Paralegal Schools in Iowa
Whether you are interested in earning a certificate or a degree in the paralegal field, the paralegal schools in Iowa have a variety of options that may be a match for your skills, interests, and career goals. The paralegal programs available in Iowa include general programs as well as specialized ones to prepare students for specialty practice upon graduation. Online paralegal schools are also an option for students who are interested in launching or improving their paralegal careers and need more flexibility. Find out more about career opportunities for paralegals and legal assistants with our guide to paralegal careers in Iowa.
- There are 8 colleges and universities that offer paralegal/legal assistant degree programs in Iowa.1
- 3 schools offer a certificate program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
- 4 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
- 2 schools offer a master’s or advanced 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
- 1 ABA-approved paralegal degree program is in Iowa.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 Iowa
- Select Schools in Iowa 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 Iowa based on various factors. The table includes the paralegal programs offered, the graduation rate for first-time bachelor’s degree seekers, and the average net price of tuition for in-state students after financial aid awards. 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|
|Des Moines Area Community College (Des Moines)||Yes||Certificate-Paralegal;|
|Drake University (Des Moines)||—||BA-Law, Politics, and Society;|
Master of Jurisprudence-Individualized Legal Studies
|Grand View University (Des Moines)||—||BA-Paralegal Studies||96%||56%||Yes||$18,000||$19,423|
|Iowa Lakes Community College (Estherville)||—||AAS-Paralegal & Legal Studies||100%||46%||Yes||$6,500||$9,804|
|Kirkwood Community College (Cedar Rapids)||—||AAS-Paralegal Studies||100%||33%||Yes||$6,500||$8,727|
|Marshalltown Community College (Marshalltown)||—||Diploma-Paralegal;|
|University of Iowa (Iowa City)||—||Master of Studies in Law;|
Master of Laws
|Western Iowa Tech Community College (Sioux City)||—||Diploma-Paralegal/Legal Assistant;|
- — indicates none.
- N.Av. indicates no data available.
Top-Ranked Schools with Paralegal Programs
US News & World Report’s Best Law Schools 2022
- University of Iowa (#29 tie)
- Drake University (#102 tie)
US News & World Report’s Best Legal Writing Programs 2022
- Drake University (#9 tie)
- University of Iowa (#46 tie)
Select Schools in Iowa with Paralegal Degrees
The School of Arts and Sciences at Drake University offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Law, Politics, and Society (LPS) that will help students understand law as an aspect of everyday life as well as its intersections with economics, politics, and culture. Students will have the opportunity to develop critical thinking and communication skills, as well as an understanding of legal texts and court rulings. The four-year program requires 124 credit hours, of which 42 credit hours are taken towards the LPS major. Required courses in the program include Introduction to Law, Politics, and Society; LPS Perspectives on Constitutional Law; and Senior Seminar in Law, Politics, and Society, a required capstone course. Elective coursework consists of a mix of LPS courses and courses from related fields such as economics, history, and sociology. To graduate, students must maintain a GPA of at least 2.0 in all major coursework. Students seeking further study may be interested in the Drake Law School’s Master of Jurisprudence (MJ) in Individualized Legal Studies or in one of its 10 legal certificate programs.
The College of Law at the University of Iowa (Iowa Law) offers a Master of Studies in Law (MSL) intended for professionals in fields other than law who wish to understand legal issues that may arise in their work, but do not intend to practice law. The 30-credit curriculum requires students to pursue a specialty track in Business and Innovation; Law and Public Policy; or a custom specialization developed with approval from the school. Full-time students can complete the program within a single year, while part-time students must finish within four years. All MSL students must take the course Introduction to Law and Legal Reasoning; a seminar or independent study requiring legal writing; and two of Iowa Law’s first-year law school courses. The remaining 20 credits of coursework are dependent on the student’s chosen track. MSL students will have access to Iowa Law’s career services such as resume reviewing, mock interviews, and on-campus interviewing with potential employers. Iowa Law also offers a one-year Master of Laws (LLM) for foreign-trained lawyers looking for a history of the US legal system and competence in English law vocabulary.
The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Paralegal/Legal Assistant at Western Iowa Tech Community College (WITCC) is designed to help prepare students for paralegal positions in law firms, private companies, real estate, or government. Students in the 67-credit hour program will take classes in legal topics such as Legal Ethics, Family Law, and Employment Law. In addition to legal education, students will learn practical skills in legal research, legal writing, maintaining electronic records systems, and computing. The curriculum concludes with a Paralegal Internship that allows students to apply their education to a working professional environment and develop professional relationships before graduation. Graduation from the AAS in Paralegal/Legal Assistant will qualify students to sit for the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and the National Association of Legal Secretaries (NALS) certification exams. Students with a bachelor’s or associate’s degree may be interested in WITCC’s Paralegal/Legal Assistant Diploma program, which can be pursued on a part-time or full-time basis.
Hybrid and Online Programs
Through Grand View University (GVU), students can earn an online Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Paralegal Studies. This program is designed for students who have already completed their associate degree in paralegal studies and are interested in earning a bachelor’s degree. GVU has partnered with DMACC so that students can directly transfer from DMACC’s AAS in Paralegal Studies to GVU’s BA in Paralegal Studies. In addition, GVU does accept academic credit from other accredited institutions. Students complete 34 credit hours in paralegal studies, 16 credit hours in the common core, and 18 credit hours in a concentration. The program offers specialty concentrations in Business and Human Resource Management as well as Criminal Justice. Classes are offered online for students who are working professionals or in an accelerated format, with classes in the evening and on alternate Saturdays. Graduates from the BA program can go on to work as paralegals and legal assistants, as well as in related roles in government agencies, law firms, businesses, and community service legal programs.
Iowa Lakes Community College offers students an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Paralegal & Legal Studies that can be completed entirely online. Students in the 70-credit program will work to develop their abilities to analyze case law, draft legal documents, and manage a law office. The five-semester curriculum offers a mixture of general education, legal, and non-legal courses that teach skills necessary to paralegals, such as accounting, computer skills, and oral communication. The legal coursework includes classes in Legal Writing, Law Office Software, Family Law, and American Trial Process. Towards the end of the program, students will take a Legal Practicum that will place them in a law office or legal department to gain hands-on experience performing paralegal duties. Students must maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher in order to graduate with the AAS degree.
Kirkwood Community College’s Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Paralegal Studies teaches students the knowledge and skills needed to assist lawyers with a variety of legal tasks, including document preparation, investigation, and legal research. All of the courses for the AAS in Paralegal Studies are available online, allowing students to study at their own pace. The four-semester program will help prepare those pursuing a law-related career for private or public legal practice, or for further education. The two-year program provides a broad overview of several substantive areas of law and legal theory, such as constitutional law, real estate, torts, and contracts. A mandatory paralegal internship course provides an opportunity for students to gain valuable experience and foster important networking connections. Kirkwood is a member of the American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE), and the school’s career center offers support for students looking for professional development opportunities.
Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC)
1100 7th St
Des Moines, IA 50314
Student Review: “My experience at DMACC was a very fulfilling and rewarding experience. Not only were the teachers actual lawyers, but they were willing and ready to share their experience in the legal world. The classes I took were the same subjects that were taught at law school and prepared you for the field. The downside was the many hours you had to devote to studying, more than your average field of study. Some weeks I studied 20 hours while taking just 2 classes a week while working full time. But the best part was the internship I took while still going to school. And through guidance, my teachers helped me and my classmates not only navigate us through our internships but pushed us hard to learn what was expected of us, once we did get a job. Overall, I would recommend becoming a paralegal.” – Student at Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC)
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/