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Best New York State Paralegal Certification Programs for 2024

Earn a New York state paralegal certification through an online or on-campus degree program. Find out how to become a paralegal in New York and what to expect while training at the best schools.

Author: Kenya McCullum
Editor: STEPS Staff

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Although attorneys may receive the majority of attention in the law profession, the work of paralegals makes the legal world go around. Paralegals work behind the scenes, helping lawyers serve their clients by conducting research and investigations, preparing documents, and keeping a law office running. Paralegals in New York are well compensated for this role. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, these professionals earn an average salary of $69,850 annually.

If you want to join the paralegal field, now is a great time. Projections Central reports that there will be 3,880 new paralegal jobs annually in New York between 2020 and 2030, a 20.1% increase over the decade. Continue reading to learn how to become a paralegal in New York and which NYC paralegal classes can train you for one of these jobs. Below is information about the best traditional and online paralegal degree programs, the types of degrees available, and financial aid opportunities to help you pay for your education.

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

To prepare for the rigors of a paralegal career while you learn how to become a paralegal in New York, you need to enroll in a program that will give you a realistic look at what it’s like to work in the field. We’ve chosen the following three schools to spotlight based on their education quality and affordability, student support, and accreditation status. These schools are a preview of our full 2024 ranking, which will be coming soon, so be sure to come back to learn about the other New York State paralegal programs available.

New York City College of Technology

New York City College of Technology offers paralegal studies degrees at the associate and bachelor’s levels. Both of these programs combine paralegal studies with liberal arts coursework, so students have a well-rounded set of skills they can use to work in law firms, corporate legal departments, government agencies, and the New York State court system.

On the associate degree level, students spend two years taking paralegal studies courses covering civil, family, real estate, and insurance law while learning legal research, writing, and document preparation. Also, there is a 20-credit liberal arts course requirement, which includes topics like English composition, public speaking, psychology, and mathematics. On the bachelor’s level, students take twice as many paralegal and general education courses, giving them more opportunities to hone their skills and gain more knowledge.

Delivery:
  • On-Campus
  • Full-time
Undergraduate Programs:
  • Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies

Daemen University

Daemen University paralegal students are trained to perform their job duties best because they have attorneys as instructors and learn how to think like attorneys themselves. Throughout the bachelor’s degree program, students are taught the Socratic method of discussion, just as their mentors were taught in law school, so that they can apply the same kind of high-level reasoning and argumentation strategy to their daily work. Some specific courses students take cover legal skills for general practice, law office computer technology, legal research and writing, and advanced litigation. Also, students get the opportunity to complete an internship in which they can assist with substantive legal work under the mentorship of an attorney.

Delivery:
  • Online
  • On-Campus
  • Full-time
Undergraduate Programs:
  • Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies
  • Paralegal Studies certificate

Suffolk County Community College

Suffolk County Community College offers a paralegal associate degree and a paralegal certificate that teaches students how to prepare legal documents, conduct research and analysis, and fill out forms provided by the state or federal court. The associate degree is for students who have not completed an associate or bachelor’s degree. To be admitted to the certificate program, students must have completed at least an associate degree, although a bachelor’s degree is preferred, and a minimum of 18 liberal arts credits. Those who don’t have a degree but have at least five years of work experience in a legal setting may also be considered. In this case, applicants should submit letters of recommendation from employers who are bar association members.

Once admitted, students take core coursework covering introductory law and paralegal studies, state and local government, public speaking, business law, and civil litigation. There are several electives to choose from, such as law office management and practices, substantive criminal law, federal income taxation, and international law.

Delivery:
  • Online
  • On-Campus
  • Part-Time
  • Full-time
Undergraduate Programs:
  • Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies
  • Paralegal Studies Certificate

Top Online Paralegal Degree Programs in New York

If you’re working full time, earning a New York state paralegal certification online is a great option because it allows you to conveniently complete your studies in a virtual environment. In some cases, you can finish a paralegal degree entirely online, while in other cases, schools will require students to participate in a combination of on-campus and online learning. Review the list below to get a taste of the best paralegal classes in NYC based on qualities students care about most, such as affordability. This is a preview of the more significant 2024 rankings we plan to release soon, so be sure to come back to this page to see our complete list.

Hofstra University

Those who enroll in Hofstra University‘s paralegal certificate program are taught by experienced judges and attorneys, giving students an inside look at the work paralegals do and expert insights on New York legal field trends. Specific courses cover information technology for paralegals, civil litigation, business organizations, and legal research and writing. Students can take a resume and interviewing skills class to help put them in the best position to land a job after graduation.

The certificate, which takes one year to earn, can be finished online or on campus. To be admitted, prospective students should have completed at least 60 college credits or an associate degree. Hofstra University charges $7,250 for the entire paralegal certificate program.

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

Monroe College

Monroe College combines legal concepts with skills-based training in its paralegal certificate program, which can be completed in one year. When students finish their studies, they understand how to conduct legal research and writing for document preparation, participate in the client intake process, and manage client records. The curriculum includes coursework covering law practice management, legal writing and research, and introductory paralegal studies to ensure students gain these skills. Students learn about legal practice areas, such as criminal, business, and personal injury law.

Monroe College charges $7,716 tuition per semester. The school offers a grant, which provides 20% off on tuition, to students who work for companies it has partnerships with. Also, payment plans are available, so students have up to six months to pay their tuition for the semester.

Undergraduate Programs:
  • Paralegal Studies Certificate
Program Options:
  • Full-time
  • Fully Online

Pace University

Pace University has an online certificate program offered on an asynchronous basis, so students can go through their coursework when it’s most convenient for them. The certificate can be completed in 15 weeks. During this time, students work on 12 comprehensive modules covering topics like legal research and writing, criminal law and procedures, surrogacy, and business law.

There is an emphasis on professional ethics so students understand how to serve clients best and work efficiently with colleagues while avoiding conflicts of interest that may interfere with their ability to help clients. Additionally, there is a module covering the technologies paralegals use, such as programs to find legal terms, cases, data, and statutes. Each of the modules in the program lasts one to two weeks. The total certificate cost is $4,200.

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

Types of Paralegal Degrees You Can Earn in New York

Are you just thinking about training to become a paralegal? Do you have paralegal experience and want to upskill to further your career? Whatever your goals are, there are on-campus and online New York state paralegal certification programs that can get you to your goal. This section discusses how to become a paralegal in New York by enrolling in the various degree programs available.

Undergraduate Paralegal Degrees in New York

Paralegal Associate Degrees

Paralegal associate degrees are designed to introduce students to the roles and responsibilities they will be expected to understand in the workplace. They learn how paralegals work in the context of different practice areas, from civil to criminal to business law. The curriculum includes legal theory, law office administration, dispute resolution, and legal research classes. Students get the opportunity to complete an internship for hands-on training.

Accredited New York Colleges with an Associate’s Degree in Paralegal Studies

Paralegal Bachelor’s Degrees

To ensure students can work in diverse legal environments, paralegal bachelor’s degree programs include coursework covering different practice areas, such as criminal, real estate, employment, and intellectual property law. These programs help students improve their skills to provide advanced services to their firms, such as legal interviewing and writing.

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

Certificate Programs

When students complete a New York state paralegal certification program, they acquire the research, writing, ethical, analytical, and problem-solving skills paralegals need in any environment. In addition, they take classwork to learn about different areas of the law, including family, business, tort, criminal, and intellectual property law. Students learn the procedures and practices that paralegal professionals are expected to use daily.

Accredited New York Colleges with Paralegal Certificate Programs

Paying for Your Paralegal Degree in New York

If you’re concerned about how you will pay for your New York state paralegal certification or degree, rest assured that you have options. There are scholarships, loans, and grants available to help you pay for your studies, so you don’t have to let finances get in the way of your education and career goals. You may be able to receive financial aid from the federal or state government or directly from your school. Also, professional paralegal associations and individual law firms invest in the future of the field by providing scholarships and grants. The National Federation of Paralegal Associations lists an abundance of scholarship opportunities, and the law firm of Segar & Sciortino offers two scholarships each year to paralegal students at Monroe Community College.

Review our financial aid and scholarship guides for more information about the funding opportunities you may be eligible for.

Salary & Growth for Paralegal Grads in New York

According to Projections Central, there will be 20.1% more paralegal jobs in New York by 2030, which means there will be 3,880 new positions available annually for these professionals. In addition to a good job outlook, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that paralegals in New York also have good earning potential, with the average annual salary being $69,850 per year. However, those in different locations will earn different amounts. For example, paralegals in the New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA area earn an average of $72,320 per year.

Sources: Projections Central; Bureau of Labor Statistics

New York Paralegal Professional and Student Resources

  • NYSBA for Paralegals
    The New York State Bar Association allows paralegals and legal assistants to join. When they do, they can receive benefits like discounts for continuing legal education courses, association publications, and legal forms.
  • Western New York Paralegal Association
    The WNYPA is a group of practicing paralegals, legal assistants, and students training to enter the profession. The association offers access to career resources, networking events, and continuing legal education.
  • New York City Paralegal Association
    Students who join the New York City Paralegal Association can meet a community of professionals during networking events. Members can learn about new technologies, receive discounts on continuing education, and find job opportunities.
  • Capital District Paralegal Association
    TheCDPA is dedicated to the needs of practicing paralegals, legal assistants, and paralegal students, educators, and employers. Members can participate in association events, take advantage of career development resources, and complete continuing legal education.
  • Paralegal Association of Rochester
    Since 1975, the PAR has been serving the needs of paralegals in the Greater Rochester area. Students who join can build relationships with current practitioners, participate in member events, and take exclusive continuing legal education programs.