Paralegal Schools in Texas
The numerous colleges and universities in Texas offer a broad array of paralegal programs from general paralegal studies to specialty practice areas like international law and business law. This overview of paralegal schools in Texas will provide you with the information you need to make the right choice for your career aspirations. As an alternative to traditional on-campus programs, you might also consider online paralegal programs, which can be a more flexible option.
- There are 44 colleges and universities that offer a paralegal/legal assistant degree program in Texas.1
- 19 schools offer a certificate program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
- 29 schools offer an associate’s degree program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
- 8 schools offer a bachelor’s degree program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
- 7 schools offer a master’s or advanced degree for paralegals/legal assistants.1
- 4 schools ranked in Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 2018.2
- No schools ranked in Paralegal411’s Top Online Paralegal Programs in 2018.3
- No schools ranked in College Factual’s Best Colleges Offering Degrees in Legal Professions in 2018.4
- 6 schools ranked in US News Best Law Schools in 2019.5
- 11 not-for-profit ABA-approved paralegal degree programs are in Texas.6
Top-Ranked Schools with Paralegal Programs
Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges 2018*
- Texas A&M University (#24 in-state, #64 out-of-state)
- University of Houston (#89 in-state, #91 out-of-state)
- University of Texas-Austin (#8 in-state, #29 out-of-state)
- University of Texas-Dallas (#41 in-state, #54 out-of-state)
US News Best Law Schools 2019
- University of Texas-Austin (#15)
- Baylor University (#50 tie)
- Southern Methodist University (#50 tie)
- University of Houston (#56 tie)
- Texas A&M University-Fort Worth (#80 tie)
- Texas Tech University (#113 tie)
Schools with Paralegal Programs Approved by the ABA
- Amarillo College
- Collin College
- El Centro College
- Lamar State College
- Lee College
- Lone Star College-North Harris
- San Jacinto College-North
- Tarrant County College
- Texas A&M University-Commerce
- Texas State University
- Wharton County Junior College
Paralegal Degree Programs in Texas
Amarillo College offers an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Legal Studies that holds approval from the American Bar Association. The 60-credit hour program includes courses in family law, civil litigation, contracts, and interviewing and investigating. First-semester students complete mock interviews with attorneys at the end of the introductory course, in which students present a 12-assignment portfolio. The program’s Civil Litigation course includes mock trials assisted by litigators and judges in municipal court. Students receive further learning opportunities through the program’s legal aid clinics for low-income members of the community. Other extracurricular opportunities include program trips, which in the past have included private tours and lectures from judges and legislators in such locations as Washington, DC; New Orleans; and Austin. Program graduates are prepared to take national certification exams for paralegals and credits earned may be transferred to four-year universities in pursuit of a baccalaureate degree or in preparation for law school. Amarillo College additionally offers a 24-credit hour graduate Professional Certificate in Legal Studies.
If you are really serious about being a paralegal, obtain certification status. Attorneys know that when you are certificated (when you are fresh-out-of-school), you have a good feel for what you are talking about. Whereas when you are certified, you have “arrived” and you know what you are talking about – certification means you can be reasonably relied on to know what you’re talking about. It means you’ll be able to demand a higher salary right off the bat.” –Alexander May, Board Certified Paralegal, TBLS, Paralegal at Germer Beaman & Brown PLLC and President-Elect of the Capital Area Paralegal Association.
Texas State University-San Marcos
Texas State University-San Marcos offers a Paralegal Certificate program to students who have previously completed a bachelor’s degree. The program takes from the master’s level curriculum and requires 24 credit hours to complete. Required courses include Legal Research, Legal Theories, Litigation, and Legal Drafting. Students may take electives in such subjects as Estates and Trusts, Administrative Law, Alternative Dispute Resolution, and Intellectual Property. The Paralegal Certificate program at Texas State-San Marcos holds approval from the American Bar Association. Students who successfully complete the program are prepared to enter the paralegal field as trained paralegal professionals working under the supervision of attorneys. The Department of Political Science also offers a Master of Arts in Legal Studies that requires 36 credit hours to complete. Texas State is recognized as an Emerging Research University by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and its departments and faculty frequently receive national accolades for teaching, research, and diversity.
El Centro College
El Centro College in Dallas, TX offers an American Bar Association (ABA)-approved Associate in Applied Sciences (AAS) in Paralegal Studies degree program. The paralegal program aims to impart legal knowledge to responsible, detail-oriented students with an interest in the practice and theory of law. In addition, the program fosters legal writing and research skills to prepare graduates for a variety of tasks allotted to paralegals in diverse professional environments. El Centro College’s convenient location in downtown Dallas allows students to benefit from an on-campus law library and proximity to a number of law firms, as well as the Records Building, George Allen Civil Courthouse, Frank Crowley Criminal Courthouse, and Earle Cabell Federal Courthouse. Students also benefit from a mandatory cooperative work experience program in which students gain valuable work experience at an approved law firm or federal courthouse. In addition to being the only ABA-approved paralegal program in north central Texas, the El Centro College associate’s program is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and may be completed at significantly lower tuition rates than comparable programs.
Texas A&M University-Commerce
Texas A&M University-Commerce’s Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science (BA/BS) in Paralegal Studies is a career-oriented program that cultivates legal knowledge and skills in conjunction with a broad-based liberal arts foundation. The paralegal coursework emphasizes independent legal research skills, family law, probate, civil procedure, business organizations, law office management, business ethics, real estate law, and constitutional law. Students also receive practical instruction in legal technology and graduate with the proficiency necessary to succeed in a variety of professional settings. The paralegal internship program allows students to integrate theoretical coursework with hands-on experience in either the County District Attorney’s Offices or an approved private attorneys’ office. The Texas A&M University-Commerce BA/BS in Paralegal Studies program has gained approval from the American Bar Association.
San Jacinto College-North
The San Jacinto College Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Paralegal Studies degree program is approved by the American Bar Association and backed by an outstanding faculty of attorneys and paralegals that have practiced in each of the areas they teach. The program curriculum focuses on the substantive law areas that are most commonly encountered in the local legal community and offer the highest potential for job attainment following graduation. Reflecting the expansion of the role of paralegals, the coursework also provides practical training in important skills such as document preparation, client and witness interviewing, investigation, legal research and writing, and assisting attorneys at trial. Low tuition and expenses and numerous opportunities for grants, scholarships, and student loans make the AAS in Paralegal Studies at San Jacinto College an excellent program for those wishing to enter the field quickly at a lowered immediate cost.
Online Paralegal Programs
Central Texas College
At Central Texas College, students can earn an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Paralegal/Legal Assistant studies. This two-year program requires four full-time semesters of study to complete the 60-credit curriculum. Students can take classes entirely online or on-campus during the day or on evenings and weekends. Core classes in paralegal subjects include Criminal Law and Procedures, Torts and Personal Injury Law, and Federal Government. The curriculum prepares students to work in the legal field or pursue further education in law. After completing the associate’s degree, graduates are qualified to sit for the Paralegal Core Competencies Exam from the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) and the Certified Legal Assistant Exam from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). Central Texas College also offers a Certificate of Completion in Paralegal/Legal Assistant studies that can be completed in 30 credit hours (two semesters).
University of Texas at Austin
At the University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Professional Education (CPE), students can earn a Paralegal Certificate on campus or entirely online. This program consists of 27.2 continuing education units. The curriculum covers fundamental concepts in law using reference texts, online lectures, mock exams, writing labs, and resource materials. Students learn how to prepare documents, support filings, and other skills necessary in the legal industry. After completing the core curriculum, students can choose two elective courses such as Contract Law, Criminal Law, Family Law, and Business Organizations. The Center for Professional Education prepares individuals to work in private, governmental, and corporate law positions while also offering assistance in interviewing and resume and cover letter drafting. Applicants must have a high school diploma; each student has 12 months from the registration date to complete the certificate.
El Paso Community College
9570 Gateway N Blvd
El Paso, TX 79924
Student Review: “I enjoyed my paralegal program. I learned how to do wills, real estate documents, such as deeds and abstracts of judgment. I learned the importance of trial notebooks and how to prepare one. I spent a whole year just learning the rules for Texas and how to research the laws of the state. I had only 3 teachers for the entire time I was in the program, so it was very personalized. Part of the program is the internship. I ended up being hired at the firm I was interning at and have been here for over 2 years. I was prepared enough that I was able to pass my national certification test. I would recommend this program to anyone looking for a career.” – Student at El Paso Community College
Southern Methodist University
Dallas, TX 75205
Student Review: “SMU’s paralegal certification program was a really great and informative program. I was able to earn a certification in paralegal studies in less than a year and without paying a huge sum of money. I learned a lot of things that have been really valuable in my current job as a paralegal at a large law firm in Dallas (i.e. drafting). A lot of the assignments we did during class I brought with me to one of my job interviews and the attorney I interviewed with loved that I had work to showcase; I believe that helped me get the job. I loved that a lot of the teachers were current attorneys. I also really loved that the program went through various types of law: criminal, torts/contracts, and bankruptcy. While the program was very informative, a lot of the tasks I do on a daily basis I learned on the job and did not learn in the program. For example, there was not a section of the program that went through family law. I currently am a paralegal working in family law so a lot of the things I do during the day I learned through the attorneys I work for and not through the SMU program. Overall, the SMU paralegal program was a great program and I have recommended it to many people who are interested in pursuing a career in the legal field.” – Student at Southern Methodist University
Tarrant County College
1500 Houston St
Fort Worth, TX 76102
Student Review: “The staff at TCC are knowledgeable of the curriculum and thorough in their techniques. I was given the tools necessary to be competitive in the legal support field by legal professionals. The paralegal co-op internship which I took during my course of study was invaluable to my successes later and helped gear me towards the correct specialty area of law where I would feel most comfortable. The courses are set up where you work individually and in groups to give you an idea of what working for a solo attorney and in a larger multi-attorney office with other paralegals will be like. The course work is also very affordable, as it is priced less than that of a 4-year institution, yet has the same level of classes needed to succeed when going into the workforce.” -Student at Tarrant County College
University of Texas at Austin
110 Inner Campus Dr
Austin, TX 78705
Student Review: “The University of Texas paralegal program is extremely difficult, but that’s expected from a top 25 public university in the world. One of the major draws to attending the university is the prestige of the degree that is provided upon completion. Austin is the capital of Texas, so there is a cornucopia of internship opportunities for state senators and representatives. Although the classes can be difficult, professors have flexible office hours and are easy to communicate with. The professors encourage students to get internships with state officials, and one of my favorite professors even recommended me to my current employer. In order to get a job, having the qualifications is the minimum requirement, but having connections and experience is usually what puts a candidate over the top. The University of Texas paralegal program strives to not only educate their students but also to provide them with the experience and connections to succeed post-graduation.” -William C., Student at University of Texas at Austin
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/