Top 10 Paralegal Programs in Tennessee for 2021

If you’re interested in becoming a paralegal in Tennessee, there are many different paralegal programs in Tennessee for you to choose from. In order to choose the right paralegal program for you, it is essential that you know what your overall goals are for your future. Once you have a set plan for your future in place, you will need to research schools to find the one that offers paralegal programs that are both affordable and effective. If you prefer to take online classes, make sure that the school you choose offers courses in that format. Online courses will work well if you are already employed and need a flexible schedule. This flexibility may mean the difference between choosing your education or being able to work and earn at the same time.

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After choosing a school, you will need to take a look at the programs that are offered. You may be able to choose a degree program and add courses from another as electives. This will allow you to choose a major and a minor that will help you better achieve your educational goals. Paralegal programs in Tennessee are designed to provide you with everything you will need to pass the State Bar certification exam. ABA-approved paralegal programs in Tennessee have been evaluated for excellence and are good choices if you want to truly receive the best possible education. If you plan on becoming a professional paralegal in Tennessee, you will have to choose a program that will give you the skills you need to move forward.

How We Ranked the Best Paralegal Programs in Tennessee

For prospective paralegals in Tennessee, Online Paralegal Programs editors looked for reputable institutions offering certificates, degrees, and courses for paralegals. From our initial pool, we rank programs according to real factors that matter to students and working adults, like cost, graduate salaries, and student reviews. Data comes from IPEDS and Niche.

1. University of Memphis – Memphis, TN

The Bachelor of Professional Studies (BPS) in Legal Studies from the University of Memphis is one of the best paralegal programs in Tennessee. This program teaches practical and theoretical properties of law and prepares students to be able to offer legal support services to agencies and firms. Students learn communication skills, professional decorum, law-related technologies, administrative and legal investigation and research, ethics, application, process, and theory. The program does not equip students to practice law, but prepares students to pursue a law degree after graduation.

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The College of Professional and Liberal Studies at the University of Memphis is known for innovating new programs. The school makes an effort to provide many multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary activities on campus.

HIGHLIGHT: The University of Memphis has a 3+3 program in partnership with the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law that allows students to get both their bachelor’s degree and their law degree in six years.

Program: BPS Legal Studies

2. Volunteer State Community College – Gallatin, TN

The Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies from Volunteer State Community College is also one of the best paralegal programs in Tennessee. This program prepares students for careers as legal assistants or paralegals. Paralegals do legal work under the supervision of a lawyer, and the lawyer is responsible for the work. Students in the paralegal program learn to do legal document preparation and legal research and gain an understanding of procedural and substantive law. This is a rigorous program that requires outstanding communication skills.

Volunteer State Community College is a comprehensive community college that offers continuing education, certificates, and associate degrees. The school is dedicated to preparing students for their future careers, inspiring lifelong learning, promoting cultural awareness and diversity, strengthening workforce and community partnerships, and providing innovative programs. VSCC has four campuses throughout Tennessee.

HIGHLIGHT: The AAS in Paralegal Studies from VSCC is approved by the American Bar Association.

Program: AAS Paralegal Studies

3. Nashville State Community College – Nashville, TN

Another of the best paralegal programs in Tennessee is the AAS in Paralegal Studies from Nashville State Community College. This program helps students prepare for careers as legal assistants or paralegals. Students gain general legal knowledge, critical thinking skills, and a grounding in ethics. Paralegals work for lawyers, not directly with the public. Students who complete the program can analyze legal cases, manage electronic data, help lawyers prepare for trial, conduct interviews with witnesses and clients, draft legal documents, and perform legal research.

Nashville State Community College offers more than 80 programs that prepare students to enter the job market or continue on to a four-year college or university. The school’s faculty and staff work with students to help them reach their personal and academic goals. NSCC has six campuses in Tennessee: White Bridge, Southeast, Humphreys County, Dickson, Clarksville, and East Davidson.

HIGHLIGHT: Students receive a 150-hour legal internship to prepare them for their future careers.

Program: AAS Paralegal Studies

4. Walters State Community College – Morristown, TN

Next on the list of the best paralegal programs in Tennessee is the AAS in Business—Paralegal Studies from Walters State Community College. This program prepares students to work in corporate law, government agencies, and private law offices under the supervision of a lawyer. Students learn how to do case management, factual investigation, client interviews, document preparation, and legal research in compliance with professional and ethical standards. The program is approved by the American Bar Association and provides students with an understanding of the most important areas of the law.

Walters State Community College was founded in 1970 and provides quality, affordable higher education to the people of East Tennessee. The school offers more than 150 technical certificates and degrees. The school is focused on providing a quality education to its students while taking advantage of technological advancements in education.

HIGHLIGHT: There is also a technical certificate in paralegal studies curriculum.

Program: AAS Paralegal Studies

5. Southwest Tennessee Community College – Memphis, TN

Southwest Tennessee Community College’s AAS in Paralegal Studies is another of the best paralegal programs in Tennessee. The program is approved by the American Bar Association and consists of a rigorous curriculum that students find challenging. The school offers classes at convenient times and provides a skills-based curriculum that helps prepare students for life as paralegal. The paralegal program also provides a foundation for future study in the field of law. Students learn the skills necessary to be successful in their careers as paralegals.

Southwest Tennessee Community College has a long list of values, from student success and learning to academic excellence and diversity. The school places value on each individual student’s worth and has committed staff and faculty members who provide individualized instruction to their students. STCC values participatory management, teamwork, communication, and academic freedom.

HIGHLIGHT: The Pam Cobb Memorial Endowed Paralegal Scholarship Fund provides a full scholarship to one recipient each year.

Program: AAS Paralegal Studies

6. Chattanooga State Community College – Chatanooga, TN

Another of the best paralegal programs in Tennessee is the AAS in Paralegal Studies from Chattanooga State Community College. A legal assistant or paralegal is someone who has received training, education, or work experience in law and works for an attorney or for a corporate or business entity under the supervision of an attorney. Paralegals perform work that has been delegated to them by a lawyer. The AAS in Paralegal Studies from CSCC provides students with the legal training they need to be effective and successful paralegals or legal assistants.

Chattanooga State Community College has a 1:16 faculty to student ratio and a 97% job placement rate. The school offers more than 50 AAS degrees and certificates. Its programs prepare students to enter into the workforce in their chosen careers.

HIGHLIGHT: This program prepares students to enter the workforce or continue their education in the field of law.

Program: AAS Paralegal Studies

7. Roane State Community College – Harriman, TN

Roane State Community College has one of the best paralegal programs in Tennessee. The school offers an Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies that prepares students to work as paralegals or legal assistants. Students improve their communication skills and learn to draft documents, interview clients, and perform legal research. Paralegals work in many types of organizations, including state agencies, title companies, banks, county clerk’s offices, corporations, and law firms. Many of Roane State’s professors are practicing judges or attorneys.

Roane State Community College has campuses in each of the nine counties it serves. In addition, classes are available in more than 30 area high schools. The school has a program that allows high school students to work on their college degrees while they are still attending high school. There are online classes available, and six of its programs are now completely online.

HIGHLIGHT: The job placement rate for this program is 82%.

Program: AAS Paralegal Studies

8. University of Tennessee Chattanooga – Chatanooga, TN

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has a paralegal certificate program, an advanced paralegal certificate, and several paralegals specialized topics that offer certificates in various specializations. The choices are advanced legal research and writing, alternative dispute resolution, legal investigation, employment law, personal injury for paralegals, legal secretary, victim advocacy, and software essentials for the law office. The paralegal certificate course prepares students to work as paralegals in a variety of settings. Students learn the skills they need to succeed as paralegals.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga works together with many partners to provide outstanding programs at every level. The school focuses on the success of its students and on building relationships with the community. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga strives to enrich the community, inspire change, and engage its students.

HIGHLIGHT: The paralegal certificate program and advanced paralegal certificate program are both available online.

Program: Certificate

9. Pellissippi State Community College – Knoxville, TN

As one of the best paralegal programs in Tennessee, the AAS in Paralegal Studies at Pellissippi State Community College provides students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed as paralegals in today’s challenging legal environment. The program is two years in length. Students learn to manage a law office, conduct investigations and research, organize file, and draft legal documents. The program contains a general education core as well as several legal specialty courses that give students the skills they need to work as paralegals.

Pellissippi State Community College began as State Technical Institute at Knoxville in 1974 and has been growing and changing ever since. The school still focuses on technology, both teaching it and using it in teaching. PSCC offers educational opportunities for the residents of Blount, Knox, and the surrounding counties. The school offers continuing education opportunities, certificates, associate degrees for transfer, and associate degrees for direct entry into the workforce.

HIGHLIGHT: This program is approved by the American Bar Association.

Program: AAS Paralegal Studies

10. Columbia State Community College – Columbia, TN

Columbia State Community College is also one of the best paralegal programs in Tennessee. The program uses a practice-oriented curriculum that is designed to help students master the skills they will need to succeed as paralegals. Students learn to help prepare cases for the courtroom, prepare legal documents, do legal research, investigate complex patterns of facts, and interview witnesses. They also learn appellate procedure, legal writing, how to identify relevant authority, and legal terminology.

Columbia State Community College offers more than 900 certificates and degrees and was in the top 150 for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence in 2019 out of more than 1,000 community colleges in the US. The school has an enrollment of more than 6,000 and 91% of CSCC’s students would recommend the school to their family and friends.

HIGHLIGHT: Columbia State Community College has a 100% job placement rate.

Program: AAS Paralegal Studies

How Is the Job Market for Paralegals in Tennessee?

Paralegals can find employment in many different areas in Tennessee. Work is available in the legal field as paralegals, researchers, transcriptionists, and in many other capacities. Applying for a position in a law firm may require that you hire in at an entry-level position and work your way up through the ranks. While this may seem tedious, it will work to your advantage for many reasons. Not only will you earn valuable experience and time on the job, but you will also learn to perform all of the tasks that are needed within the law office. You will be able to work in every position and be able to fill in for others in the office if they are absent for any reason.

Paralegals can also find work in other places as well. They can find work as educators in high schools as well as community colleges and other institutes of higher learning. In addition to working as an educator, they can also find jobs in local government. Court reporters, transcriptionists, legal secretaries for local courts, and even elected positions are all opportunities that certified paralegals can explore. The skills you earn when you enroll in a paralegal degree program can be used in many different ways. The key is finding the type of work you want to do and will truly enjoy. Because a paralegal degree also includes managerial training, you will also be able to look for work as a supervisor or manager in almost any type of office setting.

How Much Do Paralegals Make in Tennessee?

In the state of Tennessee, paralegals can make close to $30,000 to $41,000 per year in an entry-level position. Entry-level positions may pay somewhat less if you have no experience in the field or had below-average grades in school. On the other hand, if you have some form of experience in an office setting and had decent grades, you may actually earn above-average wages starting out. The more experience you bring to the position, the better off you will be in terms of what your responsibilities are and what type of benefits you are offered. This is part of the reason many people who have worked in the field choose to return to school to at least earn a Paralegal certificate. Earning a certificate is the best way to validate all of their years of experience without having to return to school full-time.

Individuals who have several years of experience and are returning to school can expect to receive much more than the average in terms of wages. If you have graduated and already have your degree, you can expect to earn anywhere from $61,000 to $69,000 per year. The higher your degree program, the more you can expect to earn and the more responsibilities you will have from the start. Your ability to earn is equal to both your level of experience and the type of degree programs you have completed. Even graduates who have earned a basic Certification can expect to earn over and above the national average in terms of wages and benefits. With the right education, a graduate can maximize their earning potential and create a very lucrative career for themselves and have the confidence they need to succeed on any level.

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