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. 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.

Quick Facts

  • There are 8 colleges and universities that offer paralegal/legal assistant degree programs in Tennessee.1
  • 2 schools offer a certificate program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
  • 6 schools offer an associate’s degree program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
  • 2 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 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
  • 4 schools ranked in US News Best Law Schools in 2019.5
  • 8 not-for-profit ABA-approved paralegal degree programs are in Tennessee.6

Top-Ranked Schools with Paralegal Programs

Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges 2018*

  • University of Tennessee (#85 in-state, #76 out-of-state)

*Institution-wide ranking.

Paralegal411’s Top Online Paralegal Programs 2018

  • University of Memphis (#13)
  • Austin Peay State University (#20)

College Factual’s Best Degrees in Legal Professions 2018

  • Lipscomb University (#18)

US News Best Law Schools 2019

  • Vanderbilt University (#17)
  • University of Tennessee-Knoxville (#65 tie)
  • University of Memphis (#137 tie)
  • Belmont University (#139 tie)

Schools with Paralegal Programs Approved by the ABA

  • Chattanooga State Community College
  • Nashville State Community College
  • Pellissippi State Community College
  • Roane State Community College
  • Southwest Tennessee Community College
  • University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
  • Volunteer State Community College
  • Walters State Community College
    • Paralegal Degree Programs in Tennessee

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      Roane State Community College

      Roane State Community College offers a two-year, American Bar Association (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 along with legal specialty courses to give students a well-rounded introduction to the professional environment. The capstone feature of the program is a paralegal internship to be completed in the final semester. This opportunity allows students to apply basic legal concepts and gain experience in a professional legal office. 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 may take courses through live video feeds.

      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.

      University of Memphis

      For individuals wishing to pursue a more in-depth degree, the University of Memphis 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 and special emphasis is placed on professional computer skills and technological competency. The University of Memphis offers an unusually wide selection of undergraduate legal courses with much more detailed and in-depth subject topics than those typically offered in four-year programs. Legal Studies students at the University of Memphis also have access to an excellent faculty of legal professionals who can provide relevant career guidance and who help to coordinate a mandatory paralegal internship component.

      Walters State Community College

      The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Business-Paralegal Studies at Walters State Community College includes a curriculum that has been approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) as a qualified paralegal training program. The program is designed to teach students to perform paralegal tasks such as legal research, client interviews, 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 accounting, business organizations, ethics, and substantive legal areas. The degree requires 60 total credit hours, with 45 credit hours within 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.

      Online Paralegal Programs

      East Tennessee State University

      At East Tennessee State University, students can earn a hybrid online Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) with a concentration in Legal Studies. This program takes place mostly online, although there are some required on-campus meetings and courses. 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 this hybrid online paralegal program are prepared with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills to find positions in law firms, corporate legal departments, and government administration.

      University of Tennessee-Martin

      Students at the University of Tennessee-Martin have the opportunity to earn an online minor in Legal Studies from the Department of Accounting, Finance, Economics, and Political Science. The Paralegal Studies curriculum is offered fully online, although not all undergraduate general education courses or required courses for a given major may be offered online. Sample coursework from the minor includes classes such as Legal Writing and Terminology, Legal Research, and Judicial Process. Students learn foundational legal knowledge and practical skills through audio lectures, written assignments and examinations, and hands-on research and writing exercises. Those with a Legal Studies minor also have the opportunity to pursue a part-time, one-semester internship at a local law office, government court, or legal department within a business. The paralegal studies coursework also may make a student eligible to sit for the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) examination to become certified.

      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.

      Middle Tennessee State University
      1301 E Main St
      Murfreesboro, TN 37132
      (615) 898-2300

      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
      (901) 333-5000

      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. 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/