Paralegal Schools in Pennsylvania
There are numerous colleges and universities in Pennsylvania that offer certificate and degree programs in the paralegal and legal assistant field. This guide to paralegal schools in Pennsylvania provides key information on your options so that you can make an educated decision. As an alternative to traditional on-campus programs, you may find that online paralegal programs are a more flexible choice suitable to your career goals.
Paralegal Program Stats
- There are 31 colleges and universities that offer a paralegal/legal assistant degree program in Pennsylvania.
- 15 schools offer a certificate program for paralegals/legal assistants.
- 27 schools offer an associate’s degree program for paralegals/legal assistants.
- 4 schools offer a bachelor’s degree program for paralegals/legal assistants.
- There are 13 not-for-profit ABA-approved paralegal degree programs in Pennsylvania.
- Highest graduation rate: Bradford School 95%.1
- Highest transfer-out rate: Cedar Crest College 39%.1
- Highest net price per year: Prism Career Institute $25,860.1
- Lowest net price per year: Westmoreland County Community College $2,558.1
- Highest student population: Harrisburg Area Community College 22,595.1
- Lowest student population: Consolidated School of Business-Lancaster 122.1
- Annual tuition range for paralegal programs at community colleges and career schools in Pennsylvania: $7,464-$24,223.2
- 5 schools in the US News Best Law Schools Rankings of 2013 (top 100): University of Pennsylvania #7, Temple University #56, Pennsylvania State University #64, University of Pittsburgh #91, Villanova University #98
Read more about paralegal schools in Pennsylvania, career options for graduates, and further in-depth information for paralegals and legal assistants below.
Paralegal Degree Programs in Pennsylvania
The Paralegal Studies curriculum at the Community College of Philadelphia emphasizes a varied and general grounding in theoretical and practical paralegal knowledge along with a broad, liberal arts base. The American Bar Association approved Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree program requires a minimum of 60 credits, 30 of which may be transferred from another institution. The college also offers an accelerated program designed for students who have completed most of all of the general education requirements. Notable features of the program include an optional legal internship at a local law firm where students are able to receive course credit for real-world legal experience. This valuable course offering helps students refine classroom skills in a professional setting and facilitates important networking connections within the legal field. Students also have training in computer-assisted legal research tools, discipline-specific software and access to a college law library that exceeds the American Bar Association guidelines.
Network. As we all know, most job opportunities are not advertised in the newspaper. The legal community is close-knit and I have found that attorneys refer not only clients to one another on a regular basis, but staff as well. Another great resource is the local Bar Association.” –Cindy Wirtz, Vice President of the Pittsburgh Paralegal Association.
Bucks County Community College
Bucks Community College Paralegal Studies program provides professional occupational instruction for prospective paralegals and legal assistants. Both associate degree and certificate degree options are available, the primary difference between the two being the inclusion of general education courses in the associate degree program. The program has been formally approved by the American Bar Association and is a member of the American Association for Paralegal Education. Courses for this program are offered in the spring, fall and summer semesters. While students are required to take four three-credit courses in the classroom, the remaining courses may be completed online. This is a very accredited program with a high degree of flexibility and may be a good option for prospective paralegals in the Newtown area.
Students interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Paralegal Studies may be interested in the Legal Studies program at Gannon University in Erie, PA. The legal studies program has been formally approved by the American Bar Association and offers three degree programs: a bachelor degree, an associate degree, and a certificate program. The bachelor degree program includes a liberal studies core curriculum designed to provide students a comprehensive background in several academic fields. The legal curriculum aims to provide students with the ability to analyze court briefs, draft legal documents, research legal issues, and conduct client interviews. Additionally, the theoretical aspects of the course topics give students an in-depth understanding of state and federal court systems, civil and criminal practice and the ethical standards of the paralegal profession. This program has been approved by the American Bar Association and is a good option for students seeking a bachelor’s degree, or those wishing to experience a large university environment.
American Bar Association Approved Paralegal Programs in Pennsylvania (Not-for-Profit)
- Bucks County Community College (Newtown)
- Clarion University of Pennsylvania (Oil City)
- Community College of Philadelphia (Philadelphia)
- Delaware County Community College (Media)
- Duquesne University (Pittsburgh)
- Gannon University (Erie)
- Harrisburg Area Community College (Harrisburg)
- Lehigh Carbon Community College (Schnecksville)
- Manor College (Jenkintown)
- Northampton Community College (Bethlehem)
- Peirce College (Philadelphia)
- Pennsylvania College of Technology (Williamsport)
- Villanova University (Villanova)
Bucks County Community College
275 Swamp Rd
Newtown, PA 18940
Student Review: “I am a current student at Bucks County Community College. I am currently enrolled in the ABA Paralegal Studies program as a part time student, and my expected graduation is July 2015. So far, I have really enjoyed the paralegal program at Bucks. The teachers are awesome, and the curriculum is very interesting. In the fall of 2014 Bucks just started using Pearson’s My Legal Studies Lab. The Pearson’s lab serves as a virtual law office. It is set up with a virtual desk, files, and client interviews to make the learning process more hands on. The professors are all practicing lawyers, and are very knowledgeable and passionate about the legal field. I think the most important thing is that a school is ABA certified. It will make the transition from school to work smoother.” -Student at Bucks County Community College
600 Forbes Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15282
Student Review: “I took an intensive program over the summer to get the paralegal certificate. I was taught mostly by lawyers who practiced in various fields of law, one paralegal and one law librarian. Some classes were better than others. Some of the instructors could be condescending, but some were very helpful. I felt that the best instructor was the attorney who taught real estate law, he made the class interesting and engaging, for what I expected to be a rather dry topic, his methods made me interested in real estate and I am currently working in the title industry. I wish that the program helped with job placement more.” -Student at Duquesne University
Harrisburg Community College
1 HACC Dr
Harrisburg, PA 17110
Student Review: “The paralegal program at Harrisburg Community College was the most efficient way for me to get a good paying job without getting into a pile of debt. HACC has all the right resources to get a degree in two years. Some of the classes were online so I did not have to waste gas with commuting. Other times the classes were on a schedule with my part time job which made the program less stressful. They were very helpful with all paperwork required and I was able to get an internship in no time at all. I chose a community college because the value was much better for the price. I did not notice anything lacking which would make me believe otherwise. This is a great program for people who are not sure what to do when they graduate high school. Many of my classmates were interested in law and some of them just wanted to be on the fast track to a high paying salary.” -Student at Harrisburg Community College
1. National Center for Education Statistics: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Niche: https://www.niche.com/colleges/search/best-colleges/