The cost to get a paralegal degree depends on some factors that you can control and on others that are dictated by the school that you choose to attend. Paralegal schools set prices for tuition that is usually based on the number of credit hours that are required, and each course typically produces three college credits.
The number of credits that you need depends on the type of degree that you want to earn. A two year degree or a certificate is usually less expensive than a four year degree because they require a smaller number of credits. Residency at an on campus school increases its cost while an online degree avoids that expense. On campus schools tend to have greater total expenses due to the cost of living away from home. Finding the cost of getting a paralegal degree requires you to decide on these preferences:
- What part of the country do you prefer?
- Do you want a certificate, a two year program or a four year program?
- Is an on campus program your choice or is an online program better for you?
- Do you want to attend a big name school in a large city or does something less exclusive meet your needs?
- Do you have a place to live while you go to school?
- Do you plan to work while you study?
Finding the total cost depends on your answers to questions that directly affect your financial obligations.
Attending School in the Middle of the Country
In Kansas, the Johnson County Community College prepares students to work in law firms, legal departments, banks, government agencies and real estate offices. The curriculum requires you to take at least 18 hours of courses that specialize in the legal area, and you need to attend four semesters to earn 65 credit hours. Tuition is $2,880 in addition to an estimated $9,976 for room and board off campus and $1,680 for books.
Studying in the South
The Kennesaw State University in Georgia offers a program that requires you to take thirteen courses for a fee of $229 each. You are allowed to pay as you progress through the program so that you do not have to pay the entire amount of $2977 at one time. The cost of books for your 13 courses is estimated at an additional $1,100.
Choosing the West Coast
The University of California offers an extension program with an estimated tuition of $6,995 plus $1,000 for textbooks and course materials. The U.S. Department of Education requires educational institutions to tell you about financial aid programs that may help defray costs.
Attending School in the Northeast
Boston College requires full payment of $3,495 tuition one week before classes start so that instructors have time to prepare materials for the course. The tuition entitles you to an opportunity to earn a certificate in paralegal studies.
Studying at an Online School
Kaplan University offers online access to training that can let you earn an Associate of Applied Science in your chosen field of paralegal studies. The degree requires 90 credit hours at a cost of $371 each. The school has a variety of ways to help you limit your expenses through grants and tuition reduction programs.
Attending college to get training in paralegal studies is an investment in your personal potential that remains with you for a lifetime. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an increase of 18 percent in job opportunities for paralegals.