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 associate’s and bachelor’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, career projections, and more.
- There are 16 colleges and universities that offer paralegal/legal assistant degree programs in Alabama.1
- 6 schools offer a certificate program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
- 13 schools offer an associate’s degree program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
- 3 schools offer a bachelor’s degree program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
- No schools offer a master’s or advanced degree for paralegals/legal assistants.1
- 2 schools ranked in Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 2018.2
- No schools ranked in Paralegal411’s Top Online Paralegal Programs in 2018.3
- No schools ranked in College Factual’s Best Colleges Offering Degrees in Legal Professions in 2018.4
- 1 school ranked in US News Best Law Schools in 2019.5
- 5 not-for-profit ABA-approved paralegal degree programs are in Alabama.6
Top-Ranked Schools with Paralegal Programs
Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges 2018*
- Auburn University (#69 in-state, #65 out-of-state)
- University of Alabama (#48 in-state, #59 out-of-state)
US News Best Law Schools 2019
- University of Alabama (#27 tie)
Schools with Paralegal Programs Approved by the ABA
- Auburn University
- Enterprise State Community College
- Community College of the Air Force
- Samford University
- Faulkner University
Paralegal Degree Programs in Alabama
The Certificate in Paralegal Studies at Samford University can be obtained through several paths depending upon the educational history and goals of each student. The program aims to promote substantive knowledge of legal procedure, concepts, and terms, as well as impart a thorough understanding of ethical and professional business practices. Designed specifically for working students, Samford’s Adult Degree Programs offer lower tuition rates for evening courses and further assistance is available through low-interest loan options. As the oldest established paralegal degree program in Alabama, Samford University hosts the only American Bar Association approved paralegal education program in the Birmingham area and has an excellent record of producing capable, knowledgeable, and ethically aware graduates.
Faulkner University offers an Associate of Science (AS) and a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Legal Studies. The AS in Legal Studies degree comprises 71 to 73 hours, and courses in the major include Law Office Management, Paralegal Portfolio, Tort Law, Civil Procedure, and electives like Family Law and Probate, Wills, Estates, and Trust. The BS in Legal Studies degree consists of 123 to 129 hours, and courses in the major include Law Office Management, Tort Law, Paralegal Portfolio, Evidence for Paralegals, Constitutional Law, Interview and Interrogation, and electives such as Criminology, CJ Ethics, and Terrorism. Legal studies students at Faulkner are all encouraged to complete an internship in conjunction with their regular curriculum. An internship is worth three semester hours of credit, and some students may choose to complete more than one internship.
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.
The Paralegal Certificate Course at Auburn University is an ideal choice for prospective paralegals wishing to complete a certificate program while working full-time. The program consists of six weekend-based sessions (Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM) that teach students to assist trial attorneys, interview witnesses, investigate fact patterns, prepare cases for courtroom litigation and draft legal documents. Additionally, the content of the coursework varies slightly to reflect areas of law in which legal assistants and paralegals are most in demand. As an intensive and career-oriented course sequence, this program does require a substantial amount of outside homework and research to supplement in-class instruction. A high school diploma or GED is the only prerequisite for the program.
Online Paralegal Programs
Gadsden State Community College
Gadsden State Community College (GSCC) offers a paralegal associate’s degree for which many of the required courses can be completed online, though students who have not previously taken 10 credit hours of legal specialty courses in-person will need to attend some legal specialty courses on campus. The program emphasizes practical legal, organization, writing, and research and investigative skills. Courses students can expect to take include Legal Research and Writing; Domestic Law; Civil Law and Procedure; and Criminal Law and Procedure. Throughout the program, students benefit from the faculty’s expertise and real-world experience in the legal field. Graduates receive an Associate in Applied Science degree and are typically prepared to sit for the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) national certification exams. GSCC’s paralegal program is the only two-year program in Alabama approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).
University of South Alabama
The University of South Alabama offers a paralegal studies certificate that can be completed entirely online. All modules in the program are self-paced and offered through a partnership with ed2go. Those enrolled in the program take modules such as Paralegal in the Legal System, Introduction to Legal Analysis, and Legal Writing. Students have 12 months from the start of classes to complete all requirements to earn the certificate. Program completers are prepared for entry-level paralegal careers. Those who meet the educational requirements will also be prepared to sit for the National Association of Legal Assistants Certified Paralegal exam. The registration fee for the exam is included in the cost of the program, as are access to Westlaw: Legal Solutions and all required course materials.
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. Kiplinger’s Best College Values in Public Colleges: https://www.kiplinger.com/tool/college/T014-S001-best-college-values-college-finder/index.php#Tile
3. Paralegal411’s Top Online Paralegal Programs: https://www.paralegal411.org/degrees/bachelors/online/
4. College Factual’s Best Colleges Offering Degrees in Legal Professions in 2018: https://www.collegefactual.com/majors/legal-studies-and-professions/rankings/top-ranked//
5. US News Best Law Schools: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/law-rankings
6. American Bar Association Approved Paralegal Programs: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/paralegals/