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Paralegal Schools in Virginia

The paralegal schools in Virginia offer a wide array of programs from the certificate to the advanced degree level. This overview of paralegal schools in Virginia will provide you with the high-level information you need to make an informed decision on where to study. You may also find that online paralegal degree programs are a good match for your career goals.

Quick Facts

  • There are 24 colleges and universities that offer paralegal/legal assistant degree programs in Virginia.1
  • 16 schools offer a certificate program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
  • 10 schools offer an associate’s degree program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
  • 5 schools offer a bachelor’s degree program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
  • 6 schools offer a master’s or advanced degree for paralegals/legal assistants.1
  • 7 schools ranked in Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 2018.2
  • 3 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
  • 5 schools ranked in US News Best Law Schools in 2019.5
  • 4 not-for-profit ABA-approved paralegal degree programs are in Virginia.6

Top-Ranked Schools with Paralegal Programs

Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges 2018*

  • Christopher Newport University (#82 in-state, #66 out-of-state)
  • College of William and Mary (#11 in-state, #9 out-of-state)
  • George Mason University (#99 in-state, #100 out-of-state)
  • James Madison University (#42 in-state, #63 out-of-state)
  • University of Mary Washington (#95 in-state, #98 out-of-state)
  • University of Virginia (#3 in-state, #3 out-of-state)
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (#28 in-state, #39 out-of-state)

*Institution-wide ranking.

Paralegal411’s Top Online Paralegal Programs 2018

  • Regent University (#2 tie)
  • Liberty University (#14)
  • Hampton University (#18)

US News Best Law Schools 2019

  • University of Virginia (#9 tie)
  • Washington and Lee University (#26)
  • College of William and Mary (#37 tie)
  • Georgia Mason University (#41 tie)
  • University of Richmond (#50 tie)

Schools with Paralegal Programs Approved by the ABA

  • J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College
  • Northern Virginia Community College
  • South University Virginia Beach
  • Tidewater Community College
    • Paralegal Degree Programs in Virginia

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      J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College

      The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Paralegal Studies at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College is designed to train students to perform a variety of law-related tasks. The liberal arts curriculum includes general education and elective courses across a variety of topics meant to ensure an equal level of proficiency in a range of academic and professional fields. Introductory legal specialty courses are taken within the first semester of the program, becoming more specialized throughout the curriculum progression. Upper-level legal courses tend to have a more narrow focus, such as Virginia and Federal Procedure or Information Systems for the Paralegal. Technology skills are emphasized throughout the course sequence, with many classes requiring and teaching online research and presentation skills. This program includes a coordinated internship requirement taken during the final semester that applies the knowledge and skill emphasized throughout the curriculum in a real-world working environment. The J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College paralegal program provides a practical and application-based introduction to the paralegal profession and has been approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).

      Join a local paralegal association. Most local paralegal associations are member associations of a state and national paralegal association; so once you become a member of a local paralegal association, you are automatically a member of a state and national paralegal association. This widens your paralegal network, gives you exposure as a paralegal, and gives you an opportunity to get involved in your profession.” –Kathi P. Ingram, RP, President and Co-Founder of the Paralegal Association of Northern Virginia.

      Northern Virginia Community College

      The two-year Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Paralegal Studies program at Northern Virginia Community College prepares students for professional employment in law offices, government agencies, insurance groups, and corporations. The program imparts a general understanding of American and Virginia procedural law as well as proficiency in task-specific skills associated with the paralegal and legal assistant profession. Students are required to complete 63 credit hours over the course of four semesters; general education courses, elective courses, and mandatory legal courses are all included in this course sequence. This program meets or exceeds the standards set by the American Bar Association (ABA) and provides valuable legal knowledge for students interested in becoming career paralegals or pursuing other law-related careers.

      Online Paralegal Programs

      Liberty University

      Liberty University offers an Associate of Arts (AA) in Paralegal Studies degree that can be completed entirely online. This 60-credit program is based on a schedule of eight-week courses; most full-time students complete the curriculum within two years. The AA is aimed at working professionals who need a flexible schedule to complete a degree. Through courses such as Civil Practice, Criminal Practice and Procedures, and Legal Research, students learn foundational knowledge about the legal field. The curriculum also covers practical skills such as performing title searches, writing depositions, and preparing real estate transactions. Classes focus on case studies and experiential learning to teach hands-on, career-relevant knowledge. In addition to the associate degree, Liberty University also offers an entirely online Bachelor of Science (BS) in Paralegal Studies program, to which most of the course credits from the AA program can be transferred.

      Hampton University

      Through Hampton University students can earn a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Paralegal Studies 100% online. This four-year, 122-credit hour degree program is designed for both students new to the field and experienced paralegal professionals interested in increasing their career opportunities. The undergraduate curriculum starts with a strong liberal arts core before moving on to specialized courses in law. Students learn fundamental knowledge about the legal field in classes such as Contemporary Legal Ethics, Litigation and Trial Practice, and Constitutional Law. Hampton University also emphasizes general skills in verbal and written communication, research, and critical thinking. Although all courses are online, students also complete a paralegal internship as part of their curriculum, gaining real-world experience before graduating from the program. Graduates may go on to work in paralegal and legal assistant positions in law firms, corporations, and government agencies.

      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.

      Liberty University
      1971 University Blvd
      Lynchburg, VA 24515
      (434) 582-2000
      https://www.liberty.edu/

      Student Review: “I was very satisfied with my experience at Liberty University. First, they gave me a discount on tuition, because my husband is a military member. Which is good, because they are not as cheap as a community college. Secondly, the information included in the courses was informative and usually interesting. The courses taught paralegal skills, and more importantly how to interpret issues in the legal field from a Christian viewpoint. I attended Liberty University Online, and it was very convenient for me. Actually, I wouldn’t have been able to finish my degree while being a stay at home mom, not to mention all the times I moved while completing my degree. The tuition and services provided didn’t change once due to the moves either. Lastly, I’ll say, that some of the reading material was so interesting that I could not put it down, like a good book. I even kept one of the texts to read again.” -Student at Liberty University
      stars-5

      Regent University
      1000 Regent University Dr
      Virginia Beach, VA 23464
      (757) 352-4127
      https://www.regent.edu/

      Student Review: “Regent University is a small, faith-based school that has a main campus located in the Virginia Beach area of Hampton Roads. They offer a paralegal studies program as part of their continuing education curriculum. I enjoyed my time at Regent mainly because of the convenience of the campus, the quality of the staff including Dean Gantt at the Law School, the small class sizes allowing for more one on one interaction with professors, and the convenience of class start/end times. As I was a very busy adult pursuing work and career endeavors during the day, having the ability to schedule my classes either online or around my work schedule was very convenient. The professors were very understanding during the few occasions I had to miss a class such as Legal Writing and allowed me to make up the work that I had missed on my own time and receive the necessary credit. I found the Christian theme of the school to be a bit overbearing and confusing at times as biblical laws and teachings can sometimes conflict with the legal profession of today. The school has a weekly prayer service at the chapel on campus as well as daily devotions held about 5-15 minutes before the actual start of classes in each room. Most of my professors seemed like wonderful people full of life experience. Some worked as attorneys for the Right to Work Foundation. The facilities seemed adequate with a wonderful to scale recreation of a courtroom setting in the main law school building. Overall, I was pleased with my experience at Regent and would recommend the school to anyone interested in the paralegal/legal studies field.” -Student at Regent University
      stars-3

      Thomas Nelson Community College
      99 Thomas Nelson Dr
      Hampton, VA 23666
      (757) 825-2800
      https://tncc.edu/

      Student Review: “The Paralegal Studies Program at TNCC is a rigorous program and on the way to becoming more so. TNCC could easily become the go-to institution for anyone seeking a well-educated professional paralegal in Hampton Roads. From day one I have had support and encouragement from professors. Each class coincides with the other so the class flow is easy. Incorporating practical discussions about the day-to-day practice of law, whether regarding marketing, client interaction, ethics, business operations, networking, community involvement, or stress management, is an important part of every course. We are emailed about jobs that become available in Hampton Roads in our student accounts, I will use this resource as I get closer to completing the course. There is also a Facebook page for the TNCC paralegal studies group.” -Student at Thomas Nelson Community College
      stars-4

      Tidewater Technical College
      5301 E Princess Anne Rd
      Norfolk, VA 23502
      (757) 858-8324
      http://www.tidewatertechtrades.edu/

      Student Review: “I chose enroll in online classes since I would physically be in another state. Because they were entry-level classes, I was able to self-study and still actually understand and retain the information, and that was mainly because of how the information was presented. Instead of them throwing information at you and expecting you to understand it in raw form, the courses we well coordinated so that I was pretty much studying the same sections or focuses at the same time in all my classes. That helped the information blend together, and it made it easier to learn, as opposed to trying to remember 4 different abstract concepts that were totally unrelated. The coursework was rigorous. I often had 2-3 hours of homework to complete each day, and that was on top of 20 or more pages of reading and note-taking. But the subjects were often tied in with real-life scenarios and applications, so the work was actually interesting and was more about exploration and comprehension rather than regurgitation of textbook terms that mean nothing in real life application on a job. All of the professors were responsive and helpful, which was particularly important to me since I would not get the benefit of attending lectures and having interaction in classroom discussions. I was able to get feedback just as quickly as I could if I had been an in-class student. The program has statewide recognition, and before I finished the program, I was already educated enough and well qualified to work as a paralegal. I was employed at one of the most prestigious real estate law firms in the area during my fall semester, and while I am sure the decision was based on my individual competence, I believe the program had a lot of influence in that decision since I was not even finished with the program and they hired me eagerly.” -Student at Tidewater Technical College
      stars-5

      Virginia Commonwealth University
      907 Floyd Ave
      Richmond, VA 23284
      (804) 828-0100
      https://www.vcu.edu/

      Student Review: “Earning my certificate of paralegal studies from Virginia Commonwealth University was definitely a positive experience for me. I really enjoyed the convenience and structure of the program. A lot of the classes were available as online courses and this was something that I loved. Having to work full-time a full-time job while taking classes, the online courses definitely made my life a lot easier. I was also very pleased with the university’s placement services. My career counselor helped me to get an internship while in the program and I was offered a permanent position after graduating. The one thing that I would improve upon is the size of the classes. Most of my classes consisted of about 50 people. This was not an impairment for me but I had classmates that felt that the large classes took away from their learning experience.” -Student at Virginia Commonwealth University
      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/