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Paralegal Associate Degrees: Best Programs, Jobs, and Salaries

Odedeyi Feyisayo Anthonia - March 05, 2022


Paralegals, also known as legal assistants, are key members of any legal team and play an important role in the corporate world. You’ll need excellent paralegal skills to work as a paralegal. You can acquire such skills by selecting from an array of paralegal associate degrees, which can lead you toward a rewarding career in the legal field.

In this article, we will discuss the paralegal associate degree requirements, so you can gauge the feasibility of earning this degree. We also provide you with options on the best colleges for paralegal studies. If you believe becoming a paralegal is right for you, keep reading.

What Is a Paralegal?

A paralegal is a member of the legal system with a broad understanding of the law and legal issues but is not a licensed attorney. Paralegals are responsible for a wide range of administrative and legal jobs. They’re professionals of legal science, and they work in law firms to support and assist barristers, solicitors, and chartered legal executives.

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What is a Paralegal Associate Degree?

A paralegal associate degree is a program approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). It aims to teach students to help lawyers with their professional responsibilities. Some of the paralegal courses in this associate degree program include Introduction to Law, Advanced Legal Research, Business Communications, Legal Ethics, and Paralegal Research.

You can earn a paralegal associate degree through part-time or full-time study. You can pursue this degree as long as you’re a high school graduate. Earning this degree generally takes about two years to complete.

Paralegal Associate Degree Requirements

For you to be able to earn an Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies, you should be qualified for a paralegal studies program. You need a minimum of a high-school diploma or equivalent as part of the educational requirements.

How Much Does a Paralegal Associate Degree Cost?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics , the annual average tuition for an associate program between 2019 and 2020 costs $3,621. An associate degree in paralegal studies would likely be around this price range.

Paralegal Associate Degree Financing Options: How to Pay for Your Paralegal Associate Degree

Program cost for a paralegal degree varies according to institutions. However, as a student, you are entitled to different payment plan options and can apply for financial aid.

Best Paralegal Associate Degree Programs and Schools: Overview

School Program Accreditation
Broward College Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Clayton State University Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Eastern Kentucky University Applied Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Husson University Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies New England Commission of Higher Education
Hutchinson Community College Associate of Applied Science – Paralegal Higher Learning Commission
Ivy Tech Community College Associate of Applied Science – Paralegal Studies Higher Learning Commission,
North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
Kapiolani Community College Associate in Science – Paralegal Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Manchester Community College Associate of Science – Paralegal New England Association of Schools and Colleges
MTI College Paralegal Associate Degree Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
Pitt Community College Associate of Applied Science – Paralegal Technology Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Best Colleges for Paralegals: Top Paralegal Associate Degree Program

In this section, we give you an overview of the best schools for paralegals. We will detail the type of courses and subjects you’ll be required to as part of your paralegal associate degree program.

Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies | Broward College

The associate degree in paralegal studies at Broward College in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has been approved by the ABA. Industry experts create the program curricula to ensure that the courses are relevant and useful in the real world. Internship and employment programs are also available, allowing students to transition from school to the courtroom easily.

Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies | Clayton State University

Clayton State University’s paralegal program boasts an outstanding faculty, all of whom are attorneys with experience. It also has a flexible course delivery, wherein students can complete the degree entirely online or in a hybrid format combining online and day and evening classes. The ABA has also approved this school’s paralegal program.

Applied Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies | Eastern Kentucky University

You can get a paralegal associate degree from Eastern Kentucky University, which combines online and in-person education. Litigation, computer applications, criminal law, and family law are all part of the program curricula The school also has active job placement support for all graduating students.

Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies | Husson University

Husson University’s dynamic learning environment assists aspiring paralegals in focusing on legal research. Students also learn outside the classroom through experiences in courts, law offices, libraries, and the Registry of Deeds. The associate program involves an internship that incorporates educational and practical work experience to help paralegal students develop holistic legal skills.

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Associate of Applied Science – Paralegal | Hutchinson Community College

The paralegal studies program at Hutchinson is one of the ABA-Approved programs that offer a broad curriculum in legal specialty courses. It covers subjects like employment law, elder law, personal finance, and workers compensation. Successful internship completion, as part of your paralegal education at Hutchinson, will help you gain experience for paralegal careers.

Associate of Applied Science – Paralegal Studies | Ivy Tech Community College

Competent and experienced professionals teach the paralegal studies program at Ivy Tech Community College. With the school’s established transfer connections, students in the paralegal associate degree program can opt to transfer to one of the numerous four-year colleges.

Associate in Science – Paralegal | Kapiolani Community College

The associate degree in paralegal program at Kapiolani Community College provides comprehensive career services to aspiring paralegals. Kapiolani Community College’s associate program is Hawaii’s only paralegal program. It has produced skilled and competent paralegals who have gone on to assist the local community.

Associate of Science – Paralegal | Manchester Community College

The paralegal program at Manchester Community College allows prospective paralegals to put what they’ve learned in class into practice. The program also contains practical courses on communication skills, critical thinking skills, and time and stress management. It also covers topics on corporate ethics, leadership, and career progression, among others.

Paralegal Associate Degree | MTI College

MTI College’s paralegal associate degree program lasts two years. It has both on-campus and online education courses. MTI College has a 90 percent job placement rate and a competent and experienced staff.

Associate of Applied Science – Paralegal Technology | Pitt Community College

Pitt Community College’s Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Technology provides the best alternatives for working professionals. It has hybrid courses that include evening programs in a regular classroom and a range of online coursework. The program has approval from the ABA and the North Carolina State Bar.

Best Online Paralegal Associate Degree Programs and Schools: Overview

School Program Accreditation
Clovis Community College Associate of Applied Science in Legal Assistant Studies Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Hinds Community College Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Technology Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Iowa Lakes Community College Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal and Legal Studies Higher Learning Commission
Keiser University Associate of Arts in Paralegal Studies Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Lake Superior College Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies Higher Learning Commission
Liberty University Associate of Arts in Paralegal Studies Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Madison Area Technical College Associate Degree in Legal Studies/Paralegal Higher Learning Commission
Minnesota State Community and Technical College Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Higher Learning Commission
Phoenix College Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies Higher Learning Commission
Rasmussen University Paralegal Associate Degree Higher Learning Commission

Best Colleges for Paralegals: Top Online Paralegal Associate Degree programs

To get a paralegal degree, prospective students can take online courses in paralegal associate programs while attending to other responsibilities. Online schools are flexible and self-paced. They can bring you closer to achieving your career goals even while you’re at the comfort of your home.

Clovis Community College provides a 66-credit associate of applied science in legal assistant studies, which students can complete entirely online. Legal writing, litigation, criminal law, estates, and wills are among the highlights of the curriculum. These subjects provide students with a broad foundation in various areas of law.

Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Technology | Hinds Community College

Students can earn an online Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Technology degree at Hinds Community College, which will prepare them for job opportunities in the paralegal field. There are academic core, career-technical core, and concentration classes. Full-time students can complete their degree in two years if they take 60-62 credits.

Iowa Lakes Community College offers an online associate program for applied science in paralegal and legal studies. The highlights of its online classes are legal ethics, criminal law, wills, trusts, and real estate fundamentals.

Associate of Arts in Paralegal Studies | Keiser University

Keiser University provides a 60-credit Associate of Arts in Paralegal Studies program that students can take online. These classes prepare students to assist attorneys in transactional and litigation matters. The paralegal major accounts for 24 of the 60 necessary credits, including legal research and writing courses, civil litigation, family law, and real estate.

Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies | Lake Superior College

The online Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies from Lake Superior College has 60 credits and takes two years to complete. Students learn how to prepare, draft, and format legal documents. They also learn effective oral and written communication skills in interactions with clients, attorneys, and court personnel with the help of this online program.

Associate of Arts in Paralegal Studies | Liberty University

The associate program at Liberty University prepares you for a paralegal career with its comprehensive course of study. The online program’s curriculum covers political and economic theories, government structures, and free-market processes. In this school, you can receive your online degree and online training from a qualified faculty.

The legal studies/paralegal program is a two-year associate degree that will prepare you for entry-level paralegal job prospects. You’ll enroll in classes that will give you practical skills, problem-solving, and communication skills to help you stand out in any legal career field.

Paralegal Associate of Applied Science | Minnesota State Community and Technical College

The fully online Paralegal Associate of Applied Science degree from Minnesota State Community and Technical College requires the completion of 60 relevant credits. Like other associate degrees, it can be completed in two years by full-time students. There are 42 credits of mandatory courses and 18 credits of guided electives in this program.

Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies | Phoenix College

An associate of applied science degree in paralegal studies at Phoenix college prepares students for entry-level positions in law firms. The program aims to equip students with practical legal abilities. You can gain skills like processing legal documents with little supervision and familiarizing yourself with essential concepts in substantive areas in legal departments.

Paralegal Associate Degree | Rasmussen University

The paralegal studies degree program at Rasmussen University prepares students for a legal career by equipping them with fundamental skills and practical skills. Paralegal students at Rasmussen University get core legal knowledge about legal ethics. A paralegal capstone is included in each course, preparing students for a real-world law office experience in a virtual setting.

What’s the Average Paralegal Associate Degree Salary?

Business people talking Paralegal Associate Degrees
After successful completion of required semester credits for your transfer program, you can finish your law degree at a university or apply for career opportunities as a certified paralegal.

The average annual salary for paralegals and legal assistants is $52,920, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s $25.44 as an hourly rate. The following section includes a list of some of the top paralegal associate degree jobs and salaries that will be available to you after completing your associate program.

Top Paralegal Associate Degree Jobs and Salaries: Overview

Paralegal Associate Degree Jobs Average Salary
Court Reporters $61,660
Paralegals $52,920
Legal Secretaries $52,750
Court Clerks $43,490
Administrative Assistants $40,990

Best Paralegal Associate Degree Jobs Explained

Court Reporters

  • Average Salary: $61,660
  • Job Outlook: 3%
  • Number of Jobs: 21,300
  • Highest-Paying States: New York, California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Florida

Court reporters attend trials, depositions, administrative hearings, legal proceedings, and other events that require verbatim transcripts. They write accurate transcriptions of those proceedings.

Paralegals

  • Average Salary: $52,920
  • Job Outlook: 12%
  • Number of Jobs: 345,600
  • Highest-Paying States: District of Columbia, California, Washington, Colorado, New York

Paralegals assist lawyers with various tasks, including gathering facts about a case, file maintenance, legal research, and document drafting.

  • Average Salary: $52,750
  • Job Outlook: -21%
  • Number of Jobs: 160,950
  • Highest-Paying States: District of Columbia, Massachusetts, California, New York, Colorado

Legal secretaries use legal terminology, procedures, and documents to accomplish secretarial functions. They draft legal documents, such as complaints, summonses, motions, and legal communications. They also help with legal research.

Court Clerks

  • Average Salary: $43,490
  • Job Outlook: 5%
  • Number of Jobs: 156,100
  • Highest-Paying States: New York, Washington, Connecticut, Alaska, Rhode Island

In the criminal justice system, court clerks assist with administrative duties. They work in courts, where they may give oaths to jurors or witnesses, keep track of court documents, and create meeting agendas. They may also provide research and paperwork for judges.

Administrative Assistants

  • Average Salary: $40,990
  • Job Outlook: -7%
  • Number of Jobs: 3,363,900
  • Highest-Paying States: New York, Washington, California, Illinois

A legal firm’s administrative assistant is frequently the initial point of contact. They take messages and answer phones, as well as facilitate contact between external parties. They support the legal teams and manage office tasks.

Should You Get a Paralegal Associate Degree?

Yes, you should. Associate degree programs in paralegal studies teach you how to research, conduct witness interviews, and evaluate evidence. They set you on the road to a successful career as a paralegal or legal assistant.

Paralegal Associate Degree FAQ

Is a paralegal associate degree worth it?

Yes, earning a paralegal associate degree is worth it. This degree will be most helpful in getting you an entry-level legal job.


How fast can I get an online associate in paralegal degree?

Most full-time students need two years to get an online associate degree in paralegal studies, while part-time students take four years to complete this degree. Accelerated programs are a good option for students who wish to earn their degrees sooner.

Are paralegal associate degrees in demand?

Yes. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for paralegals and legal assistants will grow by 12 percent between 2020 and 2030. Between 2020 and 2030, the BLS predicts a nine percent increase in the need for all legal practitioners.

What is the difference between a paralegal and a legal assistant?

Paralegals are primarily concerned with the details of the law. Legal assistants, on the other hand, are responsible for a broader range of responsibilities.

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Odedeyi Feyisayo Anthonia

About the author: Odedeyi is an expert content writer. She has written content in various niches, including but not limited to finance, technology, and arts and culture. She attended the University of Lagos and also has a certification from the Association of Accounting Technicians of West Africa.

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