Paralegal Schools in Virginia
The paralegal schools in Virginia offer a wide array of programs from the certificate to the master’s 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. Please be sure to visit our guide to paralegal careers in Virginia to find out more about opportunities for paralegals and legal assistants.
- There are 18 colleges and universities that offer paralegal/legal assistant degree programs in Virginia.1
- 13 schools offer a certificate program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
- 11 schools offer an associate’s degree program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
- 4 schools offer a bachelor’s degree program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
- 1 school offers a master’s degree for paralegals/legal assistants.1
- 3 schools ranked in Paralegal411’s Top Online Paralegal Programs.2
- 4 schools ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Law Schools in 2022.3
- 4 schools ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Legal Writing Programs in 2022.4
- 3 not-for-profit ABA-approved paralegal degree programs are in Virginia.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 Virginia
- Select Schools in Virginia 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 Virginia based on various factors. The table includes the paralegal programs offered, the graduation rate for first-time bachelor’s degree seekers, and the average net price of tuition for in-state students after financial aid awards. 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|
|Germanna Community College (Locust Grove)||—||Certificate-Legal Assistant||100%||37%||Yes||$5,500||$7,271|
|George Mason University (Fairfax)||—||Minor-Legal Studies||87%||71%||—||$15,994||$20,157|
|Hampton University (Hampton)||—||Certificate-Paralegal Studies;|
|J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College (Richmond)||Yes||Certificate-Paralegal Studies;|
|John Tyler Community College (Chester)||—||Certificate-Paralegal Studies||100%||28%||Yes||$5,500||$6,573|
|Liberty University (Lynchburg)||—||Certificate-Paralegal Studies;|
|Lord Fairfax Community College (Warrenton)||—||AAS-Paralegal Studies||100%||38%||—||$5,284||$6,580|
|Mountain Empire Community College (Big Stone Gap)||—||Certificate-Legal Office Assisting;|
|New River Community College (Dublin)||—||Certificate-Paralegal Assistant;|
AAS-Office Systems Technology: Paralegal Administrative Support
|Northern Virginia Community College (Annandale)||Yes||AAS-Paralegal Studies||100%||27%||—||$5,743||$9,440|
|Patrick Henry Community College (Martinsville)||—||AAS-Legal Assisting||100%||38%||—||N.Av.||$5,383|
|Regent University (Virginia Beach)||—||BS-Paralegal Studies;|
MA-Law: Advance Paralegal Studies
|Southwest Virginia Community College (Cedar Bluff)||—||Certificate-Legal Studies||100%||36%||Yes||N.Av.||$8,326|
|Thomas Nelson Community College (Hampton)||—||Certificate-Legal Assistant;|
|Tidewater Community College (Norfolk)||Yes||Certificate-Legal Assistant;|
Certificate-Paralegal General Practice;
|University of Richmond (Richmond)||—||Certificate-Paralegal Studies;|
|Virginia Western Community College (Roanoke)||—||Certificate-Legal Office Assisting;|
|Wytheville Community College (Wytheville)||—||Certificate-Legal Assisting;|
AAS-Administrative Support Technology: Legal Assistant
- — indicates none.
- N.Av. indicates no data available.
Top-Ranked Schools with Paralegal Programs
Paralegal411’s Top Online Paralegal Programs 2018
- Regent University (#2 tie)
- Liberty University (#14)
- Hampton University (#18)
US News & World Report’s Best Law Schools 2022
- George Mason University (#41 tie)
- University of Richmond (#53 tie)
- Liberty University (#147-193)
- Regent University (#147-193)
US News & World Report’s Best Legal Writing Programs 2022
- University of Richmond (#68 tie)
- George Mason University (#159 tie)
- Liberty University (#175 tie)
- Regent University (#175 tie)
Select Schools in Virginia with Paralegal Degrees
The ABA-approved Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Paralegal Studies at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College (Reynolds) is designed to fill the need for paralegals in the Richmond area and the state of Virginia. The liberal arts curriculum includes general education and elective courses across a variety of topics such as composition, history, and the humanities. Introductory legal specialty courses are taken early in the program, becoming more specialized throughout the curriculum progression. Upper-level legal courses include more narrowly focussed courses, such as Virginia and Federal Procedure; E-Practice; and Information Systems for the Paralegal. Technology skills are emphasized throughout the course sequence, with many classes teaching online research, court filing, and presentation skills. This program includes a coordinated internship requirement taken after a comprehensive examination that applies the knowledge and skill emphasized throughout the curriculum in a real-world working environment. Graduates should be prepared for employment as paralegals in law firms, government agencies, and other private firms.
Mountain Empire Community College (MECC) offers an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Paralegal Studies that will help prepare graduates to work in legal offices. Students will receive instruction in American legal processes and learn skills necessary to aid practicing attorneys, such as effective communication skills; legal research and analysis; and computer skills. The four-semester curriculum includes 69 credits of general education and legal courses. Paralegal courses cover topics such as Ethics for the Paralegal and Legal Transactions, while general education courses offer instruction in practical skills such as Telephone Techniques and Word Processing. Before beginning the program, students will have their math and English skills assessed to determine if any prerequisite coursework is required. Graduates of the Paralegal Studies program will be prepared for paralegal positions in financial, legal, and government institutions. Students may be interested in beginning their studies with MECC’s one-year, 30-credit Legal Office Assisting Certificate before moving on to the AAS in Paralegal Studies.
The two-year ABA-approved Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Paralegal Studies program at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) helps prepare students for professional employment in law offices, government agencies, insurance groups, and corporations. The program teaches a general overview of American 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, including general education courses, elective courses, and mandatory legal courses. Paralegal courses include Trial Practice and the Law of Evidence; Estate Planning and Probate; and Real Estate Law. To stay in the program, students must complete all legal courses with a “C” or higher in the order prescribed by the curriculum. Up to 75% of total credits and up to 50% of legal course credits may be transferred to NOVA from another college or university.
The ABA-approved Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Paralegal Studies at Tidewater Community College (TCC) offers students a chance to pursue a career as a paralegal while gaining work experience. Paralegal Studies students may focus their studies on general practice, litigation, or a combination of the two. The 67-credit curriculum is developed in part by an advisory committee of local judges, lawyers, and paralegals. Legal instruction includes subjects such as ethics, law office administration, and trial preparation. On-the-job training is offered in the Cooperative Education in Paralegal course, in which students will gain paid work experience relevant to their studies. Graduates of the program should be able to prepare legal documents, assist attorneys in trial preparation, and conduct legal research. TCC’s Paralegal Studies program meets the requirements to sit for both the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) certification exams. TCC also offers certificate programs in Paralegal General Practice, Litigation Specialist, and Legal Assistant.
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.
Hybrid and Online Programs
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 solid 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 as paralegals or legal assistants in law firms, corporations, and government agencies. Hampton also offers an 18-credit certificate in Paralegal Studies, which can be applied to further study in the BA program.
Students in the Paralegal Studies program at Virginia Western Community College (VWCC) can earn an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) that will help prepare them to provide services to clients under the supervision of a practicing attorney. Classes are presented in both face-to-face and online formats, with both daytime and evening scheduling available. The program focuses on civil and criminal law procedures and developing computer skills necessary to work in a legal office. Over the course of the four-semester program, students will take courses such as Introduction to Desktop Information Management; Trial Preparation and Discovery Practice; and Legal Research. All paralegal courses are taught by licensed attorneys. Admission into the program requires students to be at least 18 years old. Entering students who do not demonstrate sufficient abilities in English and math may be required to take developmental courses. Paralegal Studies graduates will be prepared to begin careers as paralegals or to continue their education by transferring to a four-year program.
1971 University Blvd
Lynchburg, VA 24515
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
1000 Regent University Dr
Virginia Beach, VA 23464
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
Thomas Nelson Community College
99 Thomas Nelson Dr
Hampton, VA 23666
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
Tidewater Technical College
5301 E Princess Anne Rd
Norfolk, VA 23502
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
Virginia Commonwealth University
907 Floyd Ave
Richmond, VA 23284
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
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/