enough student applications over 2003-2013 to put into the top 25 colleges by applications — a nearly 1000% growth in that period, which exceeds the growth of universities such as Princeton, Harvard and Yale (between 65 to 87 percent), as per an U.S. News & World Report ranking in 2014. Liberty’s students graduate with low debt (for federal loans), earning the university a spot in Forbes magazine’s Top 25 Low Debt Private Colleges ranking. The university earned a designation as a Purple Heart University, based on support programs for students who are veterans or active military personnel, and their families. In the same vein, Liberty ranked in lists by Military Times (Best Colleges 2018) and Victory Media (Military Friendly School 2017, Military Friendly Spouse School 2017).
Liberty’s alumni come from many walks of life, and form a considerable list. This includes; Jerry Falwell Jr. and brother Jonathan Falwell (sons of Liberty University co-founder Jerry Falwell); William Franklin Graham IV (grandson of evangelist Billy Graham); Bill Keller (televangelist); Tad Skylar Agoglia (founded First Response Team of America); dozens of professional athletes; and many more. Honorary degree recipients include former U.S. President George H.W. Bush and son Jeb Bush (Governor of Florida), current U.S. President Donald Trump, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, actor/ martial artist Chuck Norris, NFL running back Rashad Jennings (New York Giants), and many others.
Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale (Keiser) is #2 in this ranking, offering two relevant undergraduate programs: an online Associate of Arts (AA) Paralegal Studies requiring 60 credits (including 24cr for major courses); an online Bachelor of Arts (BA) Legal Studies requiring 120 credits. Completing the AA degree is sufficient for pursuing a career as a paralegal. The BA is a broader degree that is not explicitly just for paralegal work. It can provide a pathway in the legal field beyond paralegal work, in areas of law such as in business and government, as well as criminal justice. Tuition: $19,224; Net price: $26,328.
Keiser (est. 1977) is a private, nonprofit institution based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida — the 2nd-largest nonprofit in the state by student population. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges, and offers associate’s through doctorate degrees, plus certificate programs — with over 100 degree programs in total, and classes running in four-week sessions. Keiser’s overall academic offering has earned it recognition from various sources, including: U.S. News & World Report (Best Regional Colleges South – #23 2017, #1 2016 in Florida, and additional rankings in other years).
George Washington University (GWU) is #1 on our list, being one of very institutions in the United States that offers a master’s level paralegal program, especially online. GWU’s online Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Paralegal Studies consists of 12 courses, including a required non-credit Practicum. A minimum of 32 grad credits is required, and students can earn an optional Certificate in Healthcare Corporate Compliance. Also offered is an 18-credit (6-course) Graduate Certificate in Paralegal Studies, which consists of 18 credits (six courses) that can be applied towards the MPS. The certificate program can be taken online or on-campus. Select courses in these two programs are considered tops in the U.S. by AAfPE (American Association for Paralegal Education), and the programs are considered tops in the online category by UPCEA (University Professional and Continuing Education Association). Completing a master’s program in paralegal increases career opportunities as well as the potential for increased salary. Tuition: $29,790; Net price: $39,562.
GWU (est. 1821) is a private, nonprofit institution based in Washington, DC — the largest college/ university in DC by student population — and accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. It offers associate’s through doctorate degrees, and certificate programs. GWU has earned rankings and recognition from the likes of: U.S. News & World Report (Best Colleges 2018 – National Universities; Best Colleges for Veterans; Best Value Schools); Princeton Review (Best Colleges Guide – Colleges That Pay You Back); Forbes (Best Research Universities); Sierra Club (Top 20 Coolest Schools 2017); AASHE (STARS Gold rating); Washington Monthly. In addition, several schools and colleges within GWU have earned positions on topical ranking lists including for Business (U.S. News: Best Colleges 2018 – #9 Undergrad programs in International Business; Princeton Review: Top 25 Schools for Graduate Entrepreneurship 2018), Medicine and Health (Forbes: Top 100 Best Medical Schools), and many more.
In its nearly 150 years of history, GWU has accumulated an immense list of successful and influential alumni, include politicians (including governors, mayors, heads of state, and members of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives), actors, TV hosts, writers and journalists, computer scientists and many others. Amongst them are people such as: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, First Lady during John F. Kennedy’s tragic time as U.S. President; actor Alec Baldwin, whose portrayal as current President Donald Trump on the weekly sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live has stirred up controversy, as well as the President’s ire; Colin Powell (served the administrations of both Presidents Bush); J. Edgar Hoover (former FBI Director); Margaret Truman (singer, author and daughter of President Harry S. Truman); L. Ron Hubbard (author and founder of the Church of Scientology); Dana Bash (journalist); Jason Filardi (screenwriter); Roy Lee (film producer); Kerry Washington (actress, “Scandal”); Scott Wolf (actor, “Party of Five”); Chris Burnham (comic book artist); Ina Garten (celebrity chef and TV host); Rachel Zoe (fashion designer, TV host of “The Rachel Zoe Project”); Erica Hayden (psychotherapist and radio host); John Flaherty (baseball player and broadcaster).