The paralegal field seems to always be expanding, with qualified professionals easily landing jobs in some of the most notable firms right after graduation. That’s likely due to the fast pace of expansion and growth in the legal field itself, though it might also be a tribute to the quality of the country’s most prestigious paralegal degree programs. From coast to coast, a number of excellent programs are helping graduates get the skills they need to gain employment, demand higher salaries, and enjoy a rewarding career in the legal profession.
Though there are thousands of paralegal degree programs and certificates, there are five programs that rank heads and shoulders above the rest. Whether it’s due to outstanding instruction, integration with a university’s law school, or proximity to a thriving legal community, these schools are the best bet for aspiring paralegals.
1. Widener University School of Law
Widener University’s School of Law is the only law school in all of Delaware, and it serves as a major destination for aspiring paralegals in the greater Philadelphia metropolitan area. The law school actually administers the four-year undergraduate program in paralegal studies, making it one of the most unique programs in the country. Students take undergraduate general education classes at the university’s traditional campus, and then schedule their degree programs through the law school.
That gives paralegal students access to some of the country’s leading legal minds, as nearby Philadelphia is a hub of legal jobs and professional advancement. With a robust number of internship opportunities in Philadelphia, as well as in the Delaware cities of Wilmington and Newark, the educational opportunities at Widener University are a great option for students.
2. Kaplan University
The paralegal studies program that students can enroll in through Kaplan University is easily the best one offered by an online institution. When it developed its paralegal studies program, Kaplan University was determined to give students access to real world professionals who could not only instruct, but also relate the theory of a class to the reality of the legal profession. It has managed to do this with great success.
All of Kaplan’s courses are offered online, and students can participate in accelerated terms that allow them to receive their degree faster and begin their career sooner than they would be able to at competing colleges. With great instruction, excellent job prospects, and great financial aid, Kaplan is an excellent choice for online learners.
3. Villanova University
While none of Villanova’s classes are offered online, the university does operate both daytime and evening paralegal studies degree programs that are perfect for young students and young professionals alike. The university is situated in the western Philadelphia suburbs, giving it access to the thriving legal community contained within the city itself. Additionally, courses draw upon the excellent knowledge, experience, and research, of the Villanova School of Law.
Villanova’s suburban location makes it perfect for anyone in the greater Philadelphia area, as well as anyone throughout the northeast who doesn’t mind commuting between the school and home via the Northeast Corridor trains operated by Amtrak. With day and evening classes, and a number of innovative financial aid programs and scholarships, Villanova is a serious contender for aspiring paralegals.
4. Platt College
Platt is a distinctly Californian institution, with two university campuses that are designed to serve both Greater Los Angeles and the so-called Inland Empire. Courses are offered at both of those campuses, as well as online, and the university gives students the option to accelerate their degree program quite a bit. Both Associate’s and Bachelor ’s degree options are provided, with accelerated Bachelor ’s degrees taking just 26 months to complete.
Though it is considered a private university, Platt College has the right financial aid to make their degrees easily affordable by students of all income levels. With online courses, and two offline campuses, local residents and students nationwide will find Platt to be quite accessible.
5. Tulane University
Tulane University maintains campuses in Chicago and New Orleans, and it’s one of the best paralegal schools in the country. The diverse selection of degrees includes an Associate’s and a Bachelor’s, as well a post-baccalaureate work and a certificate program in paralegal skills. Courses rely on professors with real legal experience, and represent one of the best ways for southern and Midwestern students to learn at a local campus while pursuing a nationally recognized degree.
Great Options for Aspiring Paralegals
The paralegal field is highly developed, very competitive, and very lucrative for skilled graduates. With the five degree programs mentioned here, students give themselves a shot at the best jobs, the best salaries, and the best learning experiences, available anywhere in the country.