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Guide to the Best Online Paralegal Certificate Programs

Demand is soaring for paralegals and legal assistants. Explore affordable, flexible online certificate programs from top colleges that qualify you for these roles in a year or less.

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Are you fresh out of high school or a working professional looking for a career change? Have you been intrigued by a career in law? If you think the only way to pursue a career in the legal field is to have a law degree, think again. Undergraduate and graduate online paralegal certificate programs can give you the training you need to get a job as a paralegal or legal assistant in a year or less.

Today’s online paralegal certificate programs make it easy for students to get career-ready without breaking the bank or attending campus. This guide will introduce you to this year’s best schools offering online paralegal certificate programs. We’ll also answer key questions about earning a paralegal certificate online, including those about application requirements, accreditation, cost, and more. If you’re ready to make your move toward an in-demand career in law, read on.

Best Paralegal Certificate Online Programs for 2024

With so many online learning options for paralegal students, how do you know where to start? These best-in-class rankings will narrow your search and help you focus on some of the best online paralegal certificate programs available today. These programs were chosen for the quality of education they offer, affordability, and overall flexibility for remote learners.

About the ranking

College Ranking Methodology

Generate List of Eligible Schools and Programs

To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • At least one program in the subject area offered partially or fully online.
  • Career placement and academic counseling services.

Assign Weightings

After generating the list of eligible schools, the STEPS data team then assigned weights and ranked schools based on their performance in a variety of key categories. Affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings, followed by online learning and academic quality metrics (equally weighted).


  • Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on in-state tuition for undergraduate students per academic year.
  • Percentage of students who receive institutional financial aid (directly from the school).
  • Average amount of institutional financial aid awarded.

Online Learning

  • Number of online programs in subject area self-reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Percentage of students at the school taking at least one class online.

Academic Quality

  • Student-to-faculty ratio.
  • Percentage of full-time, first-time students graduating within 6 years.

About Our Data

All STEPS rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: August 2023

Accreditation Glossary

ABHE: Association for Biblical Higher Education, Commission on Accreditation

ABHES: Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools

ACCJC: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

ACCSC: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges

DEAC: Distance Education Accrediting Commission

HLC: Higher Learning Commission

MSCHE: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

NECHE: New England Commission of Higher Education

NWCCU: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

SACSCOC: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

TRACS: Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, Accreditation Commission

WSCUC: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission


Hamline University

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Approved by the American Bar, Hamline University's Paralegal Certificate program is specifically designed for busy students. All of the five required courses can be completed 100% online through a synchronous format where students meet one day a week from 7 to 8:30pm. This coursework focuses on training individuals in not just the basics of how the United States legal system works, but also how to conduct legal research and manage legal information, including case citations. Students can self-pace their learning, with graduation possible in as little as nine months. Finally, because of the flexible nature of the curriculum, there's year-round admissions; students can begin the online paralegal program any time during the year, including during the summer semester.

Program Highlights:

Paralegal Certificate

  • Credits: 20
  • Length: About 1 year
  • Cost: $836/credit
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Accreditation: ABA
Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 13:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 68%


Franklin Pierce University

Rindge, New Hampshire

The Paralegal Certificate program from Franklin Pierce University offers several unique character