Top 10 Paralegal Programs in Washington DC for 2020

If you’re searching for paralegal jobs in Washington DC, you’re making a smart move. Paralegal jobs in Washington DC are plentiful, whether you’re looking for entry-level paralegal jobs in Washington DC or more advanced positions. Many people who get their start as attorneys eventually make a foray into politics, making Washington DC a hotspot for paralegals who are educated and ready to assist attorneys. 

Whether you are already a paralegal without the credentials you would like, or a working adult looking for a career change, there are many online educational opportunities in Washington DC for whatever your level. Certificates, associate’s degrees, and even bachelor’s degrees in legal studies and paralegal are at your fingertips. 

How We Ranked the Best Paralegal Programs in Washington DC

Online Paralegal Programs editors began by researching online and hybrid paralegal programs in the Washington DC metropolitan area. From there, we ranked programs according to the institution’s cost, student satisfaction, and potential salary, from IPEDS and Niche data.

1. Catholic University of America

The Catholic University of America’s (CUA) Metropolitan School of Professional Studies offers an Associate of Arts (AA) degree in Paralegal Studies that can be completed entirely online. As one of the most excellent paralegal programs in Washington DC,  the Catholic University of America’s AA degree can generally be finished in two years or less over a total of five semesters. Students attending CUA’s paralegal program can select from a general track or a litigation track. Each track dictates the required electives and the legal internship required for graduation. 

The Catholic University of America was established in 1887. The school’s 175+ acre urban campus is home to nearly 6,000 students. The Catholic University of America is recognized among the best and most affordable schools in the nation. The Catholic University of America is recognized as a pontifical university; it holds the distinction of being the only university founded by Catholic Bishops in the US.

Program: Paralegal Studies, AS

Format: Online

2. George Washington University

George Washington University’s College of Professional Studies offers a Master of Profession Studies (MPS) graduate certificate in Paralegal Studies that is recognized as one of the only credit-bearing paralegal programs in Washington DC. GWU’s MPS in paralegal studies is available entirely online through George Washington University’s distance learning platform. Coursework for GWU’s graduate certificate in paralegal studies includes the practical application of legal theories, ethics, communication, and analysis. Credit earned through this certificate program may be applied to other programs and certificates offered by the school. Classes include legal research, contracts, legal writing, intellectual law, plus an independent research project.

George Washington University was established in 1821. The school’s name honors George Washington, the first president who advocated during his tenure for a national institution of higher education. The student enrollment of GWU exceeds 27,000 students. George Washington University holds the distinction of being chartered by an act of congress.

Program: Paralegal Studies Graduate Certificate

Format: Online

3. American University

American University’s Department of Justice, Law, and Criminology offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree program in Legal Studies that is available 100% online through the school’s cutting-edge distance learning platform. American University’s baccalaureate legal studies require degree candidates to complete 120 credit units, of which 36 credit units must be dedicated to the student’s major. Students enrolled in American University’s paralegal programs in Washington DC must complete an internship that offers upwards of twelve credit units. Many degree candidates choose to study abroad in Australia, England, Denmark, Canada, and New Zealand, among others, between the student’s sophomore and senior years.

American University was established in 1893. The school’s urban campus serves more than 14,000 students studying for degrees offered by AU’s eight colleges/schools and built upon the site of a former fort in the city’s northwest district. American University is affiliated with the Methodist Church, although religious affiliation has no basis for admission criteria.

Program: Legal Studies, BA

Format: Online

4. Anne Arundel Community College

Anne Arundel Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Paralegal Studies that is available entirely through AAAC’s distance learning platform. Anne Arundel Community College is one of the few paralegal programs in Washington DC with three specialty tracks – the Business Track, The General Practice Track, and the Litigation Track. Graduates from AAAC’s find rewarding as settlement agents, court clerks, paralegals, and victim advocates, among many other options. ACCC has established transfer agreements that allow for seamless transfers to four-year schools.

Anne Arundel Community College was chartered in the year  1961. AAAC’s campus covers more than 225 acres and serves more than 53,000 students on campus and online. Anne Arundel Community College holds the distinction of being named the country’s community college of the year back in 2000 and being rated from the Association for the Advancement of Stability in Higher Education (AASHE).

Program: Paralegal Studies, AAS

Format: Online

5. American National University

American National University offers an online Associate of Science (AS) degree program in Paralegal that has received accreditation from the DEAC – the Distance Education Accrediting Commission and the American Bar Association (ABA). As one of the first paralegal programs in Washington DC to have DEAC and ABA accreditation, ANU’s paralegal program requires the completion of 16 quarter-hours of specialty legal classes online that are synchronously delivered to graduate. Students complete courses in family law, probate law, corporate law, criminal law, torts, civil law, and contract law, to name a few.

American National University is a for-profit institution of higher education that was established in 1886. American National University offers associate, bachelor’s, masters, and diploma programs. American National University was once known as the National Business College. It now operates with more than 25 campuses in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee.

Program: Paralegal, AS

Format: Online

6. Prince George Community College

Prince George Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree program in Paralegal and Legal Assistance that can be completed entirely online through the school’s distance learning platform. Students enrolled in Prince George Community College’s paralegal programs in Washington DC must complete 60 credit units to graduate. Coursework includes topics regarding the drafting of motions, interrogatories, mediation, civil litigation, legal ethics, witness interviewing, research, and dispute resolution, among others. Degree candidates enrolled in PGCC’s paralegal program must complete a two-credit paralegal internship. PGCC does accept transfer credits on a case by case basis.

Prince George Community College was established in 1958. PGCC offers more than one-hundred programs to various age groups that live locally. The school’s student enrollment exceeds 40,000 students studying for degrees in nursing, law, education, engineering, paramedic, and radiology. Prince George Community College began offering classes in a local high school more than one-half century ago.

Program: Paralegal/Legal Assistant, AAS

Format: Online

7. Post University

Post University offers an Associate of Science (AS) degree program in Legal Studies that is available 100% online through Post University’s distance learning platform. Degree candidates enrolled in Post University’s associate-level paralegal program must complete 60 credit units to graduate, which typically takes the average student about two years to complete. The online paralegal programs in Washington DC include classes like leadership, real estate law, civil litigation, business law, legal research, and probate practices, to name a few. Careers for graduates include positions in law firms, the court systems, the private sector, or government agencies.

Post University was established in 1890 and originally called the Matoon Shorthand School. Post University is recognized as a for-profit institution of higher learning that offers both undergraduate and graduate programs in the day, the evening, and through the school’s distance learning platform. Post University’s urban campus is home to more than 7,300 students.

Program: Legal Studies, AS

Format: Online

8. Penn Foster College

Penn Foster College offers an online Associate of Science (AS) degree program in Paralegal Studies that is recognized among the most affordable of all of the paralegal programs in Washington DC. Classes for Penn Foster College’s paralegal associate degree include legal research, civil litigation, legal writing, legal ethics, wills and estates, real estate law, and family law, to name a few. Penn Foster College offers a number of flexible payment plans for students who need to make tuition payments on time.  

Penn Foster College is a for-profit institution of higher learning that was established in 1890 and known as the International Correspondence Schools. Penn Foster College was initially founded to meet the educational needs of coal miners. Penn Foster offers certificate programs, plus associate and bachelor’s degree programs. Penn Foster College currently operates as an online college that was once owned by the Princeton Review.

Program: Paralegal Studies, AS

Format: Online

9. University of the District of Columbia Community College

The University of DC Community College (UDC-CC) offers an  Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree program in Legal Assistance that can be completed entirely online. Students enrolled in the University of the District of Columbia Community College’s paralegal programs in Washington DC must complete 62 credit units, while maintaining a ‘C’ or better grade in each paralegal course, to graduate. Coursework for this legal assistant associate degree includes business law, legal research, family law, legal writing, and legal processes, to name a few.

The University of the District of Columbia (DC) Community College was established in 1851 as a normal teacher’s school for African American students. The University of the District of Columbia (DC) Community College’s parent school is the University of the District of Columbia.  The University of the District of Columbia Community College is recognized as an open enrollment school.

Program: Legal Assistant, AAS

Format: Online

10. Paralegal Institute of Washington DC

The Paralegal Institute of Washington DC offers one of the best paralegal programs in Washington DC that can be completed entirely online. The Paralegal Institute of Washington DC gives students two options of online study – the more affordable is the asynchronous option, and the second online delivery option is to enroll in the streaming class version of the online paralegal certificate program. Coursework includes bankruptcy, civil rights, criminal law, ethics, probate, contracts, immigration, family law, and legal research/writing, among others. 

The Paralegal Institute of Washington DC was established in 2003 as a world-class paralegal training institute. The Paralegal Institute of Washington DC offers affordable paralegal training programs that can be completed in six months, rather than one or two years. The Paralegal Institute of Washington, DC, was recognized as the best DC paralegal school in 2018.

Program: Paralegal Certificate

Format: Online

Is Washington DC a Good Job Market for Paralegals?

Many politicians in the DC area keep lawyers and their paralegal teams on retainer to help protect their reputations and future campaigns. This means that layers in the DC area have plenty of DC paralegal jobs available. In the United States as a whole, paralegal jobs are on the rise. Both across the country and in the capital, paralegal jobs in DC are increasing much faster than other career fields. It’s estimated that from 2018-2028, there will be the need for 39,000 new paralegals in the United States, and many of those people will get there start at paralegal jobs in Washington DC. The first step toward becoming a paralegal is to learn more about the paralegal programs in Washington DC, which will open the doors to entry level paralegal jobs in DC. 

Next, let’s take a look at how much you can expect to make while working paralegal jobs in Washington DC area.

How Much Can I Make as a Paralegal in Washington DC?

The average national salary for a paralegal is $51,000 per year, and the paralegal Washington DC salary tends to be higher than this. Your paralegal Washington DC salary may depend on several factors. A Washington DC paralegal salary will likely be higher within city limits than in surrounding areas. Most Washington DC paralegal salary levels are heavily dependent on the cost of living in the area in which the law firm is located. 

Your experience and your education will also play a large role in your paralegal salary in Washington DC. If you have a paralegal certificate but are not a certified paralegal, your paralegal salary in Washington DC may be lower than if you were officially certified. If you’re interested in increasing your average paralegal salary in DC, talk with your employer about going back to school to become a certified paralegal. Many employers are willing to pay for this part of your education. In order to become a certified paralegal, you’ll need to complete an educational program, take a test, and put in a certain number of work hours in order to qualify.

What Kinds of Paralegal Specializations are there in DC?

As a paralegal, you love the law. It’s likely that you’re passionate about a particular area of the law. When you want to specialize in a certain area of paralegal work, you’ll want to look for paralegal specialist jobs in Washington DC. A paralegal specialist has a deep understanding of a specific sector of the law, and is well suited to work with law firms that specialize in that area. 

Some of the most common paralegal specialist jobs in Washington DC are:

Immigration paralegal specialist – Immigration paralegal jobs in Washington DC help people through struggles with immigration law. This may include protecting people who are working to become legal citizens, as well as helping people reunite with their families if they’ve been separated due to immigration laws.

Real estate paralegal specialist – Real estate paralegal jobs in Washington DC help people through the process of buying and selling property, and ensure that all sales are done in a way that’s legal and fair to all parties involved.

Patent paralegal specialist – Patent paralegal jobs in Washington DC work with inventors to ensure that they get the profit from their invention, and that their invention is not duplicated by someone else. Patent paralegal specialists help people through the process of applying for patents. People in this position also help inventors to keep patents that they already have through the patent renewal process.

Trademark paralegal specialist – Trademark paralegal jobs in Washington DC a trademark paralegal specialist works to help people trademark ideas and brands, ensuring that they’re the only ones who are able to profit off of the idea. Trademarks are made by large and small businesses alike, and a trademark paralegal specialist knows the ins and outs of applying for trademarks in Washington DC.

Litigation paralegal specialist – Litigation paralegal jobs in Washington DC help people through the process of fighting in court. People in this specialty love doing the tough research that it takes to win legal battles, and work closely with people who are fighting their cases before a judge and jury.

No matter what specialty you choose, working in Washington DC will give you the fast paced environment that you crave while allowing you do to important work that helps people through tough aspects of the law. 

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