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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 that still align with your career goals. Please visit our paralegal careers in Pennsylvania page to find out more about opportunities for paralegals and legal assistants in the state.

Quick Facts

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 Pennsylvania
Select Schools in Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania 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.

SchoolABA Approved?Paralegal Degree(s)Acceptance Rate6Grad Rate1Online Options?Median Debt7Net Price1
Bucks County Community College (Newtown)YesCertificate-Paralegal;
AA-Paralegal Studies
100%21%$6,000$6,666
California University of Pennsylvania (California)BA-Jurispridence: Legal Studies;
MS-Legal Studies
97%50%Yes$17,346$18,264
Central Penn College (Summerdale)YesAS-Paralegal;
BS-Legal Studies
84%40%Yes$12,612$17,977
Clarion University of Pennsylvania (Clarion)YesCertificate-Advanced Paralegal Studies;
BS-Business Administration: Paralegal;
BS-Integrative Studies-Paralegal
95%52%$19,000$19,769
Community College of Allegheny County (Pittsburgh)Certificate-Paralegal;
AS-Paralegal
100%18%Yes$5,250$8,493
Community College of Philadelphia (Philadelphia)YesCertificate-Paralegal Studies;
AAS-Paralegal Studies
100%15%$4,500$6,106
Delaware County Community College (Media)YesCertificate-Paralegal Studies;
AAS-Paralegal Studies
100%20%$6,377$10,472
Drexel University (Philadelphia)BS-Business Administration: Legal Studies;
Minor-Legal Studies;
Master of Legal Studies (MLS)
75%69%Yes$20,500$38,025
Duquesne University (Pittsburgh)YesCertificate-Paralegal Studies74%81%Yes$25,000$30,732
Gannon University (Erie)Certificate-Legal Studies;
AA-Legal Studies;
BA-Legal Studies
76%68%$23,500$22,009
Harrisburg Area Community College (Harrisburg)YesCertificate-Paralegal Studies;
AAS-Paralegal Studies
100%15%$8,000$11,086
Lehigh Carbon Community College (Schnecksville)YesCertificate-Paralegal Studies;
AAS-Paralegal Studies
100%18%$5,500$5,967
Luzerne County Community College (Nanticoke)AAS-Legal Assisting100%18%$5,250$7,158
Manor College (Jenkintown)YesCertificate-Paralegal;
AS-Paralegal
86%32%$11,000$16,302
Mount Aloysius College (Cresson)AS-Legal Studies95%38%$17,220$21,874
Northampton County Area Community College (Bethlehem)YesAAS-Paralegal100%23%$6,500$8,647
Peirce College (Philadelphia)YesCertificate-Paralegal Studies;
AS-Paralegal Studies;
BS-Paralegal Studies
100%42%Yes$16,942$8,711
Pennsylvania Highlands Community College (Johnstown)AAS-Paralegal Studies100%29%Yes$5,294$6,256
Pennsylvania State University (University Park)Certificate-Legal Studies;
Master of Legal Studies (MLS)
N.Av.71%Yes$19,500$24,742
Point Park University (Pittsburgh)BA-Legal Studies73%60%$20,500$23,705
Saint Francis University (Loretto)Minor-Paralegal75%73%$26,210$29,188
Temple University (Philadelphia)BBA-Legal Studies;
Minor-Legal Studies
60%74%Yes$21,125$23,032
University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)BS-Economics: Legal Studies & Business Ethics;
Minor-Legal Studies & History;
Master in Law (ML)
8%96%$12,500$24,771
University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus (Pittsburgh)BA-Legal Studies;
Minor-Legal Studies
Master of Studies in Law (MSL)
57%83%Yes$21,500$22,600
Villanova University (Villanova)YesCertificate-Paralegal28%90%Yes$25,000$36,840
Westmoreland County Community College (Youngwood)Diploma-Paralegal;
AAS-Paralegal
100%19%Yes$5,500$5,595
Widener University (Chester)Minor-Legal Studies and Analysis72%65%$20,929$31,666

  • — indicates none.
  • N.Av. indicates no data available.

Top-Ranked Schools with Paralegal Programs

Paralegal411’s Top Online Paralegal Programs 2018

  • California University of Pennsylvania (#3)
  • Peirce College (#26)

US News & World Report’s Best Law Schools 2022

  • University of Pennsylvania (#6 tie)
  • Temple University (#53 tie)
  • Villanova University (#53 tie)
  • Pennsylvania State University Dickinson Law (#60 tie)
  • Pennsylvania State University-University Park (#60 tie)
  • University of Pittsburgh (#67 tie)
  • Drexel University (#81 tie)
  • Duquesne University (#119 tie)
  • Widener University-Pennsylvania (#147-193)

US News & World Report’s Best Legal Writing Programs 2022

  • Temple University (#7 tie)
  • Drexel University (#21 tie)
  • Duquesne University (#25 tie)
  • Villanova University (#41 tie)
  • University of Pennsylvania (#68 tie)
  • University of Pittsburgh (#68 tie)
  • Pennsylvania State University Dickinson Law (#80 tie)
  • Pennsylvania State University-University Park (#80 tie)
  • Widener University (#80 tie)

Select Schools in Pennsylvania with Paralegal Degrees

Traditional Programs

Bucks County Community College

Bucks County Community College’s (BCCC) Paralegal Studies program provides professional occupational instruction for prospective paralegals and legal assistants. The Paralegal Studies curriculum will help students learn the concepts by which the legal system operates and the tasks necessary to assist in the practice of law. Both a 63-credit hour Associate of Arts (AA) program and a 30-credit hour Certificate program are available. The primary difference between the two programs is the inclusion of general education courses in the associate degree program. Full-time students should be able to complete the AA program in less than two years or the certificate program in as little as one year. The program has been approved by the ABA and is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). Paralegal courses include Negligence and Personal Injury: Paralegal; Legal Research; and Civil Practice/Litigation Procedures. Transfer students may transfer up to three of the required courses and up to two of the elective courses from another ABA-approved paralegal program.

Community College of Philadelphia

The Paralegal Studies curriculum at the Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) emphasizes a foundation based in the practical skills and knowledge necessary to work as a paralegal along with a broad liberal arts base. The ABA-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 that can be completed in as little as eight months, designed for students who have completed most or 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 offering helps students refine classroom skills over 120 hours working in a professional setting and facilitates networking connections within the legal field. Students also receive training in computer-assisted legal research tools and discipline-specific software through the Legal Technology and Legal Research and Writing courses. Paralegal Studies students will have access to the CCP law library, which exceeds ABA guidelines.

Gannon University

Students seeking a career as a paralegal may be interested in an ABA-approved Legal Studies program at Gannon University. Gannon offers three Legal Studies options: an 18-25 credit Certificate in Legal Studies, a 67-credit Associate of Arts (AA) in Legal Studies, and a 128-credit Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Legal Studies. The AA and BA coursework includes a liberal studies core curriculum to provide students with a comprehensive academic background in addition to the Legal Studies curriculum, which will help prepare students for careers in the legal profession. The Certificate is designed for students who already have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree and focuses exclusively on legal courses. The Legal Studies 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. The degree programs include a required internship with institutions such as local banks, businesses, law firms, or courts.

Manor College

The ABA-approved Associate in Science (AS) in Paralegal at Manor College will help prepare students for entry into the paralegal profession through instruction in critical thinking; theoretical and practical legal skills; and the ethical values necessary to perform legal services. Graduates of the four-semester program will be able to communicate with attorneys, judges, and other legal personnel; perform legal research on a client’s behalf; prepare legal documents; and assist attorneys at trial. The 60-61 credit curriculum includes classes such as Legal Research, Legal Writing, and a Paralegal Internship that exposes students to a working legal environment and facilitates potential networking opportunities. Manor accepts applications to the Paralegal program year-round. Manor offers career services such as resume assistance, interview training, and networking events. For students who have already earned a bachelor’s degree, Manor offers a Post-baccalaureate Certificate in Paralegal.

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.

Hybrid and Online Programs

Delaware County Community College

At Delaware County Community College (DCCC), students can earn an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree or a post-baccalaureate certificate in Paralegal Studies. The AAS requires 61-63 credits, and the Certificate of Proficiency requires 36-37 credits. The certificate is designed for students who have completed a bachelor’s program but wish to transition into the legal field. Both programs are ABA-approved and available in hybrid online and on-campus formats. At least nine credits of legal specialty courses of their equivalents must be taken in a synchronous format. In-person courses are available on Saturdays and evenings. Required courses include Legal Research and Writing; Technology in the Law; and Civil Litigation and Tort Applications. Students can transfer up to 50% of the credits towards the degree in approved general education or paralegal courses from another ABA-approved program. Associate’s degree and Certificate candidates must also complete a 180-hour paralegal internship in a local law office or legal setting. Both programs provide a foundation for students interested in working as paralegals in law firms, corporate settings, or government offices, or for students interested in continuing their education in law school. Students in the certificate program must maintain a GPA of 2.0 with at least six credits of courses with calculated grade points.

Peirce College

Peirce College offers numerous legal studies programs, including a 61-credit hour Associate of Science (AS), a 121-credit hour Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Paralegal Studies, and a post-bachelor’s 25-credit hour Certificate in Paralegal Studies. All are ABA-approved and can be completed entirely online. The Certificate of Proficiency in Paralegal Studies is aimed at students who have already completed a bachelor’s degree in a different subject but are looking to work in the legal field. Regardless of the program, the foundational courses must be completed in a synchronous, online format, with subsequent classes offered with an asynchronous option. All coursework focuses on the skills and knowledge necessary to work in law firms, corporate offices, government agencies, or other areas of the legal field. Paralegal courses include Legal Research, Civil Litigation, Criminal Law, Legal Technology, and Real Estate Law. Transferring students may carry over up to 30 credits into the AS program from another school or up to 90 credits into the BS program. The BS in Legal Studies from Peirce can be applied toward the Rutgers Law School Bachelor-to-Juris Doctor program.

Student Reviews

Note: Student Reviews are based on the experiences of a few individuals and it is unlikely that you will have similar results. Please review the “Data, Student Reviews and Other Information” section in our Terms of Use and Disclaimers.

Bucks County Community College
275 Swamp Rd
Newtown, PA 18940
(215) 968-8000
https://www.bucks.edu/

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
stars-5

Duquesne University
600 Forbes Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15282
(412) 396-6000
https://www.duq.edu/

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
stars-3

Harrisburg Community College
1 HACC Dr
Harrisburg, PA 17110
(800) 222-4222
https://www.hacc.edu

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 the 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
stars-4

References:
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/