Paralegal Schools in North Carolina
The universities and colleges in North Carolina offer a multitude of paralegal and legal assistant programs covering general paralegal skills as well as specialties from corporate law to copyright law to fit with your career interests and goals. This guide to paralegal schools in North Carolina will provide you with important information so that you can make an informed choice on the paralegal program that will be best for you. You may also wish to consider online paralegal programs, which some find to be a more flexible alternative to on-campus programs. Be sure to visit our guide to paralegal careers in North Carolina to learn about career options for paralegals in the state.
- There are 24 colleges and universities that offer paralegal/legal assistant degree programs in North Carolina.1
- 16 schools offer a certificate program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
- 20 schools offer an associate’s degree program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
- No 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
- 1 school ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Legal Writing Programs in 2022.4
- 7 ABA-approved paralegal degree programs are in North Carolina.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 North Carolina
- Select Schools in North Carolina 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 North Carolina 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|
|Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute (Hudson)||—||Certificate-Paralegal Technology;|
|Cape Fear Community College (Wilmington)||—||Certificate-Paralegal Technology;|
|Carteret Community College (Morehead City)||Yes||Diploma-Paralegal Technology;|
|Central Carolina Community College (Sanford)||Yes||Certificate-Paralegal Technology;|
|Central Piedmont Community College (Charlotte)||Yes||Diploma-Paralegal Technology;|
|Coastal Carolina Community College (Jacksonville)||—||Certificate-Paralegal Technology;|
|Davidson-Davie Community College (Thomasville)||—||Certificate-Paralegal Technology;|
|Duke University (Durham)||—||Certificate-Paralegal Specialist||8%||95%||Yes||$9,000||$24,396|
|Durham Technical Community College (Durham)||—||Diploma-Paralegal Technology;|
|Fayetteville Technical Community College (Fayetteville)||Yes||Diploma-Paralegal;|
|Forsyth Technical Community College (Winston-Salem)||—||Certificate-Paralegal Technology: Legal Assistant;|
|Gaston College (Dallas)||—||Certificate-Paralegal Technology;|
|Guilford Technical Community College (Jamestown)||—||Certificate-Paralegal Technology;|
|Johnston Community College (Smithfield)||—||Certificate-Paralegal Technology;|
|Meredith College (Raleigh)||Yes||Certificate-Paralegal||65%||66%||—||$18,000||$26,958|
|Methodist University (Fayetteville)||Yes||Minor-Legal Studies||63%||45%||—||$11,000||$32,578|
|Pitt Community College (Winterville)||Yes||Diploma-Paralegal Technology;|
|South Piedmont Community College (Monroe)||—||Certificate-Paralegal Technology;|
|Southwestern Community College (Sylva)||—||Certificate-Legal Technology;|
|Surry Community College (Dobson)||—||Certificate-Paralegal Technology;|
|Vance-Granville Community College (Henderson)||—||Certificate-Paralegal Technology;|
|Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem)||—||Master of Studies in Law||30%||88%||Yes||$22,750||$24,800|
|Western Piedmont Community College (Morganton)||—||AAS-Paralegal Technology||100%||43%||Yes||$3,500||$4,914|
|Wilson Community College (Wilson)||—||Certificate-Paralegal;|
- — indicates none.
- N.Av. indicates no data available.
Top-Ranked Schools with Paralegal Programs
US News & World Report’s Best Law Schools 2022
- Duke University (#10 tie)
- Wake Forest University (#41 tie)
US News & World Report’s Best Legal Writing Programs 2022
- Duke University (#147-193)
Select Schools in North Carolina with Paralegal Degrees
The ABA-approved Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Paralegal Technology at Central Piedmont Community College offers a thorough introduction to the practical skills necessary to succeed in the paralegal and legal assistant professions. Full-time students can complete the 72- to 73-credit hour program in as little as two years. The curriculum incorporates general education courses as well as substantive and procedural legal specialty courses, including Wills, Estates, and Trusts; Family Law; and Civil Injuries. Particular emphasis is placed on professional and technical skills such as word processing, accounting, research, and writing. Central Piedmont also offers a 41-credit hour post-baccalaureate diploma program in Paralegal Technology for students who have completed a bachelor’s degree in another subject and are interested in transitioning to the legal field. Graduates of the Paralegal Technology program meet the qualifications to sit for the North Carolina Certified Paralegal Exam.
Fayetteville Technical Community College (FTCC) offers a five-semester ABA-Approved Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Paralegal Technology that will help prepare students to provide assistance to attorneys in probate work, legal research, court filings, and office management. The 68-credit program includes coursework in both legal procedures and general education. Legal areas of interest within the curriculum include civil litigation; real estate; and wills and estates. The mandatory Work-Based Learning component of the program enables students to engage in a real-world legal setting at the culmination of the course sequence. This program is designed to be entered in the fall semester and may offer scholarships and financial aid packages to qualified students. Incoming students may transfer up to six credit hours of legal courses and must complete at least 18 credit hours of legal courses at FTCC. For students who have already completed a bachelor’s degree in another subject, FTCC offers a three-semester Paralegal Diploma.
Guilford Technical Community College (GTCC) offers an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Paralegal Technology as well as a Paralegal Technology Certificate program for students who already possess an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree. The associate degree requires a total of 64 to 66 credit hours, which takes most students two years to complete. The certificate program requires 18 credits of general education courses in any field and can be completed in one semester. Some paralegal courses are available online and GTCC also offers night courses on campus for students who are unable to attend during the day. Required classes include Legal Research/Writing; Ethics and Professionalism; and Civil Litigation. Graduates of the program will have the necessary qualifications to take the North Carolina Certified Paralegal Examination. GTCC paralegal students may also choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree or eventually attend law school after completing the program.
Meredith College offers a one-year Paralegal Certificate for students with a bachelor’s degree who are interested in the legal field. The paralegal degree program offers three concentrations within the field for students interested in working in a specific area of law: Civil Litigation, Corporate, and Real Estate. The core curriculum includes four courses (Legal Survey, Legal Research, Law Office Management, and Professional Development) and one specialty course in one of the three areas of law practice. Graduation from the program requires a “C” or higher in all classes. To support students and alumni in their job search, Meredith College receives and distributes weekly hiring announcements for legal opportunities. Additionally, the flexible course schedule helps to make the program accessible to individuals with various scheduling obligations. The paralegal program at Meredith College has been approved by the ABA and certified by the North Carolina State Bar.
My best advice for getting hired as a paralegal would be to network – join paralegal associations, attend local seminars – the more people you meet, the better. If a position becomes available and you have a connection with that firm or organization through networking, you can reach out and let them know you will be applying – as with any opportunity where there is competition, you need to do what you can to make yourself stand out in a good way.” –Penny Higdon, North Carolina Certified Paralegal and President, Metrolina Paralegal Association.
Hybrid and Online Programs
At Coastal Carolina Community College, students can earn an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree in Paralegal Technology, a Paralegal Technology Diploma, or a specialized certificate program in Legal Secretary, Corporate Law Legal Assistant, Real Property Legal Assistant, and Litigation Legal Assistant. Any of the college’s paralegal programs can be completed online or in person. The AAS and Diploma curriculum includes classes such as Civil Litigation; Criminal Law and Procedure; Law Office Management; Corporate Law; and Family Law; classes in the Certificate curriculum vary by specialization. Students learn legal writing and research skills as well as ethical and professional standards for the legal field. The associate’s degree can be completed in five semesters, while the diploma and certificate programs are designed to be completed in three semesters, but flexible schedules are available to working or part-time students. Students will have access to Coastal Carolina Community College’s Career Center, which offers services such as resume consultation, interviewing workshops, and access to local job postings.
The Duke University Institute of Career Development (ICD) and Department of Continuing Studies collaboratively offer an online Paralegal Certificate program. This program is designed for those looking to transition into a paralegal career, and applicants must have a minimum of an associate’s degree. The 300-hour program includes 144 hours of substantive legal studies and is designed to teach students the skills necessary to succeed in the paralegal field. The certificate program is available completely online, and although students must complete the curriculum within one year, the lessons are self-paced. Students use online lecture notes, writing labs, video tutorials, and mock exams to learn the foundations of the paralegal profession. Coursework covers subjects including Evidence and Investigation; Legal Research and Writing; Pleadings and Discovery; Legal Ethics; and Legal Technology. Students also have the chance to develop their resumes and learn about strategies for entering the field. The program will not qualify students to sit for the North Carolina Paralegal Certification exam because the NC State Bar doesn’t qualify completely online formats. However, graduates may qualify for the national certification examinations offered through the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) or the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA).
Central Piedmont Community College
1201 Elizabeth Ave
Charlotte, NC 28235
Student Review: “I really have enjoyed my time in the paralegal program at CPCC. Most of the professors are very interesting and their classes are enjoyable; they all are former lawyers. The classes not only gave us knowledge that we need, but we did a lot of class activities that are practical, like learning how to draft complaints and answers. I also got a co-op internship while I was there with Lawyer on the Line, and it was an amazing experience. I really enjoyed being able to be in the diploma program. I already had a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, and I was able to complete the diploma program in one year. It was not full of unnecessary classes; everything was relevant.” -Student at Central Piedmont Community College
Student Review: “The Paralegal Technology program at CPCC is wonderful. I took the Post-Bac Diploma track. It took me a little over a year, but I learned more there than I did getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice at a 4-year university. All of the professors are both knowledgeable and friendly. They have great internship opportunities, which I took advantage of. It is also a very affordable program, and I even won a scholarship. There is a great selection of classes, and they even let you take a few of them online (mostly the computer classes). Taking the computer classes online in my own time was great since I was working multiple jobs while attending school.” -Student at Central Piedmont Community College
Pitt Community College
1986 Pitt Tech Rd
Winterville, NC 28590
Student Review: “Pitt Community College can be kind of a mixed bag at times, but I had a really good experience with the paralegal program. The faculty is professional and competent and willing to help a hard-working student however they can. The courses are challenging, but they prepare you for a career in the real world, and the college offers flexible hours for working people like myself. Best of all, in my last year, there were tons of student employment opportunities. So I earned credits and got job experience while I attended. If you live in Pitt County, and can’t afford ECU for whatever reason, PCC is the way to go.” – Student at Pitt Community College
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC 27695
Student Review: “The North Carolina State University paralegal program was a solid introduction for anyone who holds a previously-earned bachelor’s degree in English or business and is interested in pursuing a career as a paralegal. The scope of the program was broad; however, on many topics, instructors sacrificed depth for breadth, so students may need to look into certain subjects more thoroughly in order to feel completely prepared for paralegal work. The program’s focus on legal databases was comprehensive, which can be very helpful for paralegals who seek jobs that require a lot of research. The instructors also used a general document template rather than one more suited for the state (North Carolina) in which most graduates of the program would seek employment.” -Student at North Carolina State University
Student Review: “The University of North Carolina State paralegal certificate program was great. This was a fourteen-week course that provided me with the foundation I needed in understanding the American legal system. There were two parts to the program. Both parts were 45 contact hours worth of Work. Everyone I encountered in this program was great. The teachers were very approachable and presented the information in an easy to understand way. They also made the courses fun and excited by telling stories of their lives in the legal system. I would recommend this program to anyone interested in becoming a paralegal. I think it is one of the top programs in the state. It prepared me for the career I want.” -Student at North Carolina State University
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/