Paralegal Schools in Washington
The paralegal schools in Washington offer a variety of programs for students who wish to pursue a paralegal education. The information contained in this guide will help you make the right choice when deciding which paralegal studies program is best for you. Online paralegal programs may also be an appropriate alternative to traditional on-campus schools, offering greater flexibility for some students. Reference our guide for paralegal careers in Washington to learn more about career opportunities for graduates with a degree or certificate in legal studies.
- There are 12 colleges and universities that offer paralegal/legal assistant degree programs in Washington.1
- 11 schools offer a certificate program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
- 9 schools offer an associate’s degree program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
- No schools offer 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
- 2 schools ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Legal Writing Programs in 2022.4
- 5 ABA-approved paralegal degree programs are in Washington.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
- Select Schools in Washington 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 Washington based on various factors. The table includes paralegal program-specific information such as the programs offered and whether there are any online options. It also includes general school information to help you compare the colleges and universities that host these programs, including overall acceptance rate, graduation rate for first-time bachelor’s degree seekers, median debt for graduates, and net tuition per year for full-time undergraduate study. 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|
|Edmonds Community College (Lynnwood)||Yes||Certificate-Paralegal;|
|Green River College (Auburn)||—||Certificate-Paralegal;|
AAA-Legal Administrative Assistant
|Highline College (Des Moines)||Yes||Certificate-Paralegal Plus;|
|South Puget Sound Community College (Olympia)||—||Certificate-Paralegal Plus;|
|Seattle University (Seattle)||Yes||Master of Legal Studies||78%||74%||Yes||$18,425||$35,569|
|Renton Technical College (Renton)||—||Certificate-Legal Assistant;|
|Spokane Community College (Spokane)||Yes||Certificate-Paralegal;|
|Tacoma Community College (Tacoma)||Yes||Certificate-Paralegal;|
|University of Washington-Seattle Campus (Seattle)||—||Certificate-Paralegal Studies||52%||84%||Yes||$13,000||$10,692|
|Walla Walla Community College (Walla Walla)||—||Certificate-Paralegal||100%||40%||Yes||$8,000||$6,795|
|Whatcom Community College (Bellingham)||—||Certificate-Paralegal Studies;|
|Yakima Valley College (Yakima)||—||Certificate-Legal Receptionist;|
AAS-Legal Office Assistant
- — indicates none.
- N.Av. indicates no data available.
Top-Ranked Schools with Paralegal Programs
US News & World Report’s Best Law Schools 2022
- University of Washington (#45)
- Seattle University (#126 tie)
US News & World Report’s Best Legal Writing Programs 2022
- Seattle University (#7)
- University of Washington (#41 tie)
Select Schools in Washington with Paralegal Degrees
The paralegal curriculum at Edmonds Community College (ECC) incorporates a 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 during the day, evening, and online as well as a program structure that allows students to start studying in the summer, fall, winter, or spring, ECC’s paralegal program is a comprehensive and accommodating option for prospective paralegals. Three degree programs are offered including a 93-credit hour Paralegal Associate of Technical Arts (ATA) degree, a 40-credit hour Advanced Paralegal Certificate for students with a bachelor’s degree or higher, and an Associate of Applied Science Transfer (AAS-T) that can be completed with 90 credit hours. All three program options have been formally approved by the ABA.
Spokane Community College (SCC) offers an ABA-approved Paralegal Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree for students without previous college credit and an ABA-approved Paralegal Certificate program for students who have completed a college degree. The programs are designed to enable students to conduct legal research, prepare legal documents, summarize depositions, interview clients, and perform various professional administrative tasks. Select courses include Contracts; Employment Law; Legal Ethics; Interview and Investigation Techniques; and Supervised Legal Work Experience. Through the programs, students have access to a variety of online legal research resources as well as a faculty of trained attorneys and paralegals. In addition to procedural and substantive legal knowledge, the SCC programs emphasize legal ethics and professional conduct.
The Tacoma Community College paralegal program aims to produce graduates who are ethical, top-quality paralegals with the 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 ABA. Courses can be taken during the day or evening, with optional hybrid online classes, though 10 semester credits must be taken through the traditional classroom setting. 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 into the end of the program, requiring students to complete a minimum of 132 hours at an approved firm, agency, or corporation. The Paralegal Pro-Certificate program is designed for students who already have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in another subject and want to transition to the legal field.
Hybrid and Online Programs
Renton Technical College is home to a Legal Assistant Certificate of Completion and an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Legal Assistant. With a full-time course load, the certificate program takes five quarters to complete and the AAS requires five or more quarters of study, depending on the chosen schedule. Students can begin classes in the fall, winter, or spring, and courses are available during the evening on campus as well as in a hybrid online format. Both programs emphasize law office procedures as well as written and verbal communication skills. The curriculum for the AAS degree includes required core classes such as Technology in the Law Office; Civil Litigation; Word Processing; Family Law and Estate Planning Procedures; and Legal Keyboarding. 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.
At the University of Washington, students can earn a Certificate in Paralegal Studies in 11 or 17 months, depending on whether the standard or accelerated format is chosen. 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 majority of professors are still active in private practice. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. 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. 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/