Paralegal Schools in Alabama
The following guide to paralegal schools in Alabama is designed to provide you with key information so that you can make the right choice on where to pursue a paralegal degree. Alabama’s colleges and universities offer a variety of paralegal programs at the certificate, associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree levels that can help you further your career in the legal field. Some paralegal degree programs are even offered fully or partially online, which may be a better match for your skills and career goals. Continue reading to learn more about obtaining a paralegal degree in Alabama through profiles of popular programs. Or, please visit our paralegal careers in Alabama guide to find out information on paralegal opportunities in the state.
- There are 9 colleges and universities that offer paralegal/legal assistant degree programs in Alabama.1
- 4 schools offer a certificate program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
- 7 schools offer an associate’s degree program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
- 2 schools offer a bachelor’s degree program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
- 1 school offers a master’s degree for paralegals/legal assistants.1
- No schools ranked in Paralegal411’s Top Online Paralegal Programs.2
- 2 schools ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Law Schools in 2022.3
- 2 schools ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Legal Writing Programs in 2022.4
- 5 ABA-approved paralegal degree programs are in Alabama.5
For not-for-profit colleges and universities with paralegal/legal assistant degree programs.
Table of Contents
- Comparison of Paralegal Programs
- Top-Ranked Schools with Paralegal Programs in Alabama
- Select Schools in Alabama with Paralegal Degrees
- Student Reviews
Comparison of Paralegal Programs
The table below will help you compare not-for-profit paralegal and legal studies programs in Alabama based on various factors. The table includes paralegal program-specific information such as the programs offered and whether there are any online options. It also includes general school information to help you compare the colleges and universities that host these programs, including overall acceptance rate, graduation rate for first-time bachelor’s degree seekers, median debt for graduates, and net tuition per year for full-time undergraduate study. We have also included information on approval by the American Bar Association (ABA). While ABA approval is not required in order to work as a paralegal, it is a mark of program quality that is preferred by many employers.
|School||ABA Approved?||Paralegal Degree(s)||Acceptance Rate6||Grad Rate1||Online Options?||Median Debt7||Net Price1|
|Calhoun Community College (Decatur)||Yes||AAS-Paralegal Studies||100%||19%||—||$5,500||$9,324|
|Coastal Alabama Community College (Bay Minette)||—||Certificate-Paralegal;|
|Community College of the Air Force (Montgomery)||Yes||AAS-Paralegal||N.Av.||N.Av.||—||N.Av.||N.Av.|
|Enterprise State Community College (Enterprise)||Yes||Certificate-Paralegal Studies;|
|Faulkner University (Montgomery)||Yes||AS-Legal Studies;|
|Gadsden State Community College (Gadsden)||Yes||Certificate-Paralegal;|
|George C. Wallace State Community College-Hanceville (Hanceville)||—||AAS-Paralegal Studies||N.Av.||44%||—||$7,750||$7,094|
|Samford University (Birmingham)||—||BA-History: Legal Studies;|
Master of Studies in Law-Legal Operations
|Shelton State Community College (Tuscaloosa)||—||Certificate-Business Office Management and Technology: Paralegal||100%||20%||—||N.Av.||$6,907|
- — indicates none.
- N.Av. indicates no data available.
Top-Ranked Schools with Paralegal Programs
US News & World Report’s Best Law Schools 2022
- Samford University (#144 tie)
- Faulkner University (#147-193)
US News & World Report’s Best Legal Writing Programs 2022
- Faulkner University(#166 tie)
- Samford University (#166 tie)
Select Schools in Alabama with Paralegal Degrees
The ABA-approved Associate in Applied Science (AAS) at Calhoun Community College will help students develop legal research, legal writing, and office management skills while offering education in various substantive areas of the law. The five-semester program requires 64 to 65 credits to complete and includes coursework that will allow graduates to assist lawyers in various legal settings. The curriculum consists of both general education and paralegal courses beginning in the first semester. Paralegal courses cover legal topics such as property and domestic law as well as practical skills such as law office management and public speaking. In the final semester, students will have the opportunity to pursue a paralegal internship, during which they will spend 150 hours applying skills learned in the program to a professional environment. The internship requires a grade of “C” or higher in the prerequisite classes. All paralegal courses are taught by practicing attorneys.
Students of Coastal Alabama Community College can earn an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Paralegal structured to help students pursue careers as paralegals or legal assistants. The 68-credit degree includes general and major coursework throughout the program, though most general education courses are taken in the first year. Classes in the program cover both practical skills and legal education. Over the course of four semesters, students will take classes such as American National Government; Basic Research and Writing; The Legal and Social Environment of Business; and Domestic Law. Coastal Alabama has designed the AAS in Paralegal for students intending to go directly into the workforce, so some courses may not transfer to a four-year program. Graduates and students will have access to career services such as resume-building tools and career coaching. In addition to the AAS, Coastal Alabama offers three Paralegal Certificates in Advanced Substantive Law, Basic Substantive Law, and Legal Analysis.
Enterprise State Community College (ESCC) hosts an ABA-approved Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Paralegal Studies that will help students find employment in law firms and legal departments by developing their skills in research, investigation, and drafting contracts. The 65-credit program includes general education subjects such as psychology and math as well as courses in practical and substantive legal subjects. Throughout the four-semester program, students will take paralegal courses such as Criminal Law and Procedures; Civil Law and Procedure; Basic Legal Research and Writing; and Law Office Management and Procedures. Students will also have the opportunity to take an Internship in Paralegalism course, during which they will take a position, either paid or unpaid, in a working legal environment. Graduates of the AAS in Paralegal Studies will be prepared to assist attorneys in law offices, legal departments, and government offices. ESCC also offers an ABA-approved Certificate in Legal Assistant/Paralegal that requires 47 credits. The Legal Assistant/Paralegal programs at ESCC are designed for students seeking to enter the workforce, not as transfer programs; therefore, some credits may not transfer to a four-year program.
Gadsden State Community College (GSCC) offers an ABA-approved Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Paralegal Studies that requires 71 credit hours to complete. Students will develop skills in drafting legal documents, legal research, and procedural law. Coursework is divided between 22 credits of general education courses in subjects such as biology and economics and 49 credits of paralegal courses like Advanced Legal Research and Writing; Domestic Law; Civil Law and Procedure; and Criminal Law and Procedure. Students will be required to demonstrate applied legal knowledge in order to prepare for entry-level positions as paralegals. Opportunities for hands-on learning are offered through the internship course and pro bono activities with the Gadsden State Paralegal Association. Transferring students may transfer up to six credit hours of legal coursework to the Paralegal Studies program. Graduates of the program should be prepared to sit for the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) certification exams.
What are your strengths and weaknesses? Try to find a way to turn your weaknesses into strengths. If you lack job experience, present it as a clean slate. It will be easier for you to adjust to your new employer’s way of doing things. By knowing who you are and what you are looking for, you can go into any interview with the confidence to answer any question that may be asked and present your best self.” –Julie Craft, Advanced Certified Paralegal, President of the Alabama Association of Paralegals, Inc., and paralegal at Chenault Hammond, PC.
Hybrid and Online Programs
Faulkner University offers an Associate of Science (AS) and a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Legal Studies, both of which are ABA-approved. The AS in Legal Studies degree is comprised of 74 credit hours of courses including Law Office Management, Paralegal Portfolio, Tort Law, Civil Procedure, and electives like Family Law and Real Property Law. The BS in Legal Studies degree consists of 120 hours, with classes such as Evidence for Paralegals; Constitutional Law; Interview and Interrogation; and electives like Criminology, Criminal Justice Ethics, and Terrorism. To accommodate different scheduling needs, classes are offered during the day, evening, and online. Legal Studies students at Faulkner are encouraged to complete an internship in conjunction with their regular curriculum to help gain exposure to a professional legal environment before graduation. In order to complete either program, a student must pass the course Paralegal Portfolio and a comprehensive final exam with a grade of “C” or higher.
The Cumberland School of Law at Samford University offers a Master of Studies in Law (MSL) with a Concentration in Legal Operations that can be completed in just 24 months. The 34-credit hour MSL program is available entirely online and will help students develop an understanding of legal databases, the ethical issues of policy and compliance, and terminology used in the legal field. The Legal Operations curriculum is designed to help prepare students for positions as litigation paralegals or firm administrators for paralegals seeking career advancement. MSL students will take required courses such as Principles of Business Law; Legal Writing and Communication Skills, and Introduction to Law and Legal Procedure. The Legal Operations concentration includes classes in accounting, e-discovery, and firm management. Admission to the MSL program requires a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of at least 3.0. GRE or MAT scores are not required, but recommended. Graduates of the MSL in Legal Operations program will be able to sit for the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (CDS) certification exam and the Organization of Legal Professionals (OLP) Certified E-Discovery Professional (CeDP) exam.
Auburn University Montgomery
7400 East Dr
Montgomery, AL 36117
Student Review: “The Auburn University Montgomery Paralegal Studies program was truthfully an amazing experience for me. My major was Justice & Public Safety, but that program has two separate study tracks: Criminal Justice and Paralegal Studies. I was on the paralegal studies track and loved every second of it. I loved the professors. They were so knowledgeable and always available to help when needed. They were encouraging and my advisor was really a mentor to me. The classes were scheduled in such a way that you could work around any schedule. I took most of mine at night and worked during the day. AUM is a smaller school and really fit me perfectly. In all honesty, I cannot think of anything that I didn’t love about the program.”
1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Paralegal411’s Top Online Paralegal Programs: https://www.paralegal411.org/degrees/bachelors/online/
3. US News & World Report Best Law Schools 2022: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/law-rankings
4. US News & World Report Best Legal Writing Programs 2022: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/legal-writing-rankings
5. American Bar Association Approved Paralegal Programs: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/paralegals/
6. Niche: https://www.niche.com/
7. Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, Ranking ROI of 4,500 US Colleges and Universities: https://cew.georgetown.edu/cew-reports/CollegeROI/