Did you know there are online paralegal programs and courses that you can take to set you on the path to the legal profession? Although there are many online paralegal programs only the accredited ones are curated in this blog post so that you can earn a recognized certificate.
Thanks to the internet and digital tools, you can learn anything online ranging from medical and construction courses to computer and data analytics skillsets which offer recognized qualifications. These qualifications cover certifications, diplomas, and degrees. And because they are offered by world-class universities and colleges this makes the qualifications accepted by HRs all over the world.
Now, you can sit in the comfort of your home and take a free online law course from one of the top institutions and earn a certification upon completion. Say you want to take an online course in other areas, aside from the law, without breaking the bank, there are hundreds of free online courses just waiting for you to explore.
The online paralegal programs and courses curated in this blog will help aspiring lawyers more or those who want to kick start a career in the legal profession. If you are looking for a career change, the online paralegal program discussed here can also be of huge help to you. Dive into one of the accredited programs and become a paralegal in no time and begin your journey in the legal path.
To better prepare yourself in the legal space, you may consider checking out the free online law library and see how it can be of help to you. You should be able to find textbooks, journals, courses, etc. in the library that will broaden your knowledge and widen your expertise.
And when you’ve completed one of the online paralegal programs and want to get more established in the legal profession you need to go to a law school. Spain has some of the best law schools and if you need a wider option, you can check out the best law schools in Europe, as well as, the best universities in the world for law. International law is also an interesting kind of legal path and if this is where your interest lies, start sourcing for the best universities for international law and start sending your application.
What is an Online Paralegal Program?
An online paralegal program is an online program that equips you with the foundational understanding of the law required for success. You will learn legal research, professional ethics, formal and legal writing, legal system, litigation, and real estate law.
When you complete an online paralegal program, you will earn a certificate to show that you have the skill set of a paralegal and work in a legal firm. As a paralegal, you are trained to undertake legal work and help other lawyers in the firm but you are not a qualified or a professional lawyer. This is why I mentioned earlier that taking online paralegal programs will set you on the path to becoming a lawyer.
As a paralegal, your responsibilities will include assisting with case planning, development, and management, gathering facts and retrieving information, conducting interviews with clients and witnesses, drafting and analyzing legal documents and collects, carrying out investigations, conducting legal research, drafting legal documents, correspondence, and pleadings, and summarize depositions, interrogatories, and testimony.
Are there Free Online Paralegal Programs?
Yes, there are free online paralegal courses with certificates that you can find on Alison and Udemy.
Requirements to Join Online Paralegal Programs
Firstly, this is an online program therefore you will need the appropriate digital learning tools such as a PC, iPad, tablet, or smartphone and access to a Wi-Fi connection. Also, the school that offers online paralegal programs will need you to meet some requirements and criteria for you to be eligible and considered for admission into the program.
These requirements are:
- Must have completed and earned a high school diploma or an associate degree
- Transcripts from previous institutions attended including high school
- Meet the minimum GPA requirement, usually 2.5 or higher
- Proficiency in computer science and Microsoft Word
- Letters of recommendation
- Personal interview
- Writing sample
- Personal statement
Benefits of Online Paralegal Programs
The benefits of online paralegal programs are:
- You can learn from the comfort of your home or anywhere convenient enough for you to learn
- There’s a lesser amount of stress since you get to skip the commute and go to a designated learning site
- You can learn at your own pace
- Online paralegal programs are flexible, that is, classes are designed to fit into your busy schedule
- Learning and completing the program online is faster which will help you get a job quickly
- Lesser distractions as you get to learn on your own
- Job placement assistance
- Class sizes are small which increases attention and interaction between teacher and student
Accredited Online Paralegal Programs
Here, you will find several online paralegal programs offered by various universities, colleges, and community colleges for you to choose from. Earlier, I made a list of online paralegal program requirements which is just a general list because these requirements vary from school to school and by the program as well.
To know the specific and complete requirement you will need to contact the Admissions Office of your preferred school and get the full details. Before we finally go on, you must have computer literacy, else you can start looking for an online computer course to take.
Without any further ado, the accredited online paralegal programs are:
1. The City University of New York’s Online Paralegal Course
The City University of New York is offering a 100% online paralegal course to equip you with the skillset to efficiently carry out the duties of a paralegal and prepare you for the Certified Paralegal (CP) exam. There are no prerequisites to the take the course and you can start anytime, even right now as you are reading this.
The instructor for the program is Casey Thompson, a licensed attorney in Texas.
2. U.S. Career Institute’s Online Paralegal Program
The U.S Career Institute is an accredited institution that offers a wide range of online programs including paralegal. It offers one of the best online paralegal programs and has the numbers and ratings to prove it. The class is 100% online and you get to learn at your own time, set the class schedule for students to get to set it themselves and learn at their own pace whenever they can 24/7.
During the online paralegal program, you will learn Tort law, contract law, operation of federal and state laws, working with attorneys, etc., and focus on real-world skills that will help you gain the skills your need for employment and ready you for industry certifications. The program cost is $69 per month and covers learning materials, career support, and access to instructors. There is also a 100% money-back guarantee.
3. Certificate in Law & Paralegal Studies at the University of Cincinnati Online
The University of Cincinnati Online offers one of the top online paralegal programs that leads to a certification. The program is fully online and designed for individuals seeking a career change or wanting to become a paralegal. With its unique curriculum, students are equipped with the skillset to help them reach their professional goals.
The perks of the online paralegal certification program at Cincinnati Online are that you can graduate in one year, learn from licensed attorneys, and get a job placement. You can complete the program in a part-time or full-time format.
4. CLS By BARBRI Paralegal Certificate Course Online
At CLS by BARBRI you can enroll in one of the best online paralegal programs and earn a certification in just 14 weeks. The program is divided into two – Paralegal I & Paralegal II – 7 weeks each. To graduate, both sessions must be taken consecutively. While paralegal I sets the foundation for paralegals, paralegal II takes students deeper and equips them with in-depth knowledge and skill of the profession.
The program is also fully online and students are expected to spend an average of 8-12 hours weekly reading and completing writing assignments.
5. Western Nevada College’s Certified Paralegal Online
Western Nevada College has a Continuing Education unit that offers a wide range of online and distance learning courses and programs that leads to a certification. One of these online certification programs is a paralegal designed to help you become a certified paralegal the easy way and in no time. The program is equally accredited by NALA.
This is one of the best paralegal programs online that prepare you to earn your Certified Paralegal (CP) credential and ready you for an entry-level career. You can enroll anytime that is convenient enough for you and start learning at your own pace.
6. Florida International University’s Paralegal Online
Florida International University has a Legal Studies Institute that offers one of the best-accredited paralegal programs online. The online program can be joined by students from anywhere in the world, you will be accepted into the program as long as you satisfy the admission requirements.
The online paralegal program takes one year to complete and it is broken down into three semesters, and a total of 615 hours in 12 subjects. The total program cost is $7,120.
7. Certified Paralegal at SDSU Global Campus
SDSU Global Campus offers a wide range of online certification programs and paralegal is one of them. The online paralegal program at SDSU Global Campus is fully online and accredited, you can start anytime, and learn at your own pace. In 12 months, you will complete the program and become a fully-fledged paralegal.
During the training, you will learn how to perform tasks and be able to carry out your daily activities efficiently. You will also be prepared to take the Certified Paralegal (CP) certification exam to earn your certificate and get working in no time. There are no prerequisites to take this course, however, you will need a high school diploma or GED equivalent to enroll. The total program cost is $2,495.
8. Rasmussen University’s Online Paralegal Programs
Rasmussen University offers you two paralegal study options, an online paralegal certificate, and an online paralegal associate’s degree. Whichever of the options you go for will teach you about the legal system and the importance of legal ethics, and you will be learning from experienced and skilled instructors in the legal field who are practicing judges, attorneys, and paralegals.
The online paralegal associate degree online takes 18 months to complete while the online paralegal certificate takes 8 months to complete but you must have earned an associate or bachelor’s degree to take the certificate program.
9. Rice University’s Paralegal Graduate Certificate
Rice University offers a paralegal graduate certificate to individuals who are kick-starting a career in the legal field or those looking to advance their careers. Whichever category you fall into, this program provides the certification you need to take the next step. The program is in two formats: an evening classroom and online and it takes 5 months to complete.
The program is taught by attorneys with decades of experience and still practicing. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates will receive a Rice University Paralegal Graduate Certificate.
10. Stony Brook University’s Paralegal Certificate Program
Stony Brook University’s School of Professional Development offers a paralegal certificate program available in both in-person and online formats. You can join any of the study formats and gain essential skills to work as a professional paralegal carrying out your duties efficiently. Joining the program requires no prerequisites but students will be expected to complete homework for each session.
Students who complete the program will be awarded a Certificate of Completion and receive 8.4 Continuing Education Units.
These are the top accredited online paralegal programs that you can join from any part of the world. And if you prefer an in-person class, some of the programs are also offered on campus. Join one of the online paralegal programs and kick start a career in the legal profession.
List of Online Paralegal Courses
If you are already a paralegal and want to upgrade your skills without committing to a program that takes months to complete, you can consider taking online paralegal courses. Online paralegal courses take a few days to complete and could offer you the skills you need to improve as a paralegal.
The online paralegal courses here are also offered by top universities, legal institutions, and legal experts. When you complete any of the courses, you will get a free certification that you can attach to your portfolio.
The online paralegal courses are:
1. Legal Office Administration
This is one of the online paralegal courses offered by Workforce Academy Partnership on Alison. The free course takes 5-6 hours to complete and teaches you how to perform various procedures and functions of the legal profession. The skills you gain from this course can be applied to your paralegal profession and boost your expertise.
2. Paralegal Crash Course
This is one of the online paralegal courses offered by Udemy and teaches you how to become a paralegal on your own. If you are starting as a paralegal with no skill or knowledge of the profession and don’t want to commit to something long, this course is for you. You will gain the basic skills needed to become a paralegal and other beneficial skills. However, your expertise will be really basic and you will only get entry-level positions at most.
3. Legal Studies – Laws and the Judicial System
This is a free online paralegal course offered on Alison that will teach you the various kinds of laws, their importance, and the judicial system. This is an extra knowledge for paralegals to gain and will help them relate more with the lawyers and judges they work with daily.
4. Ethics in Law Enforcement
This is one of the online paralegal courses offered by BCcampus OpenEd. It is a free course that trains and equips you with knowledge of the moral and ethical issues of law enforcement. Paralegals who take this course will boost their knowledge on how to investigate crimes and interview witnesses.
5. Legal Studies – the Adversary Trial System
This online paralegal course will teach you about Adversary Trial System, it’s giving you a better understanding of the legal system and enhance your knowledge of civil and criminal law. You will also learn about the court and trial system.
6. Advanced Diploma in Legal Studies and Business
This is one of the online paralegal courses offered for free by Advance Learning and teaches you about company structures, various organization functions, and business environments. Taking this course will equip you with the skillset to better manage your office and boost your efficiency.
7. Introduction to Contracts in Law
Do you know the procedures involved in legally binding a contract? Or do you know how to resolve a breach with damages? If you don’t know any of these and you are in the legal profession, then take this course to equip yourself with broader knowledge. You will learn about the most important elements that make up a contract and so much more.
These are the best online paralegal programs that you can take and complete within a few hours to a few days. There is very little commitment and is perfect for those who can’t stay up to 12 months studying for a program. However, these courses are best taken by those who are already paralegals or involved in the legal profession and are simply looking for courses to support their growth.
Top Schools for Paralegal Programs
Some schools, that is, universities and colleges, are globally recognized for being the best at offering paralegal programs. These schools are:
- Liberty University
- Auburn University at Montgomery
- California State University, Los Angeles
- Des Moines Area Community College
- Hodges University
- Grand Valley State University
- Hofstra University
- The George Washington University
- Arizona State University
- Illinois State University
Explore these university’s paralegal programs on your own and see if they are a good fit for you.
Online Paralegal Programs – FAQs
Can I become a paralegal online?
Yes, you can become a paralegal online by enrolling in one of the accredited online paralegal programs and preparing for the certification exam.
What kind of paralegal makes the most money?
The paralegal that makes the most money is a Paralegal Manager who earns $104,775 per year
How long does it take to be a paralegal?
Depending on the degree you want to pursue and where you are in your journey, it can take anywhere between 2 and 7 years to become a paralegal
What is the salary of a paralegal?
The average annual salary of a paralegal is $56,230
What type of paralegal is most in demand?
The Bankruptcy Paralegal is most in-demand followed by the Family Law paralegal.
Where can a paralegal work?
A paralegal can work in law firms, government, corporate, real estate and title insurance, estate planning and probate, NGOs, immigration services, and medical or healthcare.
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Thaddaeus is a lead content creator at SAN with over 5 years of experience in the field of professional content creation. He has written several helpful articles for Blockchain projects in the past and even recently but since 2020, he has been more active in creating guides for students who want to study abroad.
When he's not writing, he's either watching anime, making a delicious meal, or definitely swimming.