Paralegal Schools in Florida
The colleges and universities in Florida offer a wide array of options for pursuing a certificate or degree to support a career as a paralegal or legal assistant. The paralegal schools in Florida can also offer opportunities for specialization in paralegal practice areas such as real estate law or estate planning. This guide to paralegal schools in Florida will provide you with the information you need to choose the right school for your interests and desired career track.
Paralegal Program Stats
- There are 63 colleges and universities that offer a paralegal/legal assistant degree program in Florida.
- 4 schools offer a certificate program for paralegals/legal assistants.
- 59 schools offer an associate’s degree program for paralegals/legal assistants.
- 16 schools offer a bachelor’s degree program for paralegals/legal assistants.
- 8 not-for-profit ABA-approved paralegal degree programs in Florida.
- Highest graduation rate: University of Central Florida 63%.1
- Highest transfer-out rate: Schiller International University 60%.1
- Highest net price per year: Schiller International University $25,892.1
- Lowest net price per year: Indian River State College $1,978.1
- Highest student population: Miami Dade College 63,736.1
- Lowest student population: Millennia Atlantic University 70.1
- Annual tuition range for paralegal programs at community colleges and career schools in Florida: $2,446-$18,3602
- 3 schools in US News Best Law Schools Rankings of 2013 (top 100): University of Florida #46, Florida State University #48, University of Miami #76
Continue reading for more information about paralegal schools in Florida as well as information about potential career tracks and projected salaries for paralegals and legal assistants.
Paralegal Degree Programs in Florida
Florida State College at Jacksonville
Florida State College at Jacksonville offers an ABA-approved Paralegal Studies program that is designed to develop students for careers as paralegals and legal assistants and specialists in a variety of law-related professions. Critical thinking, problem-solving, group research, and law-related technology are the cornerstones of this program’s diverse curriculum. Following completion of the professional core courses, students are given the opportunity to apply their academic experience to a professional setting through an internship program in which students work 180+ hours per week in a law-related office. Graduates from this program meet the educational requirements to sit for the CLA.CP exam.
Internships/clerkships at law firms, legal aid societies, and governmental agencies are a great way to get a foot in the door. Many have started as legal assistants/administrative assistants which allows for commencing on the ground floor and working up the legal ladder.” –Patricia DeRamus, ACP, FRP, President of the Paralegal Association of Florida, Inc.
Miami Dade College
Miami Dade College houses the only ABA approved paralegal program in Miami. The Associate in Science Degree in Paralegal Studies has also been recognized by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE), indicating a consistently high degree of recognition within the field. The Paralegal Studies Program emphasizes written and oral communication skills, basic legal knowledge, effective problem solving, business ethics and analysis of legal documents such as wills, contracts, and incorporations. Graduates are competitive candidates for legal and paralegal careers in law offices, government agencies, and corporate legal departments.
Florida SouthWestern State College (f/k/a Edison State College)
The Associate in Sciences degree in Paralegal Studies at Florida SouthWestern State College (f/k/a Edison State College) in Fort Meyers, FL equips students with basic knowledge of an array of legal subjects including legal research and writing, criminal law, real estate law, family law, wills, trusts, torts, and litigation. Approved by the ABA, Florida SouthWestern State’s Paralegal program emphasizes strong communication and presentation skills, financial skills and technological skills, preparing students to enter the legal field as competitive candidates. Graduates of this program are qualified to sit for the National Association of Legal Assistants CLA/CP exam. The flexible course schedule is designed to accommodate both full-time and part-time students with classes offered in day, evening, and weekend formats.
American Bar Association Approved Paralegal Programs in Florida (Not-for-Profit)
- Broward College (f/k/a Broward Community College) (Pembroke Pines)
- Florida SouthWestern State College (f/k/a Edison State College) (Ft. Myers)
- Florida State College at Jacksonville
- Miami Dade College (Miami)
- Nova Southeastern University (Fort Lauderdale)
- Seminole State (formerly Community) College (Sanford)
- St. Petersburg College (Clearwater)
- Valencia College (formerly Valencia Community College) (Orlando)
College of Central Florida
3001 SW College Rd
Ocala, FL 34474
Student Review: “The College of Central Florida’s paralegal program was a unique and educational experience. The courses were generally divided between legal classes, technology and office support classes, and general education requirements, with a decent range of opportunities for electives. The head of the paralegal program was very helpful and liked to ensure that her students were well-informed about career opportunities after leaving the school, sending out periodic e-mails regarding job openings. Many of the other professors who taught the legal classes were attentive and insightful, though the same could not be said of other professors with few exceptions. Additionally, since many of the classes I took were online, the school needs drastic improvements in that area. Many courses were unorganized and unfinished and some of the professors admitted that they had little working knowledge of how to manage online courses. Overall, I value the education that I received but I believe the school needs to offer better training to professors.” -Student at College of Central Florida
Daytona State College
1200 W International Speedway Blvd
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
Student Review: “So when I attended the paralegal program over at Daytona State College in Daytona Florida. I would say I had a pretty decent experience. The professors were really friendly and helpful and help me a lot especially when I have problems. I remember on one occasion I was on the verge of dropping out of school. And one of the professors came to my home to make sure that everything was okay. So in terms of the friendliness of the school and the family like environment I think there is no other college that can match Daytona State in my opinion. On the other hand there were a few other professors in which felt like were under qualified to teach a college level course. I mean we literally had a professor that would just read definitions from the textbook when I took legal terminology back in 2012. That was a not fun experience because the class was at night and the majority of the class would basically go to sleep. The professor would just go on and on and on about legal nonsense and jargon. And of course since I was paying for the course I wasnÃ¢t about to go to sleep but trust me was very difficult. I think I had a really good experience though I met a lot of friends that I still work with today. And they even help me find my first job, which I thought, was amazing. So if I had to write my experience is out of 10 I would probably give Daytona state a 7 only because what they lack in terms of quality of the education they gain in terms of providing in an environment thatÃ¢s conducive to learning.” -Student at Daytona State College
Florida State College at Jacksonville
101 W State St
Jacksonville, FL 32202
Student Review: “I enjoyed my time in the paralegal program. I learned a lot and the class sizes were small, maybe 20-25 students. I like that much better than a huge lecture hall type environment. There was a lot of one on one interaction with professors. The student community was really involved, as well. They organized a very well run paralegal association. They hosted meetings, field trips, and volunteer tours of different firms. The school is also very good about finding jobs for graduates. I still constantly get emails alerting me to full time and part time jobs, as well as internships. My only complaint would be that there are not as many full time professors as I would’ve liked. Most of them are adjunct professors with other jobs, and this limits their office hours. All in all, I was satisfied with my college experience at Florida State College at Jacksonville.” -Student at Florida State College at Jacksonville
St. Petersburg College
6605 5th Ave N
St. Petersburg, FL 33710
Student Review: “The paralegal studies program at St. Petersburg College has been somewhat of a ‘roller-coaster’ experience for me. I have really enjoyed my classes and my instructors, for the most part. They’ve made the curriculum interesting and fun by using a vast array of learning activities and tools. I only have two major complaints. The first is that the professors teaching the courses are pretty much all lawyers with a day job. Therefore, required classes are only offered early in the morning or very late at night. In addition to that, the program only offers certain classes during certain terms. It’s likely that you end up wasting a semester or two waiting to take a class that is most often a pre-requisite for the current courses being offered. My other major complaint is that a lot of the required reading materials are written by the teachers or affiliates of the school and they are textbooks that are specific to St. Petersburg College. Also, they come ‘loose-leaf’. The major problem with this is that when the class is over, the school doesn’t buy back ‘loose-leaf’ textbooks and because it’s school specific it can’t be sold on the Internet either. All of the books are $150-$300 for which you can’t get any money back after passing the class. To me, that’s unethical and financially irresponsible. As a student, it becomes very costly. One of the important things that the school offers in reference to the paralegal studies program is a discussion board where the department head posts available jobs. She makes sure that it’s active and updated on a daily basis which is a wonderful way to ensure that the students become successful after graduation. I learned not only excellent workplace skills but some teachers were sure to include life skills as well.” -Student at St. Petersburg College
Student Review: “The paralegal program at St. Petersburg College was a wonderful experience. First, the head of the program, Dr. Susan Demers, is a passionate and experience professional who is dedicated to excellence in paralegal programming. Her vision is well supported by a full-time staff. Dr. Christie Powers a savvy lawyer, is well informed about the curriculum, guiding students according to desired goals. Dr. Powers also teaches the Certification Exam Preparation Course. I passed the dreaded NALA exam on the first try. Then there is Dr. Rachel Bennett’s Legal Assistant Seminar and Work Experience “exit course.” As a third career individual, that course took my archaic resume and transformed it into a functional one. The role playing was pragmatic and helpful in overcoming interview jitters. I was employed within weeks after graduation. Dr. Bennett is very compassionate and responds to students in their uniqueness. Then there are the amazing adjuncts; judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys bringing to bare their experiences upon my eager yearning for a complete paralegal education. This program is approved by the American Bar Association and the well-coordinated effort by the Dean and staff, along with the experienced adjuncts, makes it one on the best paralegal programs in America.” -Student at St. Petersburg College
University of Central Florida
4000 Central Florida Blvd
Orlando, FL 32816
Student Review: “The paralegal program at UCF varied a lot by teacher. However, most of the professors were very knowledgeable about the subject matter and really loved what they were teaching us. As I stated, this varied a lot depending on the instructor of the course. Some of the instructors were a little bit lazy and would only provide slide shows and read directly off the slides. Although many people enjoy the ease of memorization of material, I felt as though it was a waste of money to merely memorize and not learn the material. I loved the legal research and writing classes because we learned through actually completing research projects or writing assignments rather than just being talked at. Overall I believe the good outweighed the bad and I learned a great deal from the professors who actually cared about educating us!” -Student at University of Central Florida
Student Review: “The program was well structured, and the professors all had legitimately successful legal backgrounds. However the program is really most useful for students planning on attending law school. I wasn’t able to land any internships while attending UCF, and I did little to no networking. I would attribute these two factors (or the lack of) to not landing any related job after graduating. I ended up joining the Military. Unless you plan on attending law school, or have some existing connection to someone in the legal field who could help place you in a job, I would not recommend this program. The jobs available with this degree are low paying, and are highly competitive to be hired. The courses are great and well taught, I just don’t believe there is much you can do with the undergraduate knowledge by itself.” -Student at University of Central Florida
1800 S Kirkman Rd
Orlando, FL 32811
Student Review: “Overall, I enjoyed my experience at Valencia in their paralegal studies program. My professors were all successful attorneys with years of hands-on experience. The classes were informative and relevant to the industry. Valencia really emphasizes legal research, which is probably the most challenging and time consuming part of the courses. They also require the Introduction to Paralegal Studies class, which is great if you’re on the fence about the field. My favorite class was the real property (real estate) class, which is a big deal in Florida since we are so reliant on property and its taxes. They also require classes in business law, civil litigation and criminal law, as well as classes to improve your proficiency with technology. They have a huge, on-site legal library and plenty of resources to help you succeed. Post-graduation, however, the lack of career services really disappointed me, with nearly all of my fellow classmates having trouble finding a job within their field, as well as myself. There really is no alumni support, although they do periodically send me emails asking for feedback to help further students. Overall, I do recommend Valencia. It is a great school that offers a thorough education. Just be prepared to do your own career hunting and don’t expect much (if any) support from the school.” -Student at Valencia College
1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Niche College Search: https://www.niche.com/colleges/search/best-colleges/