So, you want to be a paralegal? Well, you have certainly picked a profession that is very rewarding and pays quite well to boot! Basically, being a paralegal means that you are the lawyer’s right-hand man (or woman). You will research and prepare cases for the lawyer who will present the facts in court, prepare documents and draft correspondence. Choosing THE perfect online school to become a paralegal is tricky though. Our extensive research in paralegal studies will make the decision much easier on YOU! Let’s get started!
First of all, let’s talk about accreditation…VERY IMPORTANT! Choosing a non-accredited school can cost you a lot of wasted time and money. You need to make certain that they are either nationally or regionally accredited….with regional accreditation being the better choice. Here’s why….nationally accredited schools will most of the time accept credits from other nationally accredited colleges and universities AND from regionally accredited ones as well, while regionally accredited schools will ONLY transfer credits from other regionally accredited schools. So, if you choose a nationally accredited school to start and need to transfer you will miss out on the opportunity to go to a regionally accredited college because your credits won’t transfer. If your institution is not accredited, then you quite possibly will be handed a certificate that although you studied hard for, may not even get your foot in the door at any law office.
Next thing to look at is an approved program by the American Bar Association, which would mean that the school met the guidelines set forth by the ABA. There are many programs ABA approved and there is a list of these on their website at, ABA Approved Law Schools, but the trick is finding high ranking, ONLINE colleges that are also ABA approved. The top three schools in our list meet this criterion.
Deciding between an associate’s and a bachelors’ degree is really a personal preference. Both can lead you onto the path of taking the Certified Paralegal exam, but one road is a little longer than the other. With an associates degree, you have two years of school and must work in the field for 6 years in order to be eligible to sit for the exam. With a bachelors degree, you have four years of school and must only work in the field for three years in order to qualify to take the certification exam. The median average salary for paralegals is around $47,000, while the top 10 percent earn an average of $75,000 and on the low end, the bottom 10 percent each on average $29,000 per year, which is still a NICE sum of money!
The schools listed below are in no particular order and were chosen based on their outstanding paralegal programs that are offered online and were also chosen based on their presence on other highly reputable school ranking’s lists. These were handpicked by our staff for their particularly outstanding programs available.
EASTERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY
Campus Location: Richmond, KY
School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA**) and the United States Department of Education (USDE).
Eastern Kentucky’s paralegal program is approved by the American Bar Association
Tuition: $395 per credit hour…. 64 hours to complete the program, 37 hours – major requirements, 25 hours – supporting course requirements, 2 hours – free electives
About the program: The majority of the program is completed online but you will be required to visit the campus to complete a minimum of 10 credit hours which consists of two weeks of on-campus instruction. All of their full-time teaching staff is either Ph.D. or Juris Doctor and their part-time faculty are practicing judges, elected officials, and attorneys. In addition, the EKU’s paralegal program is a charter member of the American Association for Paralegal Education.
Learn more about Eastern Kentucky University’s PARALEGAL ONLINE STUDIES PROGRAM
SAINT MARY OF THE WOODS COLLEGE
Campus Location: Saint Mary of the Woods, Indiana
Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Paralegal program is approved by the American Bar Association.
Tuition: $482 per credit hour… 72 hours to graduate with an Associate’s degree – 19 hours – legal specialty courses, 11 hours – required paralegal courses, 9 hours – paralegal electives, 33 hours – general studies
About the Program: Setting a standard of excellence, Saint Mary of the Woods College’s paralegal program is one of the best! Through their flexible distance education program called Woods Online, you may have the flexibility of taking your courses online but, it is not completely online. Saint Mary of the Woods requires that ten hours of courses in legal specialties be taken on-campus as required by the American Bar Association.
Learn more about Saint Mary of the Woods College’s ONLINE PARALEGAL STUDIES
Campus Location: Campuses located in 6 states
Accreditation: Rasmussen College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Tuition: 94 total credits to complete the program…approximately $350.00 per credit hour (calculations are based on your location, so, please, visit their website to get more detailed information regarding tuition)
About the Program: Rasmussen College consistently ranks highly with other rankings sites and offers an extensive curriculum including courses in Family Law, Legal Research, and Cyberspace and the Paralegal Profession. Their highly experienced faculty prepares you for the National Certified Legal Assistant/Paralegal Exam.
Learn more about Rasmussen College’s ONLINE ASSOCIATES IN JUSTICE STUDIES/PARALEGALS
Campus Location: Lynchburg, VA
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
Tuition: 60 total credit hours to complete the Associate’s degree… $340.00 per credit hour
About the Program: Taught and developed by practicing lawyers, Liberty’s Paralegal program is top notch and they are dedicated to teaching you from firsthand knowledge what qualifies YOU for this career. Fifteen credit hours must be taken on-campus. Liberty is the largest, non-profit university and has more than 90,000 students worldwide that enjoy the flexibility of their online courses. Classes are taught by the on-campus faculty in a flexible, challenging and engaging virtual classroom format. With its high retention and graduation rates, Liberty is consistently ranked in the top 10 online colleges by Online Education Database.
Learn more about Liberty University’s ONLINE PARALEGAL STUDIES
AMERICAN PUBLIC UNIVERSITY SYSTEM
Campus Location: Charles Town, West Virginia
Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
Tuition: $250 per credit hour… 62 total hours …$ 15,500 to complete the Associate’s Degree program…18 credit hours – Core Requirements…3 credit hours – Institutional Requirements… 38 credit hours – General Education… 3 credit hours – General Program Requirements
About the Program: Facilitated entirely online, the University’s Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies prepares career-motivated students with the opportunity to complete their degree entirely online and gain an in-depth understanding of the ins and outs of the paralegal profession. Instructors specialize in the field, so you can be assured that you are being taught by experienced professionals.
Learn more about American Public University System’s ONLINE ASSOCIATE DEGREE IN PARALEGAL STUDIES