Michigan is one of the best states in the country to become a paralegal, especially when it comes to quality paralegal degree programs. In order to choose the best paralegal program, you need to make a few important decisions. You will need to choose between a classroom-based program or an online degree program. An online degree program allows you the freedom to study when it is best for you. This works out well if you are already employed and have to work around an already busy schedule.
Many law firms will help their employees return to school and earn their paralegal degrees if they commit to working for them for a specific period of time. Graduates who are already employed can look forward to new opportunities for advancement if they continue to try and further their education. Working adults who are already in legal secretarial positions, or who want to make a career change, can find the right program to get them into a paralegal career.
How We Ranked the Best Paralegal Programs in Michigan
The editors at Online Paralegal Programs feature only accredited, trusted schools for their rankings of the best Michigan paralegal programs. Schools are ranked here according to data from IPEDS and Niche, including tuition cost, student reviews, and potential salary.
1. Grand Valley State University
The paralegal studies program at Grand Valley State University is one of the best paralegal programs in Michigan. The school offers a B.A./B.S. in legal studies and a paralegal certificate program. Students who want to earn a bachelor of arts have to fulfill a requirement of third-semester proficiency in a foreign language while the bachelor of science requires courses in statistics and research methods. The undergraduate and certificate programs are approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). A minor in legal studies is available but is not approved by the ABA.
Grand Valley State University (GVSU) is a public liberal arts university located near Grand Rapids, MI. It’s one of the largest universities in the United States and has around 25,000 students on its campus during an average school year. The school offers over 200 fields of study that consist of 82 undergraduate programs, 36 graduate programs, and 74 graduate emphasis and certificate programs. GVSU’s 19 sports teams are known as the Lakers and compete in the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Program: Bachelor of Arts | Legal Studies
Bachelor of Science | Legal Studies
Minor | Legal Studies
Legal Education Admission Program (LEAP) | Legal Studies
Program | Pre-Law
2. Northern Michigan University
Northern Michigan University’s paralegal program offers a post-baccalaureate certificate, an associate of applied science, a pre-law minor, and a bachelor of arts in paralegal studies. The variety of paralegal programs available at Northern Michigan University makes it one of the best paralegal programs in Michigan. All programs are designed to be flexible and accommodate the schedules of working students. Each level of education is intended to provide students with the type of education they’re looking for whether it’s learning the basics to finding out if being a paralegal is a viable career to earning a bachelor’s degree in preparation for law school.
Northern Michigan University is part of the Michigan state public university system. It has an average enrollment of 8,000 students and is the largest university in the Upper Peninsula. The school offers 180 undergraduate and graduate degree programs and has five academic divisions that include arts and science, business, research, health sciences, and academic information services. The athletics program is known as the Wildcats and competes in the NCAA’s Division II Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Program: Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal
Bachelor of Arts | Paralegal
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Paralegal
3. Eastern Michigan University
The Paralegal Studies program at Eastern Michigan University features a bachelor’s of science in paralegal (legal assisting) studies and a second bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies. The program is approved by the American Bar Association and is one of the best paralegal programs in Michigan in terms of quality of education and high rate of employment for graduates. Students gain skills that include proficiency in legal research, analysis, and writing, the ability to understand the basics of various areas of law, learn court rules and procedures, understand contract law and transactions, and interview clients for depositions.
Eastern Michigan University (EMU) is a public research university and has seven schools that include arts and sciences, businesses, health and human services, education, technology, honors, and graduate. EMU has over 200 majors and minors at the undergraduate level, over 170 graduate programs, and offers bachelor’s, master’s, specialist’s, and doctorate degrees. The athletics program at EMU is known as the Eagles and participates in the NCAA Division I level.
Program: Bachelor of Science | Paralegal (Legal Assisting) Studies
Second Bachelor’s Degree| Paralegal Studies
4. Madonna University
The Paralegal Studies program at Madonna University offers an associate of science, bachelor of science, and a post-baccalaureate certificate. Students who have a bachelor’s of science in nursing can take paralegal classes in order to become nurse paralegals. The variety of degree offerings makes the program one of the best paralegal programs in Michigan. Students can earn the certificate in under a year or take the four-year bachelor’s degree that opens up the opportunity to attend law school. Some of the topics offered include learning about legal research on the internet, domestic relations, law office economics and technology, legal research and writing, and more.
Madonna University is a private Catholic university that’s operated by the Felician Sisters. The university offers over 100 undergraduate majors, 35 master’s programs, and one doctorate in nursing practice. Schools and colleges at the university include arts and humanities, education, nursing and health, natural and social sciences, graduate school, and business. The university’s athletic teams are known as the Crusaders and compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
Program: Bachelor of Science | Paralegal Studies
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Paralegal Studies
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Nurse Paralegal
5. Oakland University
The Paralegal Certificate program at Oakland University is a one-year, non-credit program offered in the evenings. The program is approved by the ABA and is one of the first programs of its kind in Michigan. The goal of the program is to introduce students to legal studies with an emphasis on applying the skills in a real-world setting no matter if it’s a law firm or professional office. Classes are taught by lawyers, judges, and other qualified professionals who are familiar with the role of the paralegal in the modern world.
Oakland University (OU) is a public research university and the second-largest university in the Detroit Metropolitan Area. It offers 132 bachelor’s degree programs and 138 graduate certificates, master’s degrees and doctoral degree programs. The main colleges and schools at the university include arts and sciences, engineering and computer science, education and human services, business administration, health sciences, nursing, and medicine. The school also has an honors college and overseas study programs.
6. Davenport University
Davenport University offers a post-baccalaureate certificate in paralegal studies, an associate of science in paralegal studies, and a bachelor of science in paralegal studies through its Business school. The program is approved by the ABA and is the only school offering an associate of science in legal studies in western Michigan. It’s one of the best paralegal programs in Michigan when it comes to the quality of education, internship opportunities, and innovative curriculum that provides the opportunity to practice paralegal skills in a classroom setting.
Davenport University (DU) is a private non-profit university that features campuses throughout the state of Michigan and has around 7,500 enrolled students. It offers associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s degrees, diplomas, and post-graduate certifications. DU has over 50 areas of study and five colleges that include arts and sciences, health professions, technology, urban education, and business.
Program: Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies
Bachelor of Science | Paralegal Studies
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Paralegal Studies
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Paralegal Studies (online)
7. Delta College
The Legal Support Professional program at Delta College offers an associate in business studies degree and an advanced certificate in law office foundation or law office specialist. The associate’s degree program is eligible for transfer to Eastern Michigan University for a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies. Students who take the paralegal certificate or degree program will learn how to support attorneys and other legal professionals. They will also be qualified to work as court clerks, reporters, title research, and more.
Delta College is part of the community college system and has an average student body of 15,000 students per academic year. The school offers certificate and associate’s degree programs as well as learning centers for continuing education. The school owns and operates the PBS station for the region and the NPR radio station and is known as Delta College Quality Public Broadcasting. The school’s athletic teams, known as the Pioneers, participate in the NJCAA and MCCAA conferences.
Program: Associate in Business Studies | Legal Support Professional
Advanced Certificate | Legal Support Professional: Law Office Foundation
Advanced Certificate | Legal Support Professional: Law Office Specialist
8. Ferris State University
The Legal Studies program at Ferris State University is an associate in applied science degree and approved by the ABA. It gives students the education they need to work as a paralegal, legal assistant, court assistant, or in jobs that require legal skills as part of the job description. Class offerings include an introduction to various areas of law, understanding legal research, criminal and civil procedure, and probate and estate planning. Students have access to a physical legal library and computerized legal research databases.
Ferris State University is a public research university and is the ninth-largest university in the state of Michigan. The school has a main campus and 19 off-campus locations throughout the state and an online schooling option. It offers 170 educational programs, multiple schools and colleges, certificate programs, and degrees starting at the associate’s level and going all the way to doctorate degrees.
Program: Associate of Arts | Pre-Law
Associate of Applied Science | Legal Studies
9. Henry Ford College
The Paralegal Studies program at Henry Ford College offers an associate in business/paralegal studies degree that’s approved by the ABA. The program is designed to provide students a foundation in legal knowledge and necessary skills in order to succeed as a paralegal. Students learn how to demonstrate knowledge of the law in multiple areas of practice, prepare legal documents, understand the role of a paralegal in a legal setting, and perform legal research and writing.
Henry Ford College (HFC) offers certificate and associate degree programs as well as a bachelor’s in Culinary Arts and Hospitality. Programs provided by the college include culinary arts, business, fine arts, liberal arts, health science, and skilled trade programs. The School of Business, Entrepreneurship, and Professional Development provides training for skilled industrial occupations at the entry level and is a legacy of the Henry Ford Trade School.
10. Oakland Community College
The Paralegal program at Oakland Community College offers an associate of applied science and post-baccalaureate certificate. The goal of the program is to prepare students to work in the legal profession and perform their duties under the supervision of an attorney. Graduates of either program will have a comprehension of the various areas of law, know how to handle legal research and writing, and the ethics of working in the law. An internship is a recommended elective for both the associate’s degree and certificate programs.
Oakland Community College (OCC) is part of the public college and university system and has an average enrollment of 30,000 students spread out over five different campuses. OCC offers 57 different associate degree programs and 41 certificate programs.
11. Lansing Community College
The Paralegal program at Lansing Community College is approved by the ABA and features an associate in business in paralegal studies and a post-bachelor certificate. The program can be attended online, in person, or in a hybrid format. The degree program at Lansing Community College offers an in-depth education on legal topics and general basic education. The certificate program is designed for graduate students who want to become paralegals and takes about a year to complete.
Lansing Community College (LCC) is part of the public community college system and offers 230 associate degrees and certificates. It serves over 23,000 students every year and features continuing education and workforce development programs. The athletics program at LCC consists of nine intercollegiate teams that participate in the Michigan Community College Athletic Association.
12. Macomb Community College
The Paralegal program at Macomb Community College offers an associate of applied science degree in paralegal studies upon completion. It’s approved by the ABA which means students get a paralegal education that meets the standards of the legal industry and the expectations of the public. Students learn how to handle bankruptcy petition filings, proceedings under administration agencies, criminal law and its procedures, handling electronic evidence and discovery, and more. Credits earned from Macomb Community College can be transferred to a variety of Michigan colleges and universities.
Macomb Community College (MCC) is part of the public college and university system. It offers two-year degrees in the arts, sciences, applied science, business administration, and general studies. The school offers almost 200 degree and certificate programs as well as training for emergency responders. The technical education center at MCC trains students in the latest industrial technologies to help businesses maintain a competitive edge.
13. North Central Michigan College
The Legal Assistant program at North Central Michigan College is an associate’s of applied science degree that trains students to work in a variety of environments including law firms and corporate offices. Classes in the program help a student learn about the various aspects of law, understand civil procedure and rules of evidence, how to research for and write legal documents, and how to prepare for litigation.
North Central Michigan College is part of the public community college system and offers about 24 programs and 40 certificate programs. It offers two-year associate degrees in the arts and science fields. Credits earned at the school can be transferred to upper-division colleges and universities. The school offers cutting-edge career programs that give students the opportunity to enter into a sustainable career.
14. Washtenaw Community College
The Paralegal Studies/Pre-Law program at Washtenaw Community College offers students an associate in arts with the option to transfer to Eastern Michigan University to earn a bachelor’s in paralegal studies. The degree is designed to act as the first two years of a four-year degree or stand on its own. Students who decide to go into the career field after earning their associates will work under the supervision of an attorney and assist with legal research, court filings, depositions, creating legal documents, and more. A student who decides to earn their bachelor’s degree can also continue on to earn a Juris Doctorate.
Washtenaw Community College (WCC) is part of the public college and university system. It enrolls over 20,000 students on an annual basis and draws students from over 100 countries. WCC offers almost 140 credit programs in experiential fields, and STEM fields, and features training partnerships with local and national businesses. It also has continuing education programs for working adults.
15. Wayne County Community College District
The paralegal technology associate of applied science from Wayne County Community College District (WCCCD) focuses on teaching students how to become paralegals, legal aides or legal assistants. Students learn how to handle legal research and writing, interview people involved in a lawsuit, gain insight into the various areas of law, ethics as a paralegal, and how to create legal documents on behalf of attorneys and clients. The paralegal program at WCCCD is one of the best paralegal programs in Michigan in terms of the quality and depth of the education provided to students.
WCCCD is a public community college located in and around Detroit, Michigan. The school was founded in 1967 and offers certificate and associate degree programs. Course offerings at WCCCD focus on teaching technical skills and continuing education for adults. The educational offerings reflect the fact that WCCCD is an institution that’s looking to the future of technical jobs and offers courses with current topics and utilize recent technology so students can gain a competitive edge in their field.
How Do I Choose a Paralegal Program in Michigan?
One key factor to consider is affordability. Community colleges will often be somewhat cheaper than larger colleges and universities. If you do choose to attend a larger university, you can defray part of the cost by applying for grants or scholarships. Grants and scholarships are awarded as gifts and not meant to be paid back. Some are for general studies, while others are for a specific degree program. If you plan on entering into a paralegal degree program, you will want to look for grants and scholarships that fall into that particular field of study. It’s important to apply for as many scholarships as possible. You may only be chosen for one so it’s important to apply for a couple of backup options.
Another factor in choosing the best paralegal program in Michigan has to do with the school’s reputation for providing quality education. Read reviews and look at what past graduates say about their alma mater. Look for a degree program that includes the option to study for the state paralegal exam. Being able to sit for the exam is essential if you plan on living and working in the state of Michigan.
What is the Job Market for Paralegals in Michigan?
The job market for paralegals in Grand Rapids, Lansing, Detroit, and Ann Arbor is fairly stable. Law firms and legal groups are always looking for new paralegals who are interested in finding their way through the legal system. While paralegals are commonly thought to only work in law firms, this is far from the truth. It is true, however, that law firms do try to find the brightest and most driven paralegals available in the job market, but they are not the only places where qualified paralegals can build lucrative careers. Even large corporations often try to hire paralegals to assist in their legal departments.
Other potential areas of employment for paralegals are within the courts at the city, state, and federal levels. Paralegals can find an abundance of entry-level positions within the courts and judicial offices of local governments. With the right degree program, graduates will actually have everything they need to continue moving up through the ranks, taking on more responsibilities, and earning a much higher wage than someone who is just starting out.
How Much Do Paralegals Make in Michigan?
In the state of Michigan, the salary range for paralegals is quite wide. Entry-level positions with very little experience can offer salaries as low as $26,000 per year. This is normally with very little experience and little to no education. If a person has recently earned a paralegal degree or is currently enrolled in a quality degree program, their salary may be somewhat higher, but it will take time to earn a significantly higher wage. Education and experience go hand in hand when it comes to increasing your earning potential and solidifying your foundation as a professional in your field. While education is a must, it’s also beneficial to have some sort of experience to rely on.
As a graduate begins to earn experience, they may actually be given opportunities to work in specific areas. This type of hands-on learning allows them to gain valuable experience that they may not be able to get in a classroom. Just as there are different types of law, there are different roles that a paralegal can fill within a law firm. Being able to work in each of these areas gives the paralegal a chance to broaden their horizons and create a career that they can be proud of.
If a paralegal has been working in the legal field for several years and have continually returned to school to advance their education, they may be able to earn as much as $72,000 per year. Graduates who reach this level are often quite experienced in many different legal areas of expertise. Being able to work in almost any capacity within the legal field proves one’s versatility and will increase their opportunities for advancement as one continue to move forward.