Paralegal Colleges and Schools

Even though you don't have to be certified in order to be a paralegal in any of the 50 states in the United States, most employers do prefer that their paralegals have attending a paralegal school or completed some type of formal training program in the field. Paralegal schools prepare students to work with attorneys on a case, provide administrative support and gain advanced knowledge and skills in areas such as legal and court procedures, ethics and case preparation. Many paralegal colleges and schools offer various types of degree programs and certification programs for students who want to advance in their careers.

Programs at Paralegal Schools

Training programs at paralegal schools provide formal training as a professional paralegal and can prepare students for the paralegal certification exam. Certification-only programs at paralegal colleges typically last between 7 months to 17 months, depending on the school and whether you attend paralegal school online. Associate's degree programs in this field are two years in length, while bachelor's degrees are four years in length.

Some paralegal schools and colleges also offer master's degree programs which can help you if you want to become a teacher or instructor at some point in your career, or apply for senior level positions.

Attending Paralegal Colleges

The programs you find at paralegal colleges are usually similar in scope to a law degree program, but paralegal studies include administrative procedures and courses that help the individual provide support services with a high degree of professionalism. Paralegal colleges can prepare you for the paralegal certification exam, and may give you the option to complete an internship program shortly after graduation.

Today, you can find a number of different programs at both online and offline paralegal colleges. No matter which paralegal schools you choose to attend, it's important to make sure that the school is accredited and that you have the means to complete the coursework on schedule.

When comparing different paralegal colleges in your area, consider the following:

  • What options are there for furthering your paralegal studies?
  • What is the total cost of tuition for your certificate or degree program?
  • How many students typically pass the paralegal certification exam the first time after completing their training at these paralegal colleges?
  • Is there an option to take some paralegal courses online?
  • Are the paralegal schools accredited by one or more accrediting agencies?
  • What are the application deadlines for the upcoming semester?
  • Do the paralegal schools offer any internship or job placement opportunities?

Attending a Paralegal School Online

A number of paralegal colleges and schools that offer paralegal certification programs now offer an online format for students who may need some more flexibility with their schedules. Attending a paralegal school online can help you complete your required courses at your own pace and make it easier to handle a full-time job while going to school. You might also choose to attend a paralegal school online if you were taking a handful of professional development or continuing education courses in the field. Consider the pros and cons of online programs when you are researching different paralegal colleges and schools that offer the program you are interested in.