|$ Associate's Degree: $600-$5,400 Per Year
|$ $ Private or Vocational School: $5,000-$12,000+
|$ $ $ State College or University: $5,000-$23,000 Per Year
The legal assistants or paralegals provide support to lawyers in various aspects of legal proceedings.
Many of them hold an associate’s degree in paralegal studies, or a bachelor’s degree in another field and a certificate in paralegal studies.
Paralegals are not required by law to be certified, however, various local and national paralegal organizations offer certifications.
The main method of paralegal training is through attending a community college paralegal program, which brings an associate’s degree.
The full-time tuition and fees for this two-year degree with two 15-unit semesters are approximately $600 to $5,400 annually.
California has among of the lowest per-unit rates – $26, while the Community College of Vermont is at the top with a per-credit cost of $205 for in-state residents.
Certain state colleges and universities secure bachelor’s degrees in paralegal studies for the annual sum of $5,000-$23,000 based on the fact that the student is an in-state or out-of-state resident.
For example, The New York City College of Technology provides a four-year bachelor’s degree course in Legal Assistant Studies with annual in-state tuition and fees of $4,600 per year; and annual out-of-state tuition and fees of $12,450.
For those candidates who already possess a college degree in another field, the certificate in paralegal studies is acknowledged as sufficient training and costs $3,000-$8,000.
UCLA Extension provides a five-month classroom course for $5,500 plus a non-refundable $150 application fee.
Much of the private business and vocational schools provide both associate’s degree courses and certificate programs in paralegal studies for the sum of $5,000-$12,000.
Studying for seven months at the Center for Advanced Legal Studies in Texas costs $10,500 for a certificate in paralegal studies.
At the same time, an associate’s degree in paralegal studies costs $21,700 and can be completed in 15 months.
Correspondence or online courses for a certificate in paralegal studies are offered for $3,000 to $10,000 or more.
UC Berkeley secures a two-part online course where each part costs $1,750 and must be completed within three months.
Many employers, including law firms, corporate legal departments, and various levels of government, provide on-the-job training for paralegals.
What Is Included
- The information from the US Department of Labor is that Paralegal associate’s and bachelor’s degree courses usually combine paralegal training with classes in other academic subjects.
- Many paralegal certificate programs provide intensive paralegal training for those who hold college degrees in other fields.
- Paralegal training usually includes courses in legal research and the legal applications of computers.
- Certain paralegal training courses offer internship work experience in a private law firm, corporate legal department, or government agency.
- The American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc., The National Association of Legal Assistants, and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations offer paralegal certifications based on experience and passing an exam for the sum of $75 to $400.
- Most employers do not need membership in one of these groups, according to the US Department of Labor.
- Books and supplies for associate’s degree studies usually cost $759 at the City University of New York: Bronx Community College and about $1,500, at California community colleges.
- According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the price for room and board ranges from about $2,000 per year at Hinds Community College in Mississippi to $9,920 at Ilisagvik College in Alaska.
Financial support is available by most community colleges and universities and is presented on their specific websites for eligibility and application requirements.
The College Board further offers information on financial aid.
Shopping For Paralegal Training
- The American Bar Association provides a directory of approved paralegal programs.
- The American Association of Community Colleges secures a national directory of community colleges.
- The American Association of Colleges and Universities publishes an online list of state colleges.
- The US Department of Education maintains an online College Navigator that can locate schools by zip code and degree requirements.