logo

Paralegal Schools in Washington DC

Various schools in Washington DC can provide high-quality education in paralegal studies. This overview of paralegal schools in Washington DC contains key information so that you can make the right decision on where to go to school to support your personal interests and paralegal career goals. With few paralegal programs in Washington DC, you might want to look at programs in nearby states such as Maryland and Virginia. As an alternative to traditional on-campus schools, you may also wish to consider an online paralegal program, which may offer a more flexible schedule for working or busy students. For more information about job possibilities in the paralegal field, visit our paralegal careers in Washington DC guide.

Quick Facts

  • There are 4 colleges and universities that offer paralegal/legal assistant degree programs in Washington DC.1
  • 2 schools offer a certificate program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
  • 2 schools offer an associate’s degree program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
  • 1 school offers a bachelor’s degree program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
  • 1 school offers a master’s degree for paralegals/legal assistants.1
  • No schools ranked in Paralegal411’s Top Online Paralegal Programs.2
  • 2 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
  • No ABA-approved paralegal degree programs are in Washington DC.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 Washington DC
Select Schools in Washington DC with Paralegal Degrees

Comparison of Paralegal Programs

The table below will help you compare not-for-profit paralegal and legal studies programs in Washington DC 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.

SchoolABA Approved?Paralegal Degree(s)Acceptance Rate6Grad Rate1Online Options?Median Debt7Net Price1
American UniversityBA-Legal Studies;
Master of Legal Studies
36%79%Yes$19,926$37,319
Catholic University of AmericaCertificate-Paralegal Studies;
AA-Paralegal Studies
85%74%Yes$23,987$36,228
George Washington UniversityCertificate-Paralegal Studies41%85%Yes$21,500$40,308
University of the District of ColumbiaAAS-Legal Assistant100%23%Yes$11,500$16,125

  • — indicates none.
  • N.Av. indicates no data available.

Top-Ranked Schools with Paralegal Programs

US News & World Report’s Best Law Schools 2022

  • George Washington University (#27 tie)
  • American University (#81 tie)

US News & World Report’s Best Legal Writing Programs 2022

  • George Washington University (#27 tie)
  • American University (#81 tie)
  • The Catholic University of America (#102 tie)
  • University of the District of Columbia (#147-193)

Select Schools in Washington DC with Paralegal Degrees

Traditional Programs

University of the District of Columbia Community College

Students at the University of the District of Columbia Community College (UDC-CC) can complete an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Legal Assistant. This 62-credit hour program covers fundamental legal concepts in the American legal system. Students start with general education courses in liberal arts, writing, and mathematics before moving on to the specialized legal curriculum. Through courses such as Legal Process; Investigative Techniques and Evidence; and Law Office Administration, students earn a broad foundation in legal research, case management, legal writing, and court procedure. The curriculum focuses on the real-world skills needed in legal offices such as drafting legal documents and conducting research and interviews; it also emphasizes the role of legal ethics and common challenges that arise in the field. Graduates are prepared to find positions as legal assistants or paralegals in a variety of legal environments.

Hybrid and Online Programs

American University

Students can earn an online Master of Legal Studies (MLS) through the American University (AU) Washington College of Law. The graduate program is designed for professionals who have law-related responsibilities in their professions. Students gain an understanding of the US legal system as well as tangible skills they can use in their careers. With tracks such as General MLS, Business, Health Care Compliance, Technology, and Cybersecurity, students have the opportunity to grow their legal training as well as develop industry-specific skills to address legal challenges common in their fields. This 30-credit hour program can be completed entirely online through live classes that are supplemented with self-paced coursework. Students have the option of choosing a full-time schedule to complete the program in as few as 12 months. Required courses include Introduction to Courts and Law; Introduction to Regulation and Compliance; Drafting for Compliance Policies, and Negotiation and Communication; as well as electives such as Contract Draft, Criminal Justice, Human Resources Compliance, and Cyber Law.

Catholic University of America

The Catholic University of America (CUA) offers an Associate of Arts in Paralegal Studies (AA-PS) and a Paralegal Studies Certificate (PSC) that can be taken online or on-campus at either the main campus in Washington DC or in Alexandria, Virginia. The AA can be earned in two years when enrolled full-time and the Certificate can be completed in five semesters. In order to accommodate working students, flexible online and evening classes are offered for the AA degree, and evening classes are offered for the Certificate. There are nine law core courses built into the AA curriculum including Introduction to Paralegal Studies; Professional Responsibility and Legal Ethics; Legal Research and Writing; Civil Procedure; Corporations; Criminal Law and Procedure; Torts; Contract Law; and a Paralegal Internship. Students can place their focus on either the General Practice or Litigation Practice track. Experienced faculty members teach the course material in small classroom settings, offering students individualized attention. Graduates of CUA have found work in DC within the Federal Government, the State Department, and in private law offices. Potential careers include real estate and title insurance paralegals; public defender paralegals; and criminal law paralegals.

George Washington University

George Washington University (GWU) offers a hybrid online Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Paralegal Studies. Designed for professionals working in law, corporations, healthcare, or government, this program focuses on legal fundamentals and practical knowledge about the law. Working professionals and other non-traditional students can take advantage of the flexible program schedule that includes evening classes and online offerings. This degree program can be completed at the Graduate Education Center in Alexandria, Virginia, the Foggy Bottom Campus in DC, or completely online. Through 32 credit hours chosen from 12 classes, students learn about the American legal system and different legal subspecialties. Required courses include American Jurisprudence; Legal Research and Writing; Litigation; and Government Contracts Law. The degree also includes a non-credit but mandatory practicum, in which students work in a professional environment to prepare them to enter the legal field. On-campus students must begin this program in the fall, but online students have the option to enroll in the fall, spring, or summer semester. GWU also offers an 18- or 24-credit Graduate Certificate in Paralegal Studies that takes between two and four semesters to complete.

References:
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/