Online Paralegal Degrees

Paralegals offer support to lawyers, and an online paralegal degree directly prepares you for work in the field. Paralegals help organize files, conduct research, and write legal documents. They also gather information pertaining to legal cases, collect evidence about cases, obtain affidavits from key parties, take notes for lawyers during trials, file appeals, liaise with clients, and much more.

Some graduates work as administrative assistants at policy and law organizations or in private companies. Their jobs differ slightly from what paralegals do, but they still get to work in a supportive role at a law firm or civic organization.

The job market for paralegals is expected to remain strong in the coming years. Paralegals enjoy stimulating and rewarding work, and if you are interested in law and think you would work well in a law firm, a paralegal degree online can help you get started in the industry. Below, you’ll find pertinent information about the educational and career options available if you are interested in pursuing a paralegal degree.

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Online Paralegal Degree Overview

Degree Avg Degree Cost Avg Loan Default Rate Time Commitment Early Career Pay Mid-Career Pay Unemployment Rate
Associate $15,693 17.08% 2 years $40,095 $48,031 N/A
Bachelor's $18,986 15.03% 4 years $37,250 $49,000 7.6%
Master's $18,652 11.5% 2 years N/A $71,648 N/A
Whether you are new to the field, or looking to advance in your current career, you should weigh the costs and time of getting a new degree against its benefits. There is no one-size-fits-all degree. The best choice for you will depend on your current educational background, financial standing, employment history, and area of interest. For instance, those with no experience may want to consider an associate degree, due to its shorter time commitment and lower cost. If finances are tight for you, then you should prioritize the student loan debt and default categories, as you will want to choose a degree that offers you the best chance of improving your financial standing with minimal risk. If your employer or someone else is paying for your education, then you might want to consider the degree that will offer you the highest salary. All salary information is sourced from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and/or PayScale

Many paralegal jobs require only an associate degree, and earning a paralegal degree online should effectively prepare you for a career in the field. Some lawyers may prefer to hire candidates with bachelor’s degrees or master’s degrees, particularly for positions that require specialized knowledge. Positions that do require a bachelor’s or master’s degree often pay somewhat higher starting salaries than positions only requiring an associate degree.

Online Paralegal Degrees


Online Associate’s Degree in Paralegal

A paralegal associate degree is the educational credential you need to become a paralegal. This type of paralegal degree signifies that you know enough about the law to work in most law firms. A two-year paralegal degree online familiarizes you with different areas of law and the skills you need to help lawyers. Highly specialized firms sometimes require graduates with higher-level degrees, but the associate will qualify you for most positions.


    Introduction to Law, Legal Research, Legal Writing, Ethics, Contracts


    Criminal Law, Business Law, Immigration Law


    Paralegal, administrative assistant, legal assistant


    $36,500 per year


    Both of the number of job openings for paralegals and for administrative assistants are expected to increase steadily over the next several years.

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For the 2016 rankings, has greatly refined its approach to evaluating schools and their respective programs. Our innovative method of assessing schools is what makes our rankings so distinctly authoritative. On the surface, every ranking we produce employs a basic formula: Academic Quality + Online Offerings + Cost and Student Aid = Final Score. This final score determines where a school ends up in our rankings. Of course, there's a lot more than meets the eye. Visit our methodology page to discover the data points that shape our formula and to learn more about our process.

Paralegal Associate’s Degree Rankings

Rank School Name School Logo City Cost Address & Contact Info School Links Acclaim for Online Programs School Description
1Keiser UniversityFort Lauderdale$$$$$1500 NW 49th St
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309
(954) 776-4456

In addition to 19 campuses located throughout the state of Florida, Keiser University has a virtual eCampus offered through its Fort Lauderdale location. Distance learners seeking an associate degree through an online paralegal program may be interested in enrolling at Keiser. This program is considered to be a terminal degree and is only offered online. It includes eight courses that are focused exclusively on paralegal studies, including family law and civil litigation. These classes provide the foundational knowledge needed to succeed in paralegal roles and other legal settings. There are no prerequisites for any of the core courses, providing students with increased flexibility when it comes to planning their class schedules. Kaiser provides distance learners with a variety of services, including career coaching, resume review, writing services, and mentoring.

2Liberty UniversityLynchburg$$$$$1971 University Blvd
Lynchburg, VA 24515
(800) 434-9595

Liberty University is based in Virginia and is the largest private college provider of online learning; more than 95,000 students are enrolled at Liberty as distance learners. The online paralegal program consists of 60 total credit hours, but students who have already begun their studies elsewhere can easily transfer up to 45 credits. Full-time students can complete this program in two years, but the school also welcomes part-time learners. Upon graduation, students can expect to find employment as paralegals, legal assistants, law clerks, and title examiners. Distance learners at Liberty benefit from many services and resources, including online libraries, writing centers, writing aids, study aids, and preparation courses. Liberty University helps students learn, develop, and grow so that they can impact their communities as champions for Christ.

3Holmes Community CollegeGoodman$$$$$#1 Hill St
Goodman, MS 39079
(662) 472-2312

Located just outside the capital of Mississippi, Holmes Community College is a two-year school offering students the opportunity to complete a paralegal degree online. The full program requires four semesters of study, although students are eligible to apply for a technical certificate after completing 30 hours of coursework. This paralegal technology degree emphasizes advanced technologies that paralegals will need to master in order to be successful. HCC’s online offerings are overseen by the Mississippi Virtual Community College, and the Canvas LMS is used to deliver coursework to distance learners. The curriculum is based on standards developed by the National Association of Legal Assistants’ Descriptions of Certified Paralegal Exams. Online paralegal degree students also have the option to join the Holmes Association of Legal Students, which allows them to network with their peers, alumni, speakers, and current professionals in the field.

4Rio Salado CollegeTempe$$$$$2323 W 14th St
Tempe, AZ 85281
(480) 517-8000

Operating as part of the Maricopa Community Colleges system, Arizona’s Rio Salado College has numerous campuses throughout the state. Its Tempe campus provides an associate of applied science in paralegal studies. This online paralegal degree covers both foundational and advanced topics in the field, ranging from estate and corporate law to legal investigations and bankruptcy. Aside from this degree, the school also provides a certificate of completion in paralegal studies. RSC gives students in this program the opportunity to complete a paralegal internship while enrolled. Students can further customize their degree by choosing from a range of electives including classes that discuss immigration law and environmental law. Additionally, online classes begin every Monday; students don't have to wait until the beginning of a semester to get started in their program.

5Hutchinson Community CollegeHutchinson$$$$$1300 N Plum St
Hutchinson, MN 67501
(620) 665-3500

Since 1928, Hutchinson Community College has provided students with a quality foundational education. More recently, the university expanded its reach and now offers online courses through its Hutchinson, Kansas campus. HCC created its associate of applied science in paralegal studies degree specifically for students who aspire to work as either paralegals or legal assistants. This degree can be completed entirely online, although some courses may require that students find a proctor to complete exams. In addition to general education requirements, students pursuing a paralegal degree online receive a comprehensive overview of foundational topics, including litigation, personal injury, legal ethics, and estate planning. Students can also specialize their degree by choosing from a range of electives including legal and ethical issues in healthcare and intellectual property.

6Hodges UniversityNaples$$$$$2655 Northbrooke Dr
Naples, FL 34119
(800) 466-8017

Provided through its school of professional studies, the associate in science in paralegal studies at Hodges University can be completed on campus or completely online. Students who take three courses per term are able to obtain their degrees in four semesters. This program is broken into two main components: a legal component consisting of 10 classes and a liberal arts component consisting of five classes. The average class size in the paralegal studies program is just 14 pupils, allowing students to interact directly with their professors. Online courses are provided through the Blackboard LMS. Upon graduation, students are prepared to take the National Association of Legal Assistants’ Certified Legal Assistant exam to boost their job prospects. Additionally, for students who want to further their education, all credits earned from this associate program can be applied toward Hodges’ BS in legal studies program.

7Indiana Wesleyan UniversityMarion$$$$$4201 S Washington St
Marion, IN 46953-4974
(765) 674-6901

Students seeking an online paralegal degree taught from an evangelical Christian perspective may be interested in attending Marion-based Indiana Wesleyan University. The university’s total enrollment, which includes on-campus and distance learners, currently exceeds 15,000 students. For nearly 100 years, IWU has provided two- and four-year degrees, including its associate of science in paralegal studies. This program was launched in 2014 and can be completed entirely online. The average course in this program is only six weeks long, which lets students finish their course of study in a shorter amount of time compared to other paralegal programs. Transfer credits are also accepted if students started their education at a different academic institution. For nontraditional students, the school provides a range of adult education offerings and support services, including tutoring and career advice.

8Southwestern Community CollegeSylva$$$$$447 College Dr
Sylva, NC 28779
(828) 339-4000

Located in the hills of Sylva, North Carolina, Southwestern Community College offers a range of on-campus and online classes. The school’s associate of applied science in paralegal technology is a two-year program that can be completed online. Distance learners enrolled in this program are eligible for financial aid. Upon graduation, students planning to work within the state of North Carolina can take the North Carolina State Bar’s Paralegal Certification exam. Throughout their course of study, students are taught the skills needed to work in a range of settings, including banks, insurance agencies, government agencies, and law firms. Students can also elect to take summer classes, allowing them to finish the online paralegal program more quickly. SCC’s online courses are offered through the Blackboard LMS.

9Tyler Junior CollegeTyler$$$$$1400 East Fifth Street
Tyler, TX 75701
(903) 510-2200

East Texas’ Tyler Junior College is one of the largest community colleges in the state and has provided quality educations for nearly a century. More than 11,000 students are currently enrolled at this school. Courses in the associate of applied science in paralegal studies program are offered through the Canvas learning platform. Students seeking to obtain a paralegal degree online from Tyler Junior College must complete seven general education classes and 13 classes related to their major. In their second year, distance learners are provided with a career coach who helps them focus on their future goals and find internships and jobs opportunities. Additional online services include library access, technological assistance, and writing tutoring. The paralegal studies degree is also offered through a hybrid program, where students can complete most of their degree online while attending some classes in person.

10Madisonville Community CollegeMadisonville$$$$$2000 College Drive
Madisonville, KY 42431
(270) 821-2250

Located in western Kentucky, Madisonville Community College is one of 16 junior colleges in the state that belong to the Kentucky Community and Technical College system. This group of schools provides resources and support to a large number of campus-based and online students. All of MCC’s online programs focus on providing coursework that is easily transferrable to four-year colleges. This online paralegal degree is offered as an associate in applied science. Full-time students can complete this program in two years. The school also offers a paralegal certificate that is comprised of 39 credit hours. MCC uses the Blackboard LMS to deliver lectures and coursework to distance learners. Online students also have access to a technical helpdesk 24/7 and career services, which offer free assistance in locating regional and local employment opportunities

11Itawamba Community CollegeFulton$$$$$602 W Hill Street
Fulton, MS 38843-1099
(601) 862-8000

Located in Fulton, Mississippi, Itawamba Community College has a comprehensive distance education program. The school offers a one-year certificate of completion and a two-year associate of applied science degree in paralegal technology. Both of these programs allow students to apply for national certification through the NALA or NFPA. Students planning to obtain a full associate degree need to complete 64 credit hours, which generally takes two years of full-time study. ICC also helps distance learners enrolled in this program find paralegal internships near their homes. Students can obtain free online tutoring through NetTutor as well as assistance in scheduling proctored examinations. Distance learners who need technical support are able to work directly with the school’s director of eLearning initiatives. Online courses are offered through the Canvas learning management system.

12Georgia Military CollegeMilledgeville$$$$$
Milledgeville, GA
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Georgia Military College is a liberal arts junior college that has provided academic degrees since 1879. Today, its student body contains more than 13,000 people and is comprised of learners from 39 states and 12 nations; GMC also has a 57% minority enrollment. Unlike the majority of paralegal programs, which require two years of full-time study, GMC’s associate of science in paralegal studies can be completed in just 1.5 years. The college also offers an associate of arts in paralegal studies. Students earning a paralegal degree online focus on critical thinking, communication, research, and computer and organizational skills. Online courses are made available through the Moodle LMS. Distance learners pay the same rate as in-state students. Military service is not required to attend GMC; more than 80% of its students have no military affiliation.

13Tallahassee Community CollegeTallahassee$$$$$444 Appleyard Dr
Tallahassee, FL 32304-2895
(850) 201-6200

Since being established 50 years ago, Florida’s Tallahassee Community College has become recognized as a leader among junior colleges throughout the nation. More than 37,000 students are enrolled at this school each year, but the student-to-faculty ratio remains low at 24:1. TCC may be especially appealing for students who intend to obtain a bachelor’s degree; more than 75% of its alumni successfully transfer to a four-year institution. Unlike many other online paralegal degrees, which divide general education and core courses evenly, 46 of the 64 credit hours needed to complete an associate in paralegal studies are devoted to classes specific to the major. Upon graduation, learners are prepared for roles as paralegals or legal assistants in both public and private law firms. In addition to academic advising, distance learners have access to technical assistance, writing tutoring, online libraries, and career services.

14Eastern Kentucky UniversityRichmond$$$$$521 Lancaster Ave
Richmond, KY 40475-3102
(859) 622-1000

With a main campus in Richmond, Eastern Kentucky University is a large regional institution with six branch locations across the state. EKU also has a thriving distance education program. Students enrolled in online courses can select from six different start dates each year and enjoy some of the lowest tuition rates in the state. EKU’s online courses are the same price, regardless of a student’s state of residency. Although EKU’s associate in applied science in paralegal studies requires a two-week residency at the school, the remainder of the program can be completed entirely online. Online courses can be accessed through the Blackboard LMS. Students who have obtained a paralegal degree online can also decide to continue their education at EKU and pursue a bachelor’s of arts in paralegal science.

15Community Care CollegeTulsa$$$$$4242 South Sheridan
Tulsa, OK 74145
(919) 610-0027

Tulsa’s Community Care College was founded in 1995. Although this vocation-focused school started by offering only dental courses, it has since expanded and currently has 11 different programs, including a paralegal studies program. This is the only fully-online paralegal program available in the state of Oklahoma. Its curriculum is developed and taught by an Oklahoma-licensed attorney and graduate of Harvard Law School. Students can expect to graduate with their diploma in less than a year. This paralegal certificate can also be applied to earn an associate of occupational science degree in business and industry management, which takes less than a year of additional study. Distance learners have the ability to communicate with their professors through phone, email, text, chat, Skype, and in person. Coursework for online classes is made available through the Moodle LMS. Members of the U.S. military and their spouses are eligible for reduced tuition and scholarships.

16Western Piedmont Community CollegeMorganton$$$$$1001 Burkemont Ave
Morganton, NC 28655-4511
(828) 438-6000

Western Piedmont Community College is one of the largest junior colleges in the state of North Carolina and enrolls 13,000 local and distance learners each year. WPCC’s online paralegal program has zero on-campus commitments. Most courses are asynchronous, but a few do meet synchronously; for these, students will need to log in at specific times for face-to-face classes with their peers and professors. The associate of applied science in paralegal technology requires 67 credits, and full-time students can expect to complete their studies within two years. Distance learners have access to tech support 24/7, online libraries, writing assistance, career services, and student clubs. The paralegal technology department also provides its students with access to Lexis-Advance, the Cornell Law School’s legal research site, and the North Carolina General Statutes.

17Atlanta Technical CollegeAtlanta$$$$$1560 Metropolitan Pkwy SW
Atlanta, GA 30310-4446
(404) 225-4400

In addition to educating many students who reside in Georgia’s capital city, Atlanta Technical College teaches students around the world through its eCampus. The college uses Blackboard to deliver lessons and coursework to online learners. ATC’s asynchronous online paralegal program students with increased flexibility, while multiple enrollment dates throughout the year make it convenient to start taking classes. ATC has offered its paralegal studies program for nearly two decades. Today the program takes about six semesters to complete and mandates that students participate in two internships to satisfy graduation requirements. Students can further customize their degrees by picking from electives such as bankruptcy/debtor-creditor relations and legal and policy issues in health care. Distance learners have access to a virtual career center 24 hours a day, which helps them find and apply for jobs.

18Alexandria Technical & Community CollegeAlexandria$$$$$1601 Jefferson Streeet
Alexandria, MN 56308
(320) 762-0221

Operating as a member of the Minnesota State University system, students at Alexandria Technical & Community College can easily transfer credits to a four-year MSU institution upon graduation from ATCC. ATCC is partnered with Distance Minnesota, which is a consortium of colleges that work together to provide online programs. ATCC’s online paralegal program has no prerequisites, but scholastic experience in American government, business, computer applications, English writing, and public speaking is helpful. The associate in applied science in paralegal studies can typically be completed in two years; students undertake an internship during their final summer semester to complete the program. School administrators are on hand to help distance learners find suitable internship locations near their homes. Upon graduation, students have the option to complete the Certified Paralegal Examination offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants.

19Macomb Community CollegeWarren$$$$$14500 E Twelve Mile Rd
Warren, MI 48088-3896
(586) 445-7999

Michigan’s Macomb Community College is ranked nationally and is in the top 2% of institutions in the number of associate degrees that they award annually. The school enrolls nearly 50,000 students each year. Its online paralegal program is offered as an associate of applied science in legal assistant program. Although students are not required to complete an internship to earn their degree, administrators are available to help distance learners find appropriate internship opportunities near their homes. Because many of its students plan to obtain four-year educations, the curriculum at MCC is designed to be easily transferred to a bachelor’s program. In addition to coursework related to different types of law, classes emphasize common technologies that are used in the field as well as computerized litigation software.

20Drury UniversitySpringfield$$$$$900 N.Benton
Springfield, MO 65802-3791
(417) 873-7879

Missouri’s Drury University has provided liberal arts educations since 1873. In 1999, the university established its online learning program. DU’s associate of science in paralegal studies degree is offered through its continuing professional studies college. This program takes a three-pronged approach to learning: students gain conceptual knowledge of the essential principles and rules within law, refine their focus on different types of law, and then participate in a legal practicum, which allows students to showcase their newfound skills in a real-world setting. This program provides a focused study on American court systems, constitutional law, criminal law, civil law, legal research, legal writing, discovery, and interviewing and investigating. Online courses are delivered in a flexible, asynchronous format and distance learners access their coursework through the Moodle LMS.

21Minnesota State Community and Technical CollegeFergus Falls$$$$$1414 College Way
Fergus Falls, MN 56537-1000
(218) 736-1500

With four campuses spread across the state, Minnesota State Community and Technical College serves nearly 10,000 local and online students. Among its 25 online degrees is an online paralegal program, which offers an associate of applied science degree. While prerequisites are not required for this program, students must take an Accuplacer assessment to determine whether they need to enroll in developmental courses in reading, writing, and/or math. MSCTC does not require students to complete a legal practicum, but administrators can help students arrange an internship prior to graduation if they would like to gain hands-on training. Students can customize their degrees by choosing electives such as principles of bookkeeping and state and local government. This degree can be completed entirely online and does not require any on-campus participation.

22Ivy Tech Community CollegeIndianapolis$$$$$50 W. Fall Creek Parkway N. Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46208-5752
(317) 921-4800

Ivy Tech Community College started out as a vocational and technical school in 1963. The college has since expanded its offerings to include more than 150 academic programs, which are taught at 32 different campuses around Indiana. It serves more than 170,000 students each year, many of whom take classes online. A popular option is its online paralegal program, which is available entirely online in an asynchronous format. The program can typically be completed in four semesters, allowing students to earn a degree in less than two academic years if they are able to enroll in summer classes. The program concludes with a paralegal studies capstone course, which helps students prepare to sit for the national certification examination offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants.

23Albany State UniversityAlbany$$$$$504 College Drive
Albany, GA 31705
(229) 430-4600

Albany State has provided online learning opportunities for more than a decade. Its associate of applied science in legal assistant/paralegal studies program takes four semesters to complete. Students can specialize their degrees by choosing from electives such as criminal law and procedure, principles of microeconomics, and contract law. Online classes and coursework are hosted by the D2L learning management system. Students who are enrolled in this paralegal program can contact an online specialist from the department with any questions. Distance learners also have access to IT help, writing tutoring, career coaching, disability services, and library resources. For students who may not be ready to commit to a full associate degree, the school also offers a legal assistant/paralegal certificate.

24Mississippi Gulf Coast Community CollegePerkinston$$$$$51 Main Street
Perkinston, MS 39573
(866) 735-1122

With four campuses and centers located along the state’s southern coast, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College currently provides an education to over 10,000 students. It is the only school in the Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana tri-state area to be one of the top-100 associate degree producers in the country. MGCCC is partnered with the Mississippi Virtual Community College consortium, which offers nearly 3,000 courses online. Among these is an online paralegal program, which awards a certificate, diploma, and associate of applied science degree in paralegal technology, allowing students to choose the level of education that is best-suited for their career plan. The associate degree prepares students to become legal assistants in courts, corporations, private law firms, trust departments of banks, and government agencies. MGCCC uses the Canvas LMS to host all of its online courses.

25Mountain Empire Community CollegeBig Stone Gap$$$$$3441 Mountain Empire Road
Big Stone Gap, VA 24219
(276) 523-2400

Mountain Empire Community College is a two-year college serving residents of southwest Virginia. MECC is one of 23 colleges in the Virginia Community College system. The school offers a variety of programs, both at its Big Stone Gap campus and online. Students seeking to enroll in MECC’s online paralegal program must take English and mathematics placement tests; developmental classes in these areas may be required. Although courses are offered online, some classes may require students to arrange for a proctored environment for exams if they are unable to take tests on campus. Additionally, although classroom attendance is not mandatory, professors may require synchronous weekly sessions, which are conducted through Blackboard Collaborate. Most online students take more than two full years of study to complete their associate degree.

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Paralegal

An online paralegal degree from a four-year college or university will provide you the expertise needed to work in highly-specific branches of the law. This degree exposes you to key legal concepts and also in-depth areas of the law that will help you work with lawyers in complicated cases. Earning a paralegal degree online at the bachelor’s level can give you an edge when competing for jobs at top law firms, and you may earn a higher salary than paralegals who only hold an associate degree.


    Foundations of Law, Tort Law, Criminal Practice and Procedure, Corporate Law


    Corporate law, legal writing, immigration law


    Paralegal, legal assistant, legal researcher


    $48,810 per year


    An online paralegal degree from a four-year college or university will qualify you for a job pool that is projected to grow by approximately 8% between 2014 and 2024.

Online Master’s Degree in Paralegal

A graduate paralegal degree can help you advance your career by providing you with additional specialized knowledge and skills. While an associate or bachelor’s degree in the field will prepare you for most jobs in the field, a master’s online paralegal degree qualifies you to take on additional responsibilities.


    Litigation, Contracts, Advanced Legal Writing, International Law


    Paralegal studies, legal research, administrative law


    Paralegal, legal assistant, legal advocate, legal document editor


    $48,810 per year


    8% growth rate between 2014 and 2014.

Online Paralegal Choose Your Career

Average Paralegal Salaries


Secretaries and Administrative Assistants

Salary: $36,500
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
3% 3,976,800 High School Diploma or Equivalent N/A

Secretaries and administrative assistants support business executives and executive directors in a range of industries, including schools, government organizations, and legal offices. Legal secretaries differ from paralegals in that they are responsible for more clerical duties, such as transcribing and filing documents, responding to emails and phone calls, and scheduling meetings and travel itineraries. They may also take on bookkeeping responsibilities, help manage finances, and conduct research. Many legal secretaries opt to earn a paralegal associate degree and certification in order to move up into a paralegal position.

Paralegals and Legal Assistants

Salary: $48,810
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
8% 279,500 Associates Certified Paralegal, Advanced Certified Paralegal - Not required

Paralegals support lawyers. They collect information, take notes during trials, meet with legal clients to discuss cases, draft correspondence for lawyers, file affidavits, complete paperwork, and much more. A job as a paralegal may be a good fit if you are organized, pay attention to detail, are interested in law, and if you enjoy working closely with someone in a supportive role. A paralegal associate degree will qualify you to enter this position upon graduating, and earning certification will help you stand out among other job candidates.

Online Paralegal Professional Requirements

Certified Paralegal/Advanced Certified Paralegal

NALA, the premier paralegal association in the United States, offers two different certifications for graduates from paralegal programs to prove the breadth of their knowledge to potential employer: the Certified Paralegal credential and the Advanced Certified Paralegal credential. Both of these credentials are earned by completing a series of coursework and exams through NALA.

Is it required?


How long will it take?

Several months