Many students are interested in beginning a profession in law, but are discouraged by not having enough time, money, or opportunity to attend law school. For those unable to become practicing attorneys, there is another exciting career path in law – paralegal. Paralegals are a vital member of the support system that help licensed attorneys conduct research, prepare arguments, write reports, draft contracts, or organize important client information. Online paralegal training programs are offered by a wide variety of colleges and universities nationwide, which enable students the convenience of studying at their own pace within an already busy schedule. The following are the top online Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies degree programs that help students get on the right track to a fascinating and rewarding career in law.
1. Liberty University
Liberty University is well-known for being a pioneer in distance education for decades. As part of the world’s largest private, non-profit Christian university, more than 80,000 students around the entire globe receive high-quality education towards more than 160 online degrees. Liberty University is consistently ranked among the best online colleges by the Online Education Database due to its incredibly high graduation and retention rates. The university also holds the highest accreditation possible, being accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
The Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies degree is no exception to this rule. The challenging 120 total credit hours within the program’s curriculum equip students with all of the practical skills and knowledge to succeed in this career. The curriculum is focused on developing competency in foundations of law, rhetoric, contemporary worldviews, and ethical dilemmas. The practical course topics train students to also complete paralegal tasks, including writing depositions, filing, performing a title search, and effective critical thinking and problem solving skills.
2. Eastern Kentucky University
Nationally recognized for providing higher education opportunities for more than a century, Eastern Kentucky University is a rural brick-and-mortar public institution in Richmond, Kentucky. The university is currently ranked at number 61 for the best colleges in the South, and is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Eastern Kentucky University awards associate, baccalaureate, masters, and even doctorate degrees throughout its wide variety of exceptional degree programs on-campus and online.
Eastern Kentucky University offers students an American Bar Association approved Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Science program for extensive experience highlighting all of the essential skills in the profession. Students are provided a unique opportunity to learn from the experts, since the all faculty members hold a J.D. or Ph.D. and are practicing attorneys, judges, or elected officials. While the majority of the coursework can be completed online from anywhere nationwide, it is important to note that the school requires a minimum of 10 credit hours to be completed on-campus, as well as a valuable internship experience.
3. Peirce College
Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Peirce College is currently ranked at number 52 for the list of best online colleges by the U.S. News and World Report. The college allows students a convenient pathway to earning an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, either online or on-campus in Philadelphia. Along with its flexibility, Peirce College provides low private institution tuition rates, generous financial aid packages, a wealth of student services, and accelerated credit courses.
Recognized by employers as the premier credential in the field, the Peirce Paralegal Studies degree places graduates at unique position to gain career success in law firms, government agencies, corporate offices, or businesses. The program offers a vibrant student association for networking, ties to the legal community for job placement, a dedicated law practicing faculty, and strong accelerated courses. Students also have the freedom to choose coursework that stimulates their interests, including family law, real estate, personal injury, health care, criminal law, or many more specialty areas.
4. University of Great Falls
Currently ranked as the 24th best college in the West, University of Great Falls is a private Catholic institution that is continually recognized for its academic excellence and leadership. Within the liberal arts education, the University of Great Falls offers an online bachelors degree in paralegal studies to prepare students for challenging legal positions. The core courses of the curriculum provide an equal balance of legal theory and practical application, while the elective options enable students to specialize in an area of expertise. Students also gain real-world experience in a law firm, corporation, or judge’s office in their local area as an internship.
5. Pennsylvania College of Technology
An affiliate of the Pennsylvania State University, the Pennsylvania College of Technology has established a national reputation for education for exceptional hands-on experiential learning and career development. The public institution is currently ranked at number 33 for the best colleges in the North. As the name suggests, the college offers a wide array of academic programs at the certificate, associate, and baccalaureate levels with an emphasis on technology.
The Bachelor of Science in Legal Assistant and Paralegal Studies program offered by the Pennsylvania College of Technology is a two-plus-two major approved by the American Bar Association. The unique opportunity enables students with an associate’s degree in any legal studies to continue further education toward the bachelor’s degree online. Therefore, it is expected that students will carry over a minimum of 60 credits and be awarded junior-level status immediately. Students further their skills in human relations, legal ethical issues, administration procedures, and effective legal research strategies.
6. Hampton University
Hampton University is a private institution that is located on the eastern edge of Virginia. Through its strong emphasis on liberal arts and science, the university is well-known for promoting higher education learning to positions of leadership. Currently ranked as the 27th best university in the South, students of this nationally recognized school can choose from nearly 70 different undergraduate degrees and an additional 25 graduate degrees. Unlike the others listed in this article, Hampton provides a unique Bachelor of Arts in Paralegal Studies. The curriculum of this program focuses on verbal and written communication skills, analytical thinking, professional interaction, and enhanced understanding of legal procedures through internships.
7. Globe University
Globe University, or the Minnesota School of Business, provides career-focused higher education opportunities to prepare students for rewarding employment positions after graduation. The university has served students from the Greater Minnesota region and surrounding states for more than 130 years of academic excellence. Globe University is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, and is nationally recognized by the United States Department of Education.
One of the most recognized and highly respected programs offered by this university is the Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies. The online bachelors degree program prepares students for rewarding paralegal careers on their own schedule. With 24/7 access to course assignments and lectures, perfect attendance is only a click of the mouse away. Enrolled students advance their knowledge of interviewing, research, litigation, investigation, legal writing, and law office management. Students can also choose specialty electives in cyber forensics, accounting, medical terminology, and other fascinating topics.
8. Kaplan University
Kaplan University, as part of the for-profit Kaplan Higher Education Corporation, is an institution for higher education that provides innovative undergraduate and graduate degrees. It is considered one of the leading providers of lifelong education in the world and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Through its online format, students can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies degree. Experienced faculty within the legal field offers support to build a strong foundation in a curriculum focused on legal ethics, litigation preparation, document supervision, and legal research. Graduates from the program go on to attain high-level employment in private law firms, corporate law departments, or state/federal agencies.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 256,000 jobs in the United States alone for trained paralegals, while this number is expected to grow at a faster than average rate of 18 percent between 2010 and 2020. Although some law firms accept job candidates that possess an associate’s degree, entry-level employment as a paralegal attracts many applicants. Furthering education with an online bachelors degree provides individuals with increased marketability and allure to future employers to stand out against competition. These top online Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies degree programs are the best in terms of flexibility, ranking, faculty credentials, affordability, accreditation, curriculum, job placement rates, and student support services.