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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 suitable to your career goals.

Quick Facts

  • There are 33 colleges and universities that offer paralegal/legal assistant degree programs in Pennsylvania.1
  • 16 schools offer a certificate program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
  • 19 schools offer an associate’s degree program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
  • 14 schools offer a bachelor’s degree program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
  • 8 schools offer a master’s or advanced degree for paralegals/legal assistants.1
  • 3 schools ranked in Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 2018.2
  • 2 schools ranked in Paralegal411’s Top Online Paralegal Programs in 2018.3
  • 1 school ranked in College Factual’s Best Colleges Offering Degrees in Legal Professions in 2018.4
  • 9 schools ranked in US News Best Law Schools in 2019.5
  • 14 not-for-profit ABA-approved paralegal degree programs are in Pennsylvania.6

Top-Ranked Schools with Paralegal Programs

Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges 2018*

  • Penn State University Park (#51 in-state, #58 out-of-state)
  • Temple University (#91 in-state, #83 out-of-state)
  • University of Pittsburgh (#43 in-state, #32 out-of-state)

*Institution-wide ranking.

Paralegal411’s Top Online Paralegal Programs 2018

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

College Factual’s Best Degrees in Legal Professions 2018

  • Dickinson College (#6)

US News Best Law Schools 2019

  • University of Pennsylvania (#7)
  • Temple University (#47 tie)
  • Pennsylvania State University (#59 tie)
  • Villanova University (#65 tie)
  • Pennsylvania State University-University Park (#74 tie)
  • University of Pittsburgh (#74 tie)
  • Drexel University (#101 tie)
  • Duquesne University (#119 tie)
  • Widener University (#143)

Schools with Paralegal Programs Approved by the ABA

  • Bucks County Community College
  • Central Pennsylvania College
  • Clarion University of Pennsylvania
  • Community College of Philadelphia
  • Delaware County Community College
  • Duquesne University
  • Gannon University
  • Harrisburg Area Community College
  • Lehigh Carbon Community College
  • Manor College
  • Northampton Community College
  • Peirce College
  • Pennsylvania College of Technology
  • Villanova University
    • Paralegal Degree Programs in Pennsylvania

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      Community College of Philadelphia

      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 (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 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 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 ABA 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’s 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 (ABA) 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 an accredited program with a high degree of flexibility and may be a good option for prospective paralegals in the Newtown area.

      Gannon University

      Students interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies may be interested in the legal studies programs at Gannon University in Erie, PA. The legal studies programs have been formally approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) and include three possible degree tracks: a bachelor’s degree, an associate’s degree, and a certificate program. The bachelor’s and associate’s degree programs include a liberal studies core curriculum designed to provide students with 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 bachelor’s program includes a required internship that may be in a local bank, business, law firm, or court.

      Online Paralegal Programs

      Peirce College

      Peirce College offers numerous legal studies programs, including an Associate of Science (AS) and Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees in Paralegal Studies and a post-bachelor’s Certificate in Paralegal Studies. All can be completed partially online and are approved by the American Board Association (ABA). Students in the bachelor’s program must complete their first four foundational courses on campus, with the rest of the curriculum available online, on campus, or in a hybrid format. Sample courses include Legal Research, Civil Litigation, Criminal Law, Legal Technology, and Real Estate Law. 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. The certificate curriculum also requires the first four courses to be taken on campus with the remaining six available online. 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.

      Delaware County Community College

      At Delaware County Community College, 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 who wish to transition into the legal field. Both programs are approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) and courses are available in hybrid online and on-campus formats. 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.

      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
      http://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
      http://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. Kiplinger’s Best College Values in Public Colleges: https://www.kiplinger.com/tool/college/T014-S001-kiplinger-s-best-values-in-public-colleges/index.php
      3. Paralegal411’s Top Online Paralegal Programs: https://www.paralegal411.org/degrees/bachelors/online/
      4. College Factual’s Best Colleges Offering Degrees in Legal Professions in 2018: https://www.collegefactual.com/majors/legal-studies-and-professions/rankings/top-ranked/
      5. US News Best Law Schools 2019: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/law-rankings
      6. American Bar Association Approved Paralegal Programs: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/paralegals/