Paralegals are vital in the legal profession as they assist lawyers in conducting research in their cases.
They also handle the administrative part of the lawyer’s office, making their work manageable.
If you want to work in the law industry in Illinois, consider applying to any of these top paralegal programs.
The best part is they are all approved by the American Bar Association.
Article Table of Contents
- 1 Licensing Requirements for Paralegals in Illinois
- 2 5 Top Paralegal Schools in Illinois
- 3 Salary Expectation
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions
Licensing Requirements for Paralegals in Illinois
To become a paralegal in Illinois, you can obtain a certificate or associate degree in paralegal studies.
The certificate paralegal program is offered to paralegals who already hold a degree in other fields and want to pursue a career as a paralegal.
But it is worth noting that a certificated paralegal graduate is not the same as a certified paralegal.
A certified paralegal must have passed any of the four national exams.
- The PACE offered by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA)
- The PCCE provided by the NFPA
- The CLA/CP offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)
- The PP is provided by the Association of Legal Professionals (NALS).
If you want to be a distinguished paralegal and improve your chances of securing a job, you would better pursue an advanced degree in paralegal studies.
Most paralegal degrees are approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).
5 Top Paralegal Schools in Illinois
If you want to work as a legal assistant in Illinois, you are in a good place as many schools offer paralegal studies in various areas.
Identify your area of interest and enroll in a paralegal program in any of these top 5 schools.
1. Loyola University Chicago
The University offers a B.A. in paralegal studies which takes 8 weeks to finish.
The course is available to students who have official transcription from their prior institutions, attained a 2.0 GPA, and have A.A.S. in paralegal studies or a minimum of 15 credit hours in paralegal courses.
It is a 6-month program with the option of taking physical and online classes.
The students can choose from several areas of specialization, including litigation, corporate, B.A., or dual certificate in litigation and corporate practice.
The American Bar Association approves the paralegal program in Loyola.
The paralegal program tuition is $5,695, inclusive of course materials.
Note that the cost does not include textbooks, which amounts to $700, and the list of the books to buy is emailed o the students.
2. Illinois State University
The Illinois State University offers a paralegal program that the American Bar Association approves.
The program aims to develop the student’s communication skills, critical thinking, legal research & legal writing, Interviewing & investigation skills, and in-office management skills.
The school offers several certificate options, and any student who completes any options earns a paralegal certificate.
These options include:
- Certificate in legal studies with a bachelor’s degree
- Certificate in legal studies without a bachelor’s degree
- Major in Legal studies
- Minor in legal studies
The student needs to have attained a high school diploma and SAT/ACT scores.
Once accepted, they must pass the University’s Introduction to law for paralegals with a B or above to officially apply to the paralegal program.
Their program is approved by the American Bar Association and takes place on campus.
- Illinois residents pay $41,040
- Out-of-state residents pay 70,800
3. Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
Southern Illinois University offers a minor and four-year degree in paralegal studies.
The bachelor of science degree in paralegal studies requires 120 credit hours.
The course is focused on teaching the students Torts law, civil procedures, family law, bankruptcy, business entities, introduction, advanced legal research, and writing.
The degree program costs $16,299 per year
4. College of DuPage
The College of DuPage is based in Glen Ellyn and provides paralegal studies to students with a high school diploma and over 18 years old.
The program has a total of 70 credit hours.
The students must attain a minimum of 67 credits in general education, paralegal courses, and an internship under the supervision of a lawyer.
The course aims to sharpen the student’s communication skills, research & legal writing, and working knowledge of the law.
The program is available on campus, and the American Bar Association approves it.
- Residents of District 502 pay $9.380
- Senior citizen residents of district 502 pay $4,690
- Out-of-state students pay $21,909
5. College of Lake County
This community college’s main campus is based in Grayslake and has several satellite campuses.
The College of Lake County paralegal certificate program requires the students to have an associate or bachelor’s degree before applying.
To pass this paralegal program, students need to attain 30 credits, and they can opt to take physical or online classes.
The college offers paralegal classes in several areas, and they should choose what they want to specialize in.
The American Bar Association approves their paralegal program.
- The residents of Illinois pay $2,760
- Out- of state residents pay $7,200
- International students pay $9,705
Paralegal Schools in Illinois – Summary Table
|Loyola University Chicago||1032 W Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60660|
|Illinois State University||100 N University St, Normal, IL 61761|
|Southern Illinois University-Carbondale||1263 Lincoln Dr, Carbondale, IL 62901|
|College of DuPage||425 Fawell Blvd, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137|
|College of Lake County||19351 W Washington St, Grayslake, IL 60030|
As of June 28, 2022, It was estimated that entry-level paralegals in Illinois make an annual salary of $63,810.
It is important to note that the compensation is influenced by several factors, including certifications, additional skills, and years of service.
The pay also varies from city to city.
So when going for your interview, be armed with all your document and negotiate better pay for yourself.Annual Salary Range:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
Frequently Asked Questions
Which are the best associations for Paralegal in Illinois?
- Illinois Paralegal Association (IPA)
- Central Illinois Paralegal Association (CIPA)
- National Association of Legal Assistants Certification
Do Paralegals need a license in Illinois?
A license is not a must, but if you want to increase your chances of getting a job as a legal assistant in Illinois, it would be best to complete an associate or bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies in a school that the American Bar Association approves.
If you also take one of the four national exams, you’d be better in the job market.
Which law firms in Illinois employ paralegals?
- Brinks Gilson &Lione
- Sidney Austin LLP
- Clifford Law Offices
- Seyfarth Shaw
- Mayer Brown
- Maker & Mackenzie
- Hinshaw & Culbertson
- Jenner & Block
- Chapman and Cutler
- McDermott Will & Emery
Read the full guide: How to Become a Paralegal