If you are looking for a good career with a promising future, look no further than the paralegal profession. Not only does Career Cast rank paralegal’s as one of the top 50 jobs, the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics is forecasting healthy growth of about 18% through 2020. With your paralegal degree, you can expect to earn a median salary of about $47,000, but those with special skills can expect much more, with top earners averaging more than $75,000.
How can someone get those top skills? One way is through advanced training at the masters level. Top master’s paralegal studies programs are designed to give the entry-level job applicant a ‘leg up’ on their competition. Not only does this mean they are more marketable to employers, but enhanced training will provide benefits throughout the course of their career.
We’ve looked at the graduate school rankings and found seven that qualify as ‘the best’. How did we select them? We looked at the following criteria:
- The school should have a first-class reputation, including quality professors and instructors
- Superior curriculum
- Excellent facilities, services and student resources
Here are our graduate school rankings:
The George Washington University
George Washington University is one of the most prestigious schools in the country. Professors who teach here are all outstanding lawyers, with academic expertise. Students can choose from the focus their studies on one of the following concentrations: Government Law, Intellectual Property Law, International Law and Health Care Corporate Compliance.
As a student on GWU’s campus, you have access to the University’s Law School and Law School Library. Additionally, paralegal students have access to campus legal clinics alongside the school’s law professors and other law students. Finally, GWU’s program is fully accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).
Texas State University
As the fifth largest university in Texas, Texas State University is positioned to provide students with a competitive and comprehensive education. Faculty are skilled and experienced lawyers, who know that successful paralegals need to be responsive to industry changes throughout the field. Students in this program graduate with a Master’s of the Arts with a Major in Legal Studies. Students can choose an academic track with allows them to develop a specialty in the following areas: Alternative Dispute Resolution, Environmental Law and Legal Administration. Most students interested in the master’s option, take the paralegal program concurrently, since the MA only requires 4 additional semester hours.
The university has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the paralegal program is ABA approved.
Webster University’s Master’s Degree in Legal Studies
The Webster University matches reputation with experience. Students are taught by top-notch lawyers and judges who are established professionals in the field. When it comes time to help a student land that all important internship or first job, they put those practical connections and personal network to good use.
Webster’s emphasizes a broad based curriculum, designed to give the student a comprehensive educational experience. Students who graduate this program will be ready to preform in just about any legal environment. Some students even choose to go on to law school. The master’s degree is awarded in legal studies, with a concurrent paralegal certificate. Webster’s, located in 22 different states and 7 different countries, is known for a diverse student body. The global capability allows students to participate in unique internships, including one in the Netherlands. Students who participate in this 1-4 week study program find themselves nearby to the seat of international law: The Hague.
Finally, Webster University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (a commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools) and the paralegal programs have been approved by the American Bar Association.
With a main campus in sunny Naples, Florida, Hodges University is a school growing by leaps and bounds. Currently there are five other South Florida sites (Forth Myers, Immokalee, Florida Keys, South Florida Sate College and Pasco-Hernando Community College). All faculty at Hodges are licensed lawyers or professionals with a master’s degree.
Hodges Students with a prestigious Master’s of Legal Studies (MLS) degree, which focuses on both litigation preparation and conflict resolution. If you are a returning student or a working adult, Hodges is dedicated to meeting your needs: the MLS Program can be obtained either online or through traditional face-to-face classes on campus.
Finally, Hodges is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Roosevelt University offers students a thriving urban campus, ranked #81 in the Midwest by US News and World Report. Faculty include expert attorneys and experienced paralegals, with practical skill and professional expertise in the field. The school prides itself as a cutting edge program, ready to prepare students to identify and meet new challenges in the field. Students who want to be accepted into the program must have already completed an undergraduate degree since this program is a post-baccalaureate certificate program. Roosevelt caters to student about to join or already in the job market, who want to return to school to further their careers. Full-time students can graduate in just 4.5 months, while part-time students can elect a Saturday/Online option. And finally, students who opt to take classes at the main Chicago campus, will find that they are members of a rich and thriving multi-cultural urban environment.
The institution is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and is ABA approved.
Identified as the best University in Minnesota, Hamlin is ranked ninth in the Midwest Region by US News and World Report. Students at Hamlin have access to a full research law library and an extensive alumni support system throughout the area. Faculty are skilled lawyers and paralegals, with diverse areas of legal interest. The program is a post baccalaureate certificate, designed for students who want to enhance their education with paralegal expertise. Classes are offered in Saint Paul and in St. Louis Park. Both daytime and evening classes are available.
The academic life of Hamlin is challenging and students participating in campus life will find many opportunities to develop personally and professionally. Student life is active, with over 70 clubs and 19 intercollegiate sports that participate in the NCAA.
Hamlin University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Associations of Colleges and Schools and is ABA approved.
Montclair State University
Montclair State University, New Jersey’s second largest school, is a selective institution and one of the best public schools throughout the state. Students in the program are trained by established professors and highly competant lawyers with professional experience. Graduates from the program are offered a Paralegal Studies, Post-Baccalaureate Certificate so they must already possess their bachelor’s degree prior to admittance to the program. Montclair’s academic program is designed to balance legal fundamentals with practical experience, in order to produce students able to compete in any legal environment.
Montclair offers a vibrant student life with 6 different colleges and schools, 68 student organizations and 17 different team sports that play NCAA division III athletics vibrant campus life. In addition, students can access the greater New York metropolis by on campus transit, making the school easily accessible throughout the tri-state area.
Finally, it is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and is ABA approved.
Keep in mind that, whatever program you choose, you will be planning not just for your first job, but for your whole career. You will want to graduate from a paralegal degree program that is able to best represent you to the market place 10 or 20 years into the future. Students that plan ahead, are thoughtful about their future and listen to the job market, will be better positioned for the whole trajectory of their career. Those students with advanced degrees will always be prepared to meet future challenges, wherever their career happens to lead.