Paralegal Schools in Washington
The paralegal schools in Washington offer a variety of programs for students who wish to pursue a general paralegal education as well as programs for students interested in specialty paralegal practice areas like real estate law. The information contained in this guide to paralegal schools in Washington will help you make the right choice. Online paralegal programs may also be an appropriate alternative to traditional on-campus schools, offering greater flexibility for some students.
- There are 23 colleges and universities that offer paralegal/legal assistant degree programs in Washington.1
- 15 schools offer a certificate program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
- 16 schools offer an associate’s degree program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
- 3 schools offer a bachelor’s degree program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
- 2 schools offer a master’s or advanced degree for paralegals/legal assistants.1
- 2 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
- 3 schools ranked in US News Best Law Schools in 2019.5
- 4 not-for-profit ABA-approved paralegal degree programs are in Washington.6
Top-Ranked Schools with Paralegal Programs
Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges 2018*
- University of Washington (#7 in-state, #17 out-of-state)
- Western Washington University (#92 in-state, #79 out-of-state)
US News Best Law Schools 2019
- University of Washington (#32 tie)
- Gonzaga University (#113 tie)
- Seattle University (#128 tie)
Schools with Paralegal Programs Approved by the ABA
- Edmonds Community College
- Highline Community College
- Spokane Community College
- Tacoma Community College
Paralegal Degree Programs in Washington
Edmonds Community College
The paralegal curriculum at Edmonds Community College incorporates a solid foundation in legal specialties such as intellectual property, litigation, and criminal law while developing key professional skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and legal research and writing. With courses offered days, evenings, and online and a program structure that allows students to start studying in the summer, fall, winter, or spring, Edmonds Community College’s paralegal program is a comprehensive and accommodating option for prospective paralegals. Three separate degree programs are offered including a Paralegal Associate of Technical Arts degree, an Advanced Paralegal Certificate for students with a bachelor’s degree or higher, and a Medical Paralegal Certificate for registered nurses with a degree or diploma. All three program options have been formally approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).
Spokane Community College
Spokane Community College offers both a Paralegal Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree for students with no college credit and a Paralegal Certificate program for students who have completed a college degree. The programs are designed to enable students to conduct legal research, develop trial notebooks, prepare legal documents, summarize depositions, interview clients, and perform various professional administrative tasks. Through the programs, students have access to a variety of online legal research resources as well as a talented faculty of trained attorneys and paralegals. In addition to procedural and substantive legal knowledge, the Spokane Community College programs emphasize legal ethics and professional conduct through several mandatory courses. The two paralegal degree programs offered at Spokane Community College are excellent introductions to the field and have both been approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).
Tacoma Community College
The Tacoma Community College paralegal program aims to produce graduates who are ethical, top-quality paralegals with the array of professional skills necessary to succeed in a complex legal environment. Both the Paralegal Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree program and the Paralegal Preferred Pro-Certificate program at Tacoma Community College have been approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). The associate’s degree coursework covers several substantive legal topics and develops critical thinking, research, and analysis skills that will help students become invaluable members of law firms and corporations. This program incorporates a legal internship component in the final semester of the two-year program. This internship provides students with a unique opportunity to engage the course material in a real-world setting, hone professional skills, and make important contacts within the field. The Paralegal Pro-Certificate program is designed for students who already have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree but want to transition to the legal field.
Online Paralegal Programs
Renton Technical College
Renton Technical College is home to a Legal Assistant Certificate of Completion and an Associate of Applied Science (AAS)-Legal Assistant. With a full-time course load, the certificate program takes four quarters to complete and the AAS requires six quarters of study. Students can begin classes in the fall, winter, or spring, and courses are available during the day and evening on-campus as well as in a hybrid online format. Both programs emphasize a thorough understanding of law office procedures and written and verbal communication skills. The curriculum for the AAS degree includes required core classes such as Technology in the Law Office and Civil Litigation as well as courses that specifically support student careers like Job Search and Externship. Many graduates from these programs go on to work in entry-level positions in private law firms, government, in-house legal departments, and within the court system.
University of Washington
At the University of Washington, students can earn a Certificate in Paralegal Studies in 11 to 14 months. The certificate program focuses on the foundations of the legal system, covering the court systems, trials, and legal analysis. Students also explore practical subjects ranging from the technology used in the field to professional ethics. The core certificate curriculum includes courses such as Contract Law, Civil Procedure and Litigation, Business Law, and Legal Research, Writing, and Analysis. The majority of the required courses are in the classroom during the evening, but some classes are available completely online. The Certificate in Paralegal Studies program at the University of Washington has been approved by the Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT) Board of the Washington State Bar Association, which means that students can pursue the state’s LLLT certification. This certification may help graduates find work in private, public, or government law offices.
South Puget Sound Community College
2011 Mottman Rd SW
Olympia, WA 98512
Student Review: “During my short time at South Puget Community College I received a lot of material on resources that were awesome, like access to a law library and having instructors that were practicing attorneys. The classroom was always clean and inviting. The material seemed current and relevant to my degree path. The advisory for the paralegal students was fantastic. He was very thorough with designing a practical career path that did not intimidate you or slow you down. The school made a few changes about a year into the program that deterred me away for a short time, for example, we gained new teachers and advisers. It was particularly frustrating to then contact the adviser for meeting times. It is something though I am sure many small schools face when challenged with new members of staff. I will enjoy continuing my education with them in the future, once ripples have smoothed.” -Student at South Puget Sound 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/