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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 less than a year.
Last Updated: 09/09/2021
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 less than a year.
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.
College Spotlights: Best Paralegal Certificate Online Programs for 2021
With so many online learning options for paralegal students, how do you know where to start? These best-in-class program profiles will narrow your search and help you focus on some of the best online paralegal certificate programs available today. These programs, which are only a portion of our full rankings list, were chosen for the quality of education they offer, affordability, and overall flexibility for remote learners. Check back to see our full rankings soon.
University of California, Berkeley
University of Texas, Austin
Types of Online Paralegal Certificate Programs Available
No matter where you are in your educational or career journey, there’s a paralegal certificate online for you. Whether you’re a new high school graduate, a bachelor’s degree-holder, or a professional working in another field, you’ll find a paralegal certificate program to meet your needs. Read on to learn more about both undergraduate and graduate paralegal certificate programs, as well as quality schools that offer them.
What You’ll Learn: Paralegal Certificate Online Courses and Curriculum
Paralegal certificate online programs ensure that you have the foundational understanding of the law needed for success. Expect to take classes that help you explore the U.S. legal system, legal writing and research, professional ethics, litigation, and real estate law. Many certificate programs also provide the opportunity to take elective classes, such as international law or intellectual property, to help you tailor your certificate to meet your needs and interests. Upon finishing an online paralegal certificate program, you’ll be able to handle all types of paralegal work in professional settings such as law firms, government agencies, legal aid offices, and corporations. Here’s a closer look at courses you can expect to encounter in your online paralegal program.
FAQs About Earning Your Paralegal Certificate Online
Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook: Is an Online Paralegal Certificate Worth It?
The job outlook for paralegals and legal assistants in the U.S. looks very bright. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 10% growth in available positions by 2029. That’s more than double the average growth for other occupations in the U.S. This growth is, in part, due to law offices and governmental bodies trying to be more efficient and reduce their operating costs across the board. Paralegals and legal assistants can take on many responsibilities at firms and corporations, making them valuable and versatile employees that help organizations save money in the long run.
The other good news is that professionals with a paralegal certificate often secure jobs with a healthy paycheck. Paralegals, legal assistants, and legal support workers make a median annual wage of about $53,000, according to BLS. That’s about $11,000 more per year than the median annual wage of all other occupations in the U.S. If you consider how much cheaper a paralegal certificate is compared to the average associate or bachelor’s degree program, you’ll be getting a great return on your investment.
Continuing Ed Opportunities After Earning Your Paralegal Certificate Online
Continuing your education in legal studies after you complete the paralegal certificate can have numerous benefits. First and foremost, continuing education classes help you keep up with any changes in the field, from legality and policy changes to technological improvements that make your job easier.
Your paralegal certificate can also be a great foundation for a law degree or a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral program in legal studies, international law, criminal justice, homeland security, and other related tracks.
While each school follows its own transfer credit guidelines, the credits you earned in your online paralegal certificate program may count for credit toward a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree, saving you time and money in the long run. Here’s a list of common degree paths that many learners choose to pursue beyond their paralegal certificate, all of which you can earn online.