Paralegal Schools in Tennessee
The colleges and universities in Tennessee offer a broad array of paralegal programs for students interested in earning a certificate, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies. This overview of paralegal schools in Tennessee will provide key information so that you can make an informed choice on the best program for you. Online paralegal schools are an alternative to on-campus programs that you may also wish to consider, as some students find online programs to be a more flexible option and a better fit. Reference our guide for paralegal careers in Tennessee to learn more about career opportunities for graduates with a degree or certificate in legal studies.
- There are 10 colleges and universities that offer paralegal/legal assistant degree programs in Tennessee.1
- 3 schools offer a certificate program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
- 6 schools offer an associate’s degree program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
- 3 schools offer a bachelor’s degree program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
- No schools offer a master’s or advanced degree for paralegals/legal assistants.1
- 1 school 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
- 5 ABA-approved paralegal degree programs are in Tennessee.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 Tennessee
- Select Schools in Tennessee 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 Tennessee based on various factors. The table includes paralegal program-specific information such as the programs offered and whether there are any online options. It also includes general school information to help you compare the colleges and universities that host these programs, including overall acceptance rate, graduation rate for first-time bachelor’s degree seekers, median debt for graduates, and net tuition per year for full-time undergraduate study. 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|
|Belmont University (Nashville)||—||BA-Legal Studies;|
|Chattanooga State Community College (Chattanooga)||—||Technical Certificate-Paralegal Studies;|
|East Tennessee State University (Johnson City)||—||BBA-Management: Legal Studies||86%||50%||Yes||$13,250||$14,696|
|Nashville State Community College (Nashville)||Yes||Technical Certificate-Paralegal Studies;|
|Pellissippi State Community College (Knoxville)||Yes||AAS-Paralegal Studies||100%||26%||—||$5,250||$6,293|
|Southwest Tennessee Community College (Memphis)||Yes||AAS-Paralegal Studies||100%||13%||—||$2,550||$4,370|
|Roane State Community College (Harriman)||Yes||AAS-Paralegal Studies||100%||34%||—||$6,000||$4,924|
|University of Memphis (Memphis)||—||BPS-Legal Studies||85%||53%||Yes||$17,500||$13,481|
|University of Tennessee-Martin (Martin)||—||3+3 Legal Studies||64%||47%||Yes||$15,656||$11,673|
|Walters State Community College (Morristown)||Yes||Technical Certificate-Paralegal Studies;|
AAS-Business: Paralegal Studies
- — indicates none.
- N.Av. indicates no data available.
Top-Ranked Schools with Paralegal Programs
Paralegal411’s Top Online Paralegal Programs 2018
- University of Memphis (#13)
US News & World Report’s Best Law Schools 2022
- Belmont University (#134 tie)
- University of Memphis (#144 tie)
US News & World Report’s Best Legal Writing Programs 2022
- University of Memphis (#61 tie)
- Belmont University (#149 tie)
Select Schools in Tennessee with Paralegal Degrees
Roane State Community College offers a two-year, ABA-approved Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree program in Paralegal Studies. Upon completion of this program, graduates are expected to have a strong understanding of the Tennessee court system’s procedures and substantive laws, and display proficiency in a variety of legal and professional skill sets. Students will be instructed in basic paralegal responsibilities such as legal ethics, research, writing, communication, and critical thinking. General education courses are integrated with legal specialty courses to give students a well-rounded introduction to the professional environment. A paralegal internship is to be completed prior to graduation. This opportunity allows students to apply their education in a professional setting with the potential of a job offer. The program is primarily conducted at the main campus, located in Harriman, though most paralegal courses can be taken at any RSCC campus via Interactive Distance Education classrooms, wherein students can take courses through live video feeds.
Students at the University of Tennessee-Martin (UT Martin) have the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) in Political Science with a Concentration in Legal Studies from the Department of Accounting, Finance, Economics, and Political Science at UT Martin combined with a Juris Doctorate (JD) degree from the University of Tennessee Knoxville (UT Knoxville). Accepted students take three years of undergraduate courses at UT Martin before transferring to UT Knoxville to complete undergraduate work and graduate study. The 3+3 program is designed to be completed in six years. Sample coursework from the program includes classes such as Legal Writing and Terminology; Legal Research; and Judicial Process. Students learn foundational and advanced legal knowledge and practical skills through audio lectures, written assignments and examinations, and hands-on research and writing exercises. Legal Studies students are encouraged to take criminal justice, business, and politics courses outside of the major.
The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Business-Paralegal Studies at Walters State Community College includes a curriculum that has been approved by the ABA as a qualified paralegal training program. The program is designed to teach students to perform paralegal tasks such as conducting legal research and client interviews, as well as document preparation and case management. Students are also instructed in relevant computer and technology skills. The Business-Paralegal Studies AAS includes general studies requirements in composition, macroeconomics, and humanities. Concentration courses in paralegal studies cover a variety of legal and paralegal topics such as Principles of Accounting; Introduction to Business; Torts; and Paralegal Studies and Ethics. The degree requires 60 total credit hours, with 45 credit hours in the paralegal concentration and 15 credit hours in general education. Students enrolled in this program benefit from the dual emphasis on paralegal topics and management/professional skills.
Act as if your time at school is a preliminary interview…instructors watch and learn who their students are. They watch for those particular students who stand out, are prepared, and do their best. These same instructors are the ones that many local lawyers call for referrals when they are looking for paralegals. Instructors can give you advice on how to approach looking for a job in your local area and suggest contacts that may not be openly posted online.” –Carla Baker, First Vice President-Education of Greater Memphis Paralegal Alliance and Paralegal at Rice, Amundsen, & Caperton PLLC.
Hybrid and Online Programs
At East Tennessee State University (ETSU), students can earn a hybrid Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Management with a Concentration in Legal Studies. This program takes place mostly online, although at least 50% of major program requirements must be completed on ETSU’s campus. The Legal Studies program is housed under the Department of Management and Marketing, allowing students to learn from a mix of a broad business foundation and specialized legal courses. The bachelor’s degree requires 120 credit hours in total, including 24 credit hours within the Legal Studies concentration. Core courses in the concentration include Law of Business Organizations, Real Estate Law, Governmental Regulation of Business, and Current Management Issues. Graduates from ETSU’s hybrid paralegal program are prepared with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed to find positions in private- and public-sector organizations.
For individuals wishing to pursue a more in-depth degree, the University of Memphis (U of M) offers a Bachelor of Professional Studies (BPS) degree with a Concentration in Legal Studies. The plan of study includes 54 credit hours of coordinated study (major) courses in legal studies, law-related electives, and interdisciplinary electives. The core curriculum focuses on the practical application of legal knowledge through the collection, analysis, and presentation of legal materials as well as research, technology in law, and professional decorum. Both written and oral communication skills are emphasized throughout the course sequence. U of M offers a wide selection of undergraduate legal courses. Students are additionally required to complete six hours of study in Thematic Studies courses, designed to heighten knowledge on specific problems, ideas, or themes. Legal Studies students at U of M will also complete a mandatory paralegal internship component in their final semester of studies. Academic advisors are available to assist students in arranging internships.
Middle Tennessee State University
1301 E Main St
Murfreesboro, TN 37132
Student Review: “The paralegal program at MTSU is offered as a minor in the political science department. It required about 18 hours of specific paralegal and law courses, taught almost entirely by adjunct professors. Most of the professors were lawyers in a solo practice. The classes were very easy and required little time outside of class. Classes were almost always taught at night, which makes it perfect for non-traditional/working students. I was fortunate to find a paralegal job within one week of graduating, which was due in large part to my education. Once I began working in the legal field, I found that only 25-50% of the work I had done in my classes actually helped me in my career. Overall, I was glad I completed the paralegal program at MTSU because it helped me get a job in my field, but the program could definitely use some fine-tuning to make it more helpful.” – Student at Middle Tennessee State
Southwest Tennessee Community College
737 Union Ave
Memphis, TN 38103
Student Review: “At Southwest TN Community College’s Paralegal Studies Program, you get a good education plus the bonus of learning real-world skills. My teachers not only taught me the textbook information, but they also taught me what I would actually need to know for the career. They brought in speakers and used assignments that were real cases in order for us to get a good idea of what we would be doing once we graduated. Most, if not all, of the teachers were actually practicing attorneys as well, so they were able to keep up-to-date on all the rules and practices of the legal field. They also made sure to include anyone who seemed to be struggling in their studies.” – Student at Southwest Tennessee Community College
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/