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Best Paralegal Programs in Texas for 2024: Online & On-Campus

Gain the knowledge and skills needed to become a paralegal by earning your degree or certificate from one of the best on-campus or online paralegal programs in Texas.

Author: Michael Hoffman
Editor: STEPS Staff

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Does a career in law appeal to you, but you’re not interested in putting in the time and money needed to become an attorney? If so, the paralegal profession might be right for you. Paralegals play a critical role assisting attorneys in conducting research, file management, client relations, trial preparation, and almost all other aspects of legal practice. With median salaries around $60,000 and long-term job growth at nearly 25%, Texas paralegals are also well-paid and in high demand.

This guide introduces you to some of the top on-campus and best online paralegal programs Texas has to offer. It also offers valuable information on program costs and financial assistance, potential earnings, and much more. Ready to make the move to become a paralegal professional? Find out how to launch your career in law by earning your degree or certificate through one of the best paralegal programs in Texas for 2024.

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

Students considering paralegal programs in Texas have plenty of program options available both online and on campus. Each format has its advantages and disadvantages, and it’s critical to choose the one that best fits you based on your study preferences, job obligations, time frame, ultimate career goals, etc.

This section spotlights several top campus-based paralegal programs in Texas while the next highlights the best online paralegal programs Texas offers. These selections were made by considering student-focused features like accreditation, affordability, study options, and access to valuable student support services. These spotlights also preview a full rankings list of Texas paralegal programs coming later this year, so be sure to check back. Read on to see who is leading the pack in on-campus paralegal programs in Texas for 2024.

Austin Community College

Austin Community College (ACC) is a public school offering both paralegal associate degree and certificate options. Those with a bachelor’s or higher degree are eligible for ACC’s Advanced Technical Certificate Paralegal program. It consists of 30 credits of paralegal and other law-focused coursework earned over three semesters. If you don’t have a degree, ACC’s Associate of Applied Science Paralegal program consists of 60 credits earned over five semesters of full-time study.

This curriculum combines the legal-focused courses of the certificate program with the general education coursework needed for an associate degree. Most courses in both programs are campus-based with legal course classes scheduled in the evenings and on Saturdays. Some classes may be attended via online synchronous instruction, and all paralegal students must complete a 280-hour internship with a program-approved law firm, agency, or corporation.

Affordability is a major feature of ACC’s paralegal programs. The current per-credit cost (tuition and fees) is $85 for in-district residents, $286 for out-of-district Texas residents, and $353 for out-of-state and international students.

Delivery:
  • On Campus
  • Full-time
Undergraduate Programs:
  • Advanced Technical Certificate Paralegal
  • Associate of Applied Science Paralegal
Graduate Programs:
  • None
Specialization Options:
  • None

Lone Star College

Lone Star College, a public community college operating on eight campus locations in the greater Houston area, offers exceptionally affordable campus-based certificate and associate degree paralegal programs. The Associate of Applied Science is open to students with no college experience. Students complete 60 credits of general education and major-specific (paralegal and law-related) coursework over two years of full-time study. Students with an associate or bachelor’s degree can take the 30-credit Advanced Technical Certificate program that consists entirely of paralegal and other law-related coursework. The certificate program is completed over two semesters of full-time study.

Students in both programs attend legal-focused classes on Lone Star’s North Harris campus located north of downtown Houston near the George Bush International Airport. Some general education courses, however, may be available online. Current per-credit tuition rates for both programs are $103 for in-district residents, $231 for out-of-district Texas residents, and $290 for out-of-state residents and international students. Financial aid and tuition payment plans are available.

Delivery:
  • On Campus
  • Full-time
Undergraduate Programs:
  • Associate of Applied Science Paralegal
  • Paralegal Advanced Technical Certificate
Graduate Programs:
  • None
Specialization Options:
  • None

University of Houston Clear Lake

Students looking to launch or advance their paralegal career while obtaining a broader general knowledge base and deeper understanding of the legal profession can do so through the Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies program at the University of Houston Clear Lake. The degree requires 120 credit hours, including a minimum of 60 hours of upper-level paralegal and law-related coursework. Students also complete a substantial general education course requirement. The program is offered in both campus-based and hybrid formats, though both offer some courses fully or partially online.

Program graduates gain advanced legal skills that make them more attractive to paralegal employers and provide them with the foundation to continue their academics into graduate-level law programs or even law school to become attorneys. Total tuition and fees for full-time students, based on 30 credit hours per year, is $9,236 for Texas residents and $26,252 for non-residents.

Delivery:
  • Hybrid
  • On Campus
  • Full-time
Undergraduate Programs:
  • Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies
Graduate Programs:
  • None
Specialization Options:
  • None

Top Online Paralegal Degree Programs in Texas

There are plenty of options for fully online and hybrid paralegal programs in Texas. In fact, the best online paralegal programs Texas offers include substantial convenience and study flexibility for all students and particularly for working professionals who want to continue in their current jobs while becoming paralegals. The best online paralegal programs Texas offers come in a variety of program types and formats, so it’s critical that you fully understand all elements and delivery methods before you enroll. The spotlights below of the best online paralegal programs Texas offers give an idea of how online studies work. Be sure to check back for a full list of Texas’ online paralegal program rankings.

South Texas College

South Texas College, a public community college, offers a Paralegal Associate of Applied Science program with coursework delivered entirely online, though the culminating practicum course is coordinated with an employer. As with most associate degrees, students complete 60 credit hours of combined general education and major-specific coursework over two years of full-time study.

Admission to STC requires a high school diploma or GED, but students without either may be admitted if they are at least 18 years old and have adequate score results from the Texas Success Initiative Assessment placement exam. Current tuition rates are $160/credit for in-district students, $170/credit for out-of-district Texas residents, and $250/credit for all other U.S. and international students. All students also pay an additional $4/credit activity fee.

Undergraduate Programs:
  • Paralegal Associate of Applied Science
Graduate Programs:
  • None
Program Options:
  • Full-time
  • Fully Online
  • On Campus

Texas A&M University-Commerce

Texas A&M University-Commerce offers paralegal students pursuing bachelor’s degrees both Bachelor of Science (BS) and Bachelor of Arts (BA) options in its Paralegal Studies BA/BS program. Both degrees require 120 credits of general education, including 18 credits in a required minor subject, and major-focused coursework typically completed over four years of full-time study. BA students must complete 12 credit hours of coursework in a foreign language as part of the general ed requirements. Both BS and BA students complete major-specific didactic coursework online. General education coursework may be online or on-campus. All paralegal students must also complete 160-hour in-person internships in a program-approved setting such as a private law firm or the District or County Attorney’s office.

Tuition and fees for students taking 12 credits are $4,212/semester for Texas residents and $9,108/semester for non-residents. Scholarships and other financial aid opportunities are available.

Undergraduate Programs:
  • Bachelor of Arts in Paralegal Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies
Graduate Programs:
  • None
Program Options:
  • Full-time
  • Fully Online plus in-person internship

University of Texas at San Antonio

Students interested in a quick and convenient route into the paralegal profession should consider the Paralegal Certificate Program at the University of Texas at San Antonio (USTA). Students choose between two modalities. The Virtual Classroom option includes online classes via live stream on Saturdays at specifically scheduled times. The Online option is self-paced and features 100% online, asynchronous coursework. Field trips to a local courthouse and law library are optional. Both modality options take 11 months (three semesters). Registration is open enrollment and does not require admission into the university.

The cost of UTSA’s Paralegal Certificate Program is $1,750 per semester. Payment plans are available, and program starts are in the fall, spring, and summer.

Undergraduate Programs:
  • Paralegal Certificate Programs
Graduate Programs:
  • None
Program Options:
  • Part-time
  • Fully Online

Types of Paralegal Degrees You Can Earn in Texas

There are three credential types – certificates, associate degrees, and bachelor’s degrees – available from paralegal programs in Texas, all of which prepare you for employment as a paralegal. The descriptions and links to example Texas programs below will help you choose the right credential for you.

Undergraduate Paralegal Degrees in Texas

Paralegal Associate Degrees

Paralegal associate degree programs are great for students seeking paralegal employment plus the additional general education coursework that makes them more attractive to employers. They’re also a smart option for those who want to earn a bachelor’s degree but don’t want to wait four years to start working as a paralegal. Most associate paralegal programs require two years of full-time study.

Accredited Texas Colleges with an Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies

Paralegal Bachelor’s Degrees

Paralegal bachelor degree programs serve many purposes. Like certificate and associate degree programs, they prepare students for their first paralegal jobs. They’re also a great way for current paralegals to enhance their job prospects and earn their bachelor’s before continuing to law school. Paralegal bachelor’s programs typically require around 120 credits of general education and law-related coursework completed over four years of full-time study. However, some programs are two-year degree completion programs for students who already have associate degrees or two years of transferable college credits.

Accredited Texas Colleges with a Bachelor’s Degree in Paralegal Studies

Certificate Programs

The quickest and most affordable path to becoming a paralegal is through a paralegal certificate program. There are two types of paralegal certificates. The first is a stand-alone certificate available to students without college degrees. These programs are almost always fully online, self-paced, and require around one year (sometimes less) to complete. The other type of paralegal certificate program is an advanced technical certificate that requires an associate or bachelor’s degree for admission. Advanced technical certificate programs typically take around a year to complete but are usually campus-based and follow a set three-semester curriculum.

Accredited Texas Colleges with Paralegal Certificate Programs

Paying for Your Paralegal Degree in Texas

Paying for their education is a major concern for practically all college students, and paralegal programs in Texas are keenly aware of this. That’s why you’ll find the schools offering those programs often provide many scholarships and other financial aid resources for students. Be sure to contact the financial aid office at your school to find out if you’re eligible for funding support. Examples of paralegal programs in Texas offering financial aid help include:

STEPS’ financial aid and scholarship guides especially for those who want to work in public service also provide great information and advice on funding your paralegal program, so be sure to check them out as well.

Salary & Growth for Paralegal Grads in Texas

The median annual wage for paralegals and legal assistants in Texas is $59,970, according to the May 2022 figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. What you actually earn, though, depends on factors such as your particular employer, job duties, level of professional experience, and geographic location. To give you an idea of what to expect as far as salary, consider the BLS wage figures for paralegals in four Texas metropolitan areas.

  • Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington: $66,330
  • El Paso: $45,790
  • Houston/The Woodlands/Sugar Land: $65,880
  • San Antonio/New Braunfels: $52,530

Job growth for paralegals in Texas, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, is projected at just over 23% between 2020 and 2030. This is nearly double the 12% growth for the nation overall. Job growth for paralegals in Texas is also impacted by where you live as the 2020-2030 job growth estimates from the Texas Workforce Commission for paralegals in four Texas regions indicate.

  • Alamo: 30%
  • Capital Area: 20.6%
  • Dallas: 20.5%
  • Southeast Texas: -1.4%

Texas Paralegal Professional and Student Resources

  • State Bar of Texas Paralegal Division
    This official website for the Texas State Bar gives comprehensive information on paralegal certification, applicable Bar bylaws and code of ethics, and practically anything else regarding paralegal practice within the state. Student memberships are available.
  • Texas Alliance of Paralegal Associations (TAPA)
    This organization includes over three dozen local paralegal associations in Texas that work to maintain communication among one another and promote the paralegal profession. TAPA sponsors meetings that facilitate an exchange of information on continuing paralegal education, publications, public relations projects, and more.
  • Texas Bar College
    The Texas Bar College is a professional society of lawyers and paralegals “committed to high ethical standards and improved training for all legal professionals.” Associate membership is available to paralegals meeting specific education requirements.
  • Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS): Board Certified Paralegal
    The TBLS is the governing board exclusively authorized by the State Bar of Texas and the Texas Supreme Court to certify paralegals in Texas in seven areas of specialty practice. Its website offers detailed information on the certification application and examination process.