Top 10 Paralegal Programs in Washington State for 2020

Thinking about entering a new career field? If you’re searching for paralegal programs in Seattle or anywhere in Washington State, you’re making a smart move. Paralegals are in high demand, especially in large cities, and with the Pacific Northwest’s huge tech economy, work for law firms is plentiful. This career allows you to work closely with lawyers, without having to go through the years upon years of schooling required to become an attorney. If you love the law, becoming a paralegal can be a great way to utilize your passion to help others. 

The great news: you don’t have to leave your home or take time away from your career in order to enroll in one of the many paralegal programs in Seattle. Washington state paralegal programs are a great way to break into the law industry, even if you have no prior experience working in the legal field. If you do have experience, you may be able to leverage some of your work history as credit toward your paralegal certificate. 

How We Ranked the Best Paralegal Programs in Washington State

The editors at Online Paralegal Programs believe in sending prospective students to reputable, quality institutions that will have a real impact on their careers. That’s why our ranking of the best paralegal programs in Washington State is based on verified data from IPEDS and Niche, focusing on tuition cost, student satisfaction, and salary potential. 

1. University of Washington – Seattle

The University of Washington at Seattle’s Department of Professional and Continuing Education offers one of the most recognized online certificate paralegal programs in Washington state. UW’s paralegal certificate program can be completed as a full-time or part-time, in eleven- or 17-months duration. The University of Washington’s curriculum for its Washington state paralegal programs includes Legal Research, Legal Writing, Interviewing Techniques, Civil Litigation & Procedure, Law, and Contract Law, to name a few. UW’s coursework is designed for those students who wish to become a paralegal or pursue their LLLT – Limited License Legal Technician.

The University of Washington – Seattle was established in 1861, about ten years after the city of Seattle was founded. The school is a sea-grant, and space-grant institution of higher learning. The school’s 700+ acre campus is home to nearly 48,000 students. The University of Washington – Seattle is considered a public ivy institution of higher education by Green’s Guides.

Program: Certificate in Paralegal Studies

Format: Online

2. Central Washington University

Central Washington University offers a BA in Law and Justice that can be completed online, without any required trips to campus. Central Washington University’s paralegal programs in Washington state that includes a humanistic emphasis throughout the degree’s general education and prepares students for entrance to a Juris Doctor law degree, or for a career in the criminal justice system. Coursework for CWU’s Washington State paralegal programs includes coursework like Criminal Procedure, Criminal Justice Research Procedures, Ethics and Diversity, Correctional in Law, and Crime in American, among others. Students must complete 180 quarter-credits to graduate, of which up to 135 quarter-credits may be transferred.

Central Washington University was established in 1891 by a state legislative act. Central Washington University is organized into four divisions. CWU operates its main residential campus in Ellensburg, plus another eight locations statewide. Central Washington University is recognized as one of the nation’s Hispanic-serving schools.

Program: Law and Justice, BA

Format: Online 

3. Tacoma Community College

Tacoma Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science degree program in Paralegal studies that is delivered in a convenient hybrid format for students interested in becoming a legal assistant or a paralegal. These Washington State paralegal programs offered by Tacoma Community College have received approval from the American Bar Association (ABA). Coursework for these paralegal programs in Washington state includes Bankruptcy Law, Employment Law, Estate Planning, Family Law, Employment Law, and Contracts, among others.  It is noted that the degree candidate enrolled in TCC’s paralegal program must also complete an internship prior to graduation.

Tacoma Community College was established in 1965. TCC’s campus is home to more than 15,000 students each year. Tacoma Community College offers a wide variety of professional and technical certificate programs, plus associate and bachelor’s degree programs. Tacoma Community College operates several campuses in Pierce County, including Gig Harbor.

Program: Paralegal, AAS

Format: Hybrid 

4. Highline College

Highline College offers an Associate of Applied Science degree program in Paralegal that is delivered as a hybrid associate format with classes online and a few on-campus visits. These Washington state paralegal programs require the completion of 98 to 102 credit units, depending on the exact coursework selected by the student. Highline College’s paralegal programs in Washington state include fundamental law classes like civil & criminal procedures and legal research, plus the more specialized classes of Constitutional Law, Torts, Immigration, Intellectual Property, Civil Rights Law, Estate Planning, and Family law, to name a few.

Highline College was established in 1961. The school’s suburban campus covers more than 75 acres and serves more than 17,000 students each year. Highline College offers several accredited degree programs through nursing and law schools. Highline College operates several campuses in Des Moines, White Center, Redondo Beach, and Burien WA.

Program: Paralegal, AAS

Format: Hybrid 

5. Everett Community College

Everett Community College offers a Paralegal Studies Certificate program that can be completed entirely online. Everett Community College’s paralegal programs in Washington state also provide degree graduates with membership to the National Association of Legal Assistants This is advantageous because the ECC’s Washington state paralegal programs prepare degree candidates to sit for the National Association of Legal Assistants NALA – CP examination.  Classes include in topics that include legal interviewing, legal research, legal writing, tort law, family law, business law, criminal law, plus a culminating capstone project.

Everett Community College was established in 1941. Everett Community College’s campuses serve the greater Seattle area, which includes nearly 20,000 students each year. Everett Community College offers a great, affordable start for many students who eventually transfer to a four-year university. Many buildings on the Everett Community College campus is named for the Olympic and Cascade mountains.

Program: Certificate in Paralegal Studies

Format: Online

6. Renton Technical College

Renton Technical College offers a hybrid-format Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree program in Legal Assistance studies that have two requirements for admission – a high school diploma (or its equivalent) and a typing speed that exceeds 30 words per minute. Renton Technical College’s AAS Legal Assistant program is recognized among the best of the paralegal programs in Washington state. These Washington state paralegal programs include paralegal coursework in topics like family law, business law, civil litigation, legal technology. The AAS degree program also requires paralegal degree candidates to complete basic college math and English and public speaking.

Renton Technical College (RTC) was established in 1942. Renton Technical College offers part-time and full-time professional programs in automotive, business, law, construction, culinary, health, and technology as well as associate degree programs. The school’s student enrollment exceeds 4,000 students. Renton Technical College was originally established as a war production institution of higher education.

Program: Legal Assistant, AAS

Format: Hybrid 

7. Portland Community College

Portland Community College offers an AAS in Paralegal degree program that has received approval from the ABA – the American Bar.  Portland Community College’s paralegal programs in Washington state include classes in the law areas of litigation, legal research, legal writing, interview techniques, among others. Students enrolled in Portland Community College Washington state paralegal programs graduate with refined problem-solving skills, communication skills, and professional competence. Portland Community College allows for the transfer of credits on a case by case basis.

Portland Community College was established in 1961 to serve the needs of adult learners. PCC’s 250+ acre campus serves five counties – Washington, Yamhill, Clackamas, Columbia, and Multnomah. PCC’s student enrollment exceeds 90,000 students across the school’s four primary campuses. Portland Community College holds the distinction of being the largest community college in the state of Washington.

Program: Paralegal, AAS

Format: Online

8. Green River College

Green River College offers an Associate in Applied Arts (AAA) degree program for Legal Administrative Assistants that can be completed online and partially on-campus. Green River College’s paralegal degree program is recognized among the most affordable of the paralegal programs in Washington state. These Washington state paralegal programs include curriculum with classes like Legal Terminology, Business Law, Public Speaking, Entrepreneurship, Business Communications, Group  Communications, and Business Math, among others. Degree candidates must complete 93 – 98 credit units, depends on the student’s chosen course of study.

Green River College was established in 1963 but began as an adult extension program through a local school district. Green River College’s suburban campus is home to nearly 20,000 part-time and full-time students studying for certificates, associate degrees, and baccalaureate degrees. Green River College is recognized for its international studies program that hosts more than 1,500 students.

Program: Legal Administrative Assistant, AAA

Format: Hybrid

9. Edmonds Community College

Edmonds Community College offers an Associate of Technical Arts (ATA) degree program in Paralegal Studies that is available through the school’s hybrid delivery format. These paralegal programs in Washington state offered by Edmonds Community College prepare degree candidates for careers in public service or in the private sector. Students enrolled in ECC’s Washington state paralegal programs are required to complete 90 credit units to graduate. Legal coursework includes Dispute Resolution, Litigation, Ethics, Property Law, Personal Injury, and Interviewing, among others.

Edmonds Community College was established in 1967. The school dropped the community part of its name in April 2020 to reflect the provision of baccalaureate degrees.  Edmonds Community College’s 50-acre campus is home to more than 10,500 students and located about twelve miles to the north of downtown Seattle. Edmonds Community College is recognized for its international studies hosting more than 1,400 students from more than 60 countries.

Program: Paralegal, ATA

Format: Hybrid

10. South Puget Sound Community College

South Puget Sound Community College offers an Associate in Applied Science that is delivered in a hybrid format – on campus and online. South Puget Sound Community College’s AAS degree program is among the most affordable paralegal programs in Washington state. Classes are offered during the evening and can be completed only nine quarters. These Washington state paralegal programs offered by South Puget Sound Community College prepare graduates for careers in law firms, insurance companies, lenders or banks, title companies, and corporate legal departments, among many others. 

South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC) was established in 1962. South Puget Sound Community College’s campus serves nearly 6,000 students across its 100+ acre campus in Olympia, WA. South Puget Sound Community College operates a satellite campus in Lacy, WA, known as the Hawks Prairie campus.

Program: Paralegal, AAS

Format: Hybrid 

Can I Become a Paralegal Online in Washington State?

Searching for online paralegal programs in Washington state? You’re in good company. Let’s take a look at why online paralegal programs in Washington state can be a great fit for working professionals who are ready to take their careers to the next level.

Many people who are interested in getting into the field of law get started by earning their paralegal certification online. If you’re a working professional, online paralegal programs in Washington state are the perfect way for you to get started on a new career while still putting in the necessary hours at your current job. 

Many online paralegal programs in Washington state are self-paced, allowing you to learn on your own time. This can be especially important for adults who have responsibilities beyond the classroom, such as having a family or full time job. Becoming a paralegal exponentially increases your earning potential, and can be a great tool to take your career to the next level. Let’s take a look at what the Washington state job market is like for paralegals.

How is the Job Market for Paralegals in Washington State?

If you’re looking for paralegal jobs in Seattle, you’re in a great position in your career. Paralegal jobs in Seattle are numerous, as is the case in many large cities. Seattle paralegal jobs give you the opportunity to work in a large city, constantly networking with other legal professionals and increasing your ability to grow within your career path. Seattle paralegal jobs are the perfect goal for a professional who has recently worked to complete an online paralegal program. 

Across the country, the need for paralegals is growing at a much faster rate than the need for other jobs. It’s estimated that from 2018-2028, there will be 39,000 openings for paralegals in the United States. This is the perfect time to look for paralegal jobs in Seattle WA. As the need for legal assistant jobs across the country grows, the need for legal assistant jobs in Seattle will continue to grow as well.

Earning your certification or associate’s degree now will help set you up for success when you apply for paralegal jobs in Seattle Washington. The need for paralegal jobs in Washington state isn’t going anywhere, and earning your degree now is the perfect way to set yourself up for future career opportunities. 

If you’re already working at a law firm, or you’re working for a company that utilizes legal services, talk with your employer about whether they’ll help you pay for your degree. Many employers offer tuition assistance or reimbursement to help employees get their education while continuing to work for the company. This can be a great way to save money while showing your employer that you’re invested in the future of their organization.

How Much Does a Paralegal Make in Washington State?

If you’re thinking about going through the training required to become a paralegal, it makes sense that you want to know more about the paralegal salary in Washington state. It’s important to research salary before diving into a new career path. 

On average, paralegals make approximately $51,000 per year in the United States. In areas with a higher cost of living, including large cities like Seattle, many paralegals make more than the national average. When you’re considering your paralegal salary in Washington state, it’s important to also consider your benefits package and room for advancement. 

As you’re wondering, “how much does a paralegal make in Washington state?” and beginning to talk with your potential employer about your salary package, be sure to discuss the possibility for promotion. You want to make sure that you don’t become stagnant in your career, especially with an education in such a high demand field. While it’s not all about the money, you want to be sure you’re able to support yourself while doing what you love. 

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