Top 10 Low-Cost Accredited Online Paralegal Certificate Programs 2024

paralegal

Author: Tom Panter / Reviewed By: Melissa Anderson, MS.Ed. / Original Publication Date: May 2021 / Updates: 1

Key Takeaways:

  • The top two schools for online paralegal certificate programs are Duke University and Boston University, offering high-quality education.
  • Online paralegal certificate programs provide flexible learning opportunities, career growth potential, and specialized training tailored to legal professions.
  • Criteria for evaluating online paralegal certificate programs include affordability, academic rigor, faculty quality, and program outcomes.

A paralegal is a legal professional who works under the supervision of a lawyer. Duties include:

Featured Programs

  • drafting legal documents
  • conducting investigation and data analysis
  • legal research
  • interviewing witnesses
  • supporting litigation efforts

Paralegal certificates are a great option for students interested in the legal field but can’t commit the time and money needed for a law degree. In just one year, this certificate provides them with the qualifications for legal system paralegal employment. It can mean:

  • above-average income
  • greater job availability
  • improved working conditions

Our list of the top 10 affordable online accredited paralegal certificates began with a list of certificate programs with costs under $13,000 (based on tuition reported to College Navigator). These programs were then ranked according to the program’s quality (based on graduation rate and student-to-teacher ratio). Accreditation for these online paralegal certificate programs is granted by a recognized accrediting agency such as a national association like the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. Even if a program is nationally accredited, the school itself should also have regional accreditation. Degrees without regional accreditation are hardly worth the paper they’re printed on.

The top 10 affordable accredited paralegal certificates online are:

10. Herkimer County Community College

Herkimer, New York

Online Paralegal Studies Certificate

Website

Tuition: $5,776

The paralegal studies certificate program at HCCC is a new and exciting online program that is designed to train students in the core legal content areas as well as legal research. The 31-credit program is normally completed in just two semesters of self paced study. Upon successful completion, graduates will be prepared to work in a variety of settings, such as

  • law firms
  • district attorney offices
  • public defender offices
  • governmental agencies 

Pros:

  • Accelerated format

Cons:

  • Low graduation rate

9. Yavapai College

Prescott, Arizona

Paralegal Studies Certificate Online

Website

Tuition: $2,838

Yavapai College offers a 30-credit, two-semester paralegal certificate program that can be completed entirely online. The program is designed to prepare students for positions as paralegals in both the legal and business fields. Upon successful completion, students will be able to assist attorneys by:

  • preparing legal documents
  • researching and compiling information
  • communicating with clients  

Pros:

  • Affordability
  • ROI

Cons:

  • Low graduation rate

8. Ocean County College

Toms River, New Jersey

Certificate of Proficiency in Paralegal Studies Online

Website

Tuition: $5,122

The paralegal certificate program at Ocean County College is a great option for those looking to earn an online certificate to either begin their work in the American legal system or upgrade their existing skillset without attending law school. During the course of the 33-credit self-paced program, students will study law and acquire practical legal skills that are needed for entry-level employment. All courses in the certificate program can be applied to an AAS, and many exciting elective courses are available to students. 

Pros:

  • Smaller class sizes
  • Better-than-average ROI

Cons:

  • Low graduation rate

7. Tompkins Cortland Community College

Dryden, New York

Paralegal Certificate Online

Website

Tuition: $6,946

At Tompkins Cortland Community College, students can earn a paralegal certificate completely online.  This program is particularly convenient, as the classes are all offered asynchronously, and they can be started any semester. The 32-credit, two-semester program was created for students looking to enhance their professional opportunities in the legal field without going to law school. The curriculum includes basic orientation and academic exposure to a variety of legal subjects as well as the principles of legal writing, automated technology in the field, and the American legal system.  

Pros:

  • Small class sizes
  • Flexible, asynchronous format

Cons:

  • Less diverse
  • Low graduation rate

6. Columbus Technical College

Columbus, Georgia

Paralegal Studies Diploma Online

Website

Tuition: $3,042

The paralegal studies certificate program at Columbus Technical College is an affordable, online option, with a course sequence that prepares students for paralegal positions in the legal system. Graduates of the school have a 99% job placement rate. The 38-credit program emphasizes:

  • ethical obligations
  • research of state and federal law
  • legal correspondence preparation
  • family law matters
  • criminal law procedures  

Pros:

  • Excellent job placement rate
  • Small class sizes

Cons:

  • Low graduation rate

5. Hutchinson Community College

Hutchinson, Kansas

Paralegal Certificate Online

Website

Tuition: $3,720

Hutchinson Community College offers an online paralegal certificate that is fully accredited by the HLC.  This 36-credit program prepares students for entry-level employment as a paralegal or legal assistant in the legal industry.  During the course of the program, students will learn skills like:

  • scheduling
  • organizing and maintaining files
  • legal writing
  • conducting research
  • preparing legal documentation  

Pros:

  • Above-average ROI

Cons:

  • Low graduation rate

4. Southern Crescent Technical College

Griffin, Georgia

Paralegal Studies Diploma Online

Website

Tuition: $3,126

Southern Crescent Technical College offers a certificate program in paralegal studies that can be completed entirely online. This 39-credit program is typically completed in three terms, and students have the flexibility of entering the program in the spring, fall, or summer. The courses are intended to prepare students for positions in the legal industry and the paralegal profession. Additionally, the program emphasizes opportunities that provide students with the specialized legal knowledge and skills required to most effectively aid lawyers in the delivery of legal services with or without automated technology. 

Pros:

  • Above average ROI
  • Flexibility

Cons:

  • Low graduation rate

3. Holmes Community College

Goodman, Mississippi

Paralegal Technology Certificate Online 

Website

Tuition: $3,510

The paralegal technology certificate program at Holmes Community College is an affordable option for those looking to enter the legal field at the paralegal level. The 30-credit, one-year program is designed to help students develop the skills needed to become entry-level paralegals and legal assistants. The classes are conveniently offered in both eight-week and 16-week terms. Classes are scheduled during the morning hours, allowing for students to work part-time while completing the program.

Pros:

  • Affordability
  • Accelerated format

Cons:

  • Low graduation rate

2. Itawamba Community College

Fulton, Mississippi

Paralegal Career Certificate Online

Website

Tuition: $3,420

At Itawamba Community College, students can complete a highly affordable, online paralegal certificate program in only one year. The 30-credit program is designed to prepare individuals to perform important legal work as legal assistants while being supervised by an attorney. The curriculum includes training in a number of legal areas, including:

  • the legal system
  • civil litigation
  • legal research and writing
  • automated technology
  • family laws
  • wills and estates

Pros:

  • Affordability
  • Accelerated format

Cons:

  • Larger class sizes
  • Less diverse

1. Clovis Community College

Clovis, New Mexico

Certificate of Completion in Paralegal (Legal Assistant Studies) Online 

Website

Tuition: $1,736

Clovis Community College ranks first on our list of top affordable paralegal certificate programs. This 33-credit online program takes two semesters of online learning to complete and does not require the student to ever step foot on campus. CCC offers training and instruction from a broad-based perspective, and the curriculum covers many different areas of law, allowing students to explore the discipline and become legal assistants. Topics covered include:

  • legal writing
  • litigation
  • criminal law
  • family law
  • real estate law
  • wills and estates

Pros:

  • Affordability
  • Small class sizes

Cons:

  • Low graduation rate

Sources

  • National Center for Education Statistics: College Navigator
  • US Department of Education: College Scorecard

This concludes our article on the top 10 online paralegal programs.