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Best Paralegal Programs in New Jersey (NJ) for 2024: Online and On-Campus

Aspiring paralegals have a variety of degree and delivery choices for their education. Learn about the best options for paralegal schools in New Jersey.

Author: Ellery Weil
Editor: STEPS Staff

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A blue silhouette map of the U.S. state of New Jersey on a white background. The map outlines New Jersey's distinct curving shape, including the northern, central, and southern regions, as well as its eastern coastline bordering the Atlantic Ocean.

Does working in a law firm or other legal organization sound exciting, but you don’t think law school is right for you? Law firms, nonprofits, and government organizations all over New Jersey need paralegals, and you might be a good fit to join their ranks.

As a specialized administrative role, you need specific training to become a paralegal. The results can be rewarding both personally and materially, since not only will you help the legal system deliver justice but be in a field set to grow by 4% over the next decade and earning an average salary of $72,320 in the greater Newark area and $59,200 nationally. Continue reading to learn about some of the best paralegal schools and programs in NJ.

Best Colleges to Earn a Paralegal Degree in New Jersey – Campus-Based Programs

If you’re looking for on-campus paralegal programs in New Jersey, there are plenty of options through both community colleges and four-year schools. While personal circumstances like location, finances, personal and family responsibilities, and more, help determine which program is best for you, the accredited paralegal programs in NJ highlighted below give you an idea of what to look for in a quality program. Check out who stands out for 2024 and be sure to check back for a full ranking list coming soon.

Montclair State University

A branch of the New Jersey state university system, Montclair State University’s award-winning Paralegal Studies Program offers major, minor, and certificate options. Its paralegal studies department, the first in New Jersey to be accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA), is ranked in the Top 10 paralegal schools in the U.S.

Whichever type of paralegal education you choose, you not only gain a broad academic understanding of the justice system but also complete an internship placement to gain real-world experience. As a state school, New Jersey residents enrolled at Montclair State are eligible for in-state tuition, and further financial aid may also be available.

Delivery:
  • On Campus
  • Part-time
  • Full-time
Undergraduate Programs:
  • Paralegal Studies Major
  • Paralegal Studies Minor
  • Paralegal Studies Concentration
Graduate Programs:
  • Paralegal Studies Post-Bachelor’s Certificate

Bergen Community College

Bergen Community College’s Legal Studies department offers a variety of programs – including an ABA-approved Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Paralegal Studies – to prepare students for careers in the legal field. The AAS program combines traditional classroom instruction in law, legal ethics, and legal research with practical experiences that prepare you to work as a paralegal immediately after graduation. Students who have a registered nursing license and either an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in nursing can enroll in Bergen’s ABA-approved Legal Nurse Consultant certificate program. As a state community college, Bergen provides affordable tuition, particularly for those who meet residency requirements.

Delivery:
  • On Campus
  • Part-time
  • Full-time
Undergraduate Programs:
  • AAS in Paralegal Studies
Specialization Options:
  • Legal Nurse Consultant (LNC) Certificate Program

Fairleigh Dickinson University

Fairleigh Dickinson University, a private, non-profit university in Teaneck, is one of the only private paralegal schools in New Jersey. It offers both a Legal Studies Minor for those interested in becoming a paralegal or a career in the legal field but not ready to commit to a full degree and a paralegal certificate program at the Petrocelli Center for Continuing Studies for those ready to become a paralegal as soon as possible.

Whichever program or format you choose, you have access to the resources of Fairleigh Dickinson’s multiple campuses, including well-being and support services. As a private school, Fairleigh Dickinson sets tuition at a fixed rate regardless of residency status, and further financial aid is available.

Delivery:
  • On Campus
  • Part-time
  • Full-time
Undergraduate Programs:
  • Legal Studies Minor
  • Paralegal Certificate Program

Top Online Paralegal Degree Programs in New Jersey

If you prefer to study in an online or hybrid program, there are plenty of paralegal schools in NJ that can provide a high-quality education from the convenience of home and without the hassle and expense of moving. Many of these programs are for working professionals and have flexible, asynchronous, and night and weekend classes. Below are a few high-quality examples of online paralegal programs in New Jersey to help you begin your search. A full list of online paralegal schools in NJ is coming soon.

Rowan University

Rowan University offers an affordable online course to prepare you for a career as a paralegal with its fully online, one-year Certified Paralegal course through its career training programs. One of the only paralegal programs in NJ working in partnership with the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), this course not only provides the academic foundation necessary to work as a paralegal but also prepares you to take the Certified Paralegal (CP) Exam.

You also get full access to NALA’s CP Exam prep materials. This course costs less than $2,500 regardless of residency status and can be completed entirely online. Month-by-month financing is available, and other forms of financial assistance are also available.

Undergraduate Programs:
  • Certified Paralegal Program
Program Options:
  • Part-time
  • Full-time
  • Fully Online

Raritan Valley Community College

At Raritan Valley Community College, you have a variety of options for earning your paralegal qualifications through either a certificate program for those who already have associate or bachelor’s degrees and an associate degree for those who don’t. All programs have the option of studying online, on-campus, or in a hybrid format for your ABA-approved qualifications. Evening classes are also available for students with professional or family responsibilities.

Students at Raritan Valley have access to the school’s wide network of contacts, something it prides itself on. This means that during your studies, the school can assist you with internship and job placement regardless of which paralegal program you’re enrolled in.

Undergraduate Programs:
  • Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies
Graduate Programs:
  • Paralegal Certificate Program
Program Options:
  • Part-time
  • Full-time
  • Fully Online
  • Partially Online

Mercer County Community College

Mercer County Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) as well as a certificate program for students looking for even greater flexibility in their schedules. Both programs are approved by the ABA, and both have synchronous instruction with remaining classes available either in-person or online with evening and weekend options available. While the paralegal certificate course offers exclusively legal studies-related coursework, those earning an AAS at Mercer through its paralegal program need to also complete core liberal arts requirements, including a course on college readiness. Your faculty advisor can help you plan your course schedule.

Undergraduate Programs:
  • AAS Paralegal Degree Program
  • Paralegal Certificate Program
Program Options:
  • Part-time
  • Full-time
  • Partially Online

Types of Paralegal Degrees You Can Earn in New Jersey

Whether you’ve just finished high school or already hold a postsecondary degree, there are paralegal programs in NJ that can give you the qualifications you need to begin a paralegal career. The different types of paralegal degrees you can earn are described below along with example programs from schools that offer them.

Undergraduate Paralegal Degrees in New Jersey

Paralegal Associate Degrees

One of the most popular ways to become a paralegal in NJ is by getting an associate degree in paralegal studies. These two-year degrees are often far more affordable than four-year programs and designed for students of all ages and at all places in their legal careers.

Accredited New Jersey Colleges with an Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies

Paralegal Bachelor’s Degrees

For those looking for the most thorough paralegal education possible, a four-year bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies or legal studies prepares you to immediately join the workforce as a paralegal in NJ. These programs are typically on campus, though some are online or hybrid.

Accredited New Jersey Colleges with a Bachelor’s Degree in Paralegal Studies

Certificate Programs

Certificate programs are quicker and often more affordable than degree programs. Many paralegal certificate programs are geared towards those with college or professional experience looking to help them transition or advance in their careers.

Accredited New Jersey Colleges with Paralegal Certificate Programs

Paying for Your Paralegal Degree in New Jersey

Before you begin your paralegal education, have a plan in place for how you’ll pay for it. In addition to any personal savings you may use, fill out your FAFSA on time to get any federal government-subsidized loans and grants you qualify for. Also look into scholarship and aid opportunities from your school since many schools have both need-based and merit-based aid programs. Finally, look into external scholarship opportunities. Many New Jersey paralegal students qualify for scholarships from the state. One example is the NJ STARS scholarship, which covers tuition at any community college in New Jersey, including those offering paralegal programs, if you graduated in the top 15% of your high school class.

Salary & Growth for Paralegal Grads in New Jersey

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for paralegals in New Jersey rose by 7.7% in 2022, much faster than the national average of 4%. Further, New Jersey paralegals earned an average salary of $65,570 with a mean wage rise of 3.1%. This means that not only will you earn a solid wage in the average New Jersey paralegal job, but your income is likely to rise as you continue in the field. Finally, depending on where you live in New Jersey, you may have access to paralegal jobs by taking advantage of the large population centers, such as the Greater New York City area for those who live and work in or near Newark.

New Jersey Paralegal Professional and Student Resources

  • Paralegal Association of New Jersey
    The main statewide professional association for New Jersey paralegals, this registered nonprofit with over forty years of experience is dedicated to promoting and advancing the paralegal profession across the state.
  • South Jersey Paralegal Association
    For paralegals and students living and working in the southern part of New Jersey, this membership organization offers networking, continuing education, and mentorship opportunities for all paralegal career levels.
  • NJ Paralegal Convention
    This annual event has been bringing New Jersey paralegals together for over 25 years. Meet fellow paralegals and other professionals in the field, make connections, and even win prizes.
  • New Jersey State Bar Association
    This state bar association is the largest organization of legal professionals in New Jersey. It offers professional, educational, and networking opportunities across the legal field as well as online resources.
  • Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey
    This is a professional organization for Black American women working in the legal field in New Jersey. New Jersey’s oldest women’s bar association, paralegals are welcome to join.