When you decide that you want to become a paralegal in Minnesota, the first step is to find a school. This process begins with looking into paralegal programs in Minnesota. A person also wants to make sure that any paralegal programs in Minnesota that you are considering are approved by the Minnesota Bar Association. This particular designation means that a school will provide an adequate amount of education. The curriculum covers a broad base of topics that can help a person succeed in the field.
Besides the ABA-approved paralegal programs in Minnesota and ones that give a person enough attention, he or she should also look at the graduation rate of the schools. This can give a person an idea of how well the school performs and if students genuinely enjoy the paralegal programs in Minnesota and have adequate resources to complete the program. These Minnesota paralegal programs are the only ones that associations that provide certifications will let a person have and still qualify to take the test. When a person doesn’t choose Minnesota paralegal programs with this accreditation, he or she won’t be able to take the state or national test to become a paralegal.
How We Ranked the Best Paralegal Programs in Minnesota
For prospective students looking for a Minnesota paralegal program that will work for them, Online Paralegal Programs editors have compiled a list of accredited, reputable schools offering paralegal studies at many different levels. Programs are ranked according to price, reputation, and salary expectations, using current data from IPEDS and Niche.
1. Winona State University
The Legal Studies program at Winona State University is a four-year bachelor’s of science degree in legal studies. It’s an American Bar Association-approved program and the first in the state of Minnesota to gain such recognition and is one of the best paralegal programs in Minnesota. Students can opt into one of three majors, one minor, and one pre-law program in order to prepare themselves for their chosen career. A student who wants to work as a paralegal can engage in the Professional program which also positions them to enter law school if they so desire.
Winona State University is part of Minnesota’s public university system and is the oldest school in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. It’s ranked second on the list of public institutions in the state of Minnesota by U.S. News and World Reports for 2019. It offers over 80 programs on the main campus, features multiple satellite campuses with collegiate programs, and its sports teams compete in the NCAA Division II.
2. University of Wisconsin – Superior
The University of Wisconsin – Superior offers a Paralegal certificate program that enables students to enter the legal field with a solid foundation in paralegal knowledge. The certificate program requires 30 credit hours to complete and has a core curriculum that includes learning about civil procedure, how to perform legal research and writing, and the ethics of being a paralegal. The electives and related classes round out the core classes in order to give a student a full and thorough education in paralegal studies. An internship in a law firm is also included in the certificate program.
The University of Wisconsin-Superior is a public liberal arts university that enrolls about 2,700 students on an annual basis. The school features three field research and educational properties, four regional research centers, and is affiliated with three other research institutes. The school’s athletic teams, known as the Yellowjackets, have an affiliation with the NCAA’s Division III class and compete in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference.
Program: Paralegal Certificate
3. Minnesota State University Moorhead
The Paralegal program at Minnesota State University Moorhead offers a bachelor’s of science in paralegal studies with a choice of emphasis in transactions or litigation. The program is approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) and is one of only five programs approved in the Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota areas. Students learn in both the classroom and in real-life settings through required internships and volunteer services and classes that include learning how to research and write legal documents, understand legal ethics, and gain an understanding of areas of law such as wills, probate, real estate, and more.
Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM) is part of the public university system and offers 76 undergraduate majors and 14 graduate degree programs. The school features 14 programs that are certified by their respective national accreditation bodies. MSUM offers students the opportunity to take classes at collaborating schools and earn credits that apply to a degree issued by MSUM. The school’s athletic teams are known as the Dragons and participate in NCAA Division II in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
4. Hamline University
The Paralegal program at Hamline University is part of the school’s legal studies department and offers four different educational courses in paralegal studies. Students can earn an ABA-approved certificate, a legal studies major, a master’s in the study of law and participate in the law school early admission program and take advantage of the opportunity to compete on a national mock trial team. This rich variety of educational opportunities makes Hamline University’s offerings one of the best paralegal programs in Minnesota. Students can decide to earn a certificate that can help them find employment or graduate with an advanced degree and start a career or go into law school.
Hamline University is a private university that’s affiliated with the United Methodist Church. It was founded in 1854 and is the first school of higher education in the state of Minnesota. The university features schools that include liberal arts, creative writing, business, and education. The school enrolls an average of 3,200 students during each academic year with two-thirds of the students pursuing undergraduate studies and the remaining students participating in graduate studies.
5. St. Cloud Technical & Community College
The Paralegal Basic Law program at St. Cloud Technical & Community College is an associate’s of science degree program that teaches students how to understand the basics of U.S. and state law. Students learn how the court systems work at the state and federal level, have a basic comprehension of civil law, be able to understand administrative, contract, tort, and statutory laws, perform legal research, and have a basic understanding of Westlaw. Students also have the opportunity to participate in a paralegal internship to apply the skills they learn to real-life situations.
St. Cloud Technical & Community College (SCTCC) is a public community college that offers 2-year degree programs in associate’s of the arts, sciences, and applied sciences. The school was originally a vocational-technical college and offers training in transportation technology, manufacturing, and construction. SCTCC offers transfer studies for students seeking to earn a bachelor’s degree at another university.
Program: AS in Paralegal Basic Law
6. Inver Hills Community College
The Paralegal Program at Inver Hills Community College has been approved by the ABA since 1978, making it one of the best paralegal programs in Minnesota. The program itself is highly respected by the legal community due to its in-depth training in the law and legal procedures. Students learn how to handle various topics of the law in the role of a paralegal and get the opportunity to apply their skills through a practical internship in a legal environment. The program offers an associate in science degree and a post-graduate paralegal certificate.
Inver Hills Community College is part of the public university system and offers almost 40 associate degree programs. The school boasts a student body of over 4,000 students per semester that attend classes full and part-time. Inver Hills Community College also offers online classes and transfer degrees.
7. Alexandria Technical & Community College
The Paralegal program at Alexandria Technical & Community College is an associate’s in applied science program that teaches students how to work as part of a legal team and under the supervision of a lawyer. Students learn how to to handle legal processes that include bankruptcy, estates and probate, real estate, handling legal correspondence, legal research and writing, and more. The program also teaches students how to conduct themselves in a business setting. An internship in a law firm is available.
Alexandria Technical College is part of the public university system and offers more than 50 degree and certificate programs. Most programs focus on experiential learning to help students prepare for a variety of careers. The school also offers a transfer degree to help students earn a bachelor’s degree at a four-year educational institution. Alexandria Technical College has the highest rate of graduation for two-year public colleges in the state.
8. Lake Superior College – Duluth Campus
The Paralegal Studies program at Lake Superior College – Duluth Campus features an associate of science degree in paralegal studies. Students learn about the U.S. justice system, legal terminology, how to conduct interviews in depositions, court procedures at the state and federal level, how to conduct investigations, and how to fact-find, write legal documents, and perform legal research. Upon graduation, students will be able to pursue employment in law firms and businesses that hire people trained in legal studies but are not law firms.
Lake Superior College / Duluth Campus is a public community college offering pre-baccalaureate majors for students who want to pursue a bachelor’s degree at a different school. The school offers over 90 programs for a certificate, diploma, or degree in the technical and career fields. It also features a continuing education program and has a customized training program that works in conjunction with local businesses to train students on how to perform their work at entry and advanced levels.
9. North Hennepin Community College
The Paralegal Department at North Hennepin Community College features an American Bar Association (ABA) approved associate’s degree or certificate in paralegal studies. It’s one of a handful of programs that are approved by the ABA and makes it one of the best paralegal programs in Minnesota. The program prepares students to work in the field of law under the supervision of an attorney. Classes are taught by faculty who have years of experience working in the field of law. Students have the opportunity to engage in internships that help them learn about the role of a paralegal in a real-life setting and apply their education to their daily duties.
North Hennepin Community College is part of the Minnesota public community college system. It offers certificates, associate’s, and bachelor’s degrees to students who are seeking to start their career or looking to add to their existing skillset. The school has 13 bachelor’s degree programs that are offered through collaboration with some Minnesota universities.
10. Rasmussen College
The Paralegal program at Rasmussen College is part of the school of Justice Studies. The college offers a certificate and associate’s degree program, both of which are offered online only. Students learn how to perform as a paralegal at the entry-level or at the advanced level with the in-depth education provided by the associate’s degree. Classes include learning transferable skills that are valued by employers as well as handling the latest in legal challenges such as cryptocurrency. Students can also take tests that can earn them credit for their existing knowledge.
Rasmussen College is a private and for-profit college that has multiple campuses located in Minnesota. The school was founded in 1920 by Walter Rasmussen who felt that there was a need for skilled professionals that wasn’t being fulfilled by colleges and universities. Rasmussen College consists of seven schools and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accreditor that serves Minnesota.
How Do I Choose a Paralegal Program in Minnesota?
A person should also look into the student-to-instructor ratio of Minnesota paralegal programs. When a school has a smaller gap between the two numbers, he or she will be able to have more individualized attention. If he or she has any problems or questions throughout one of these Minnesota paralegal programs, he or she will be able to get the attention he or she needs to succeed in the program.
After a person finds ABA-approved paralegal programs in Minnesota, he or she should at student reviews. Student reviews from these paralegal programs can give a person an idea of what other students went through during their program, and if they felt like the school adequately prepared them.
It’s also important for a person to make sure that the school offers the education level he or she needs or wants. Some schools don’t offer all three while others do. If a person doesn’t want to transfer schools at any given time, he or she may want to look at a school that offers both associate’s and bachelor’s degrees.
How Is the Job Market for Paralegals in Minnesota?
Before a person decides that this is the profession for him or her, he or she may want to look at the job market first before spending the time and money to earn a certificate or degree in paralegal studies.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 5,580 Minnesota paralegal jobs in the state. This is a high number compared to many other states. A person can find jobs through the government or can work in a law firm. Even grant services hire paralegals in the state. A person will be able to find paralegal jobs in Minneapolis Minnesota as well as other major cities in the state. Even the smaller towns are in need of paralegals, but the number varies based on the number of law firms and other agencies that hire paralegals. A person can find entry-level paralegals in Minnesota throughout the state. In addition to entry-level paralegal jobs in Minnesota, a person can find mid-level jobs that require a great deal of experience.
Fortunately, Minnesota paralegal jobs are expected to grow throughout the years, just like the rest of the country. When considering paralegal jobs in Minnesota, he or she should consider the fact that jobs, in general, are expected to increase throughout the country, including the number of paralegal jobs in Minnesota and even paralegal jobs in Minneapolis Minnesota. As noted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of jobs for paralegals throughout the country is expected to grow by 10 percent from 2019 until 2029. This rate is faster than average when a person compares the growth rate of other types of jobs. Fortunately, jobs in law will also be relevant, so even after that time, jobs will be there.
How Much Do Paralegals Make in Minnesota?
When a person wants to become a paralegal, he or she may wonder how much the earning potential is with this career before he or she invests time and money. Fortunately, Minnesota is known for a high salary for paralegals. Specifically, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the average paralegal salary in Minnesota is $57,390. The paralegal salaries in Minnesota are actually higher than the national average. The national average is $55,020 for paralegals. This is the same as $26.45. The paralegal salary in Minnesota is higher, and a person can even make more than that if he or she specializes in an area of paralegal studies. The paralegal salary in Minnesota for these jobs is even higher. Certain firms and associations may pay even more than this.
A person should also take into consideration that paralegal salaries in Minnesota may pay more if they’re with the government. Management companies also tend to offer paralegal salaries in Minnesota that are higher than average.