Aba Approved Paralegal Programs vs Non Aba Approved

Finding the best paralegal program is a difficult task, almost anyone would agree. You have to consider things like tuition, cost of living, and most importantly for some people, which schools are ABA approved and which aren’t. This article will discuss the differences between ABA approved paralegal programs and those that aren’t even touched upon by the ABA.

You may find it hard to access the right information on the internet, so we are here to help you in the following article, providing the best and updated information on aba approved paralegal programs vs non aba approved, aba approved paralegal programs in los angeles. Read on to learn more. We at infolearners .com have all the information that you need about paralegal certificate. Read on to learn more.

Certificate Program in Paralegal Studies Online | Criminal Justice &  Security Studies Program | UMass Lowell

At Aba, we’ve been working hard to bring the best paralegal programs to you. But because this is a new industry and there are many different aspects to consider, it can be difficult to know which programs are right for you. That’s why we’ve created this handy chart!

You’ll notice that all of the programs listed here have been approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). While some of them may appear in multiple states, they were all accredited by ABA in their home state.

That means that once you complete an approved program and pass the bar exam, you’ll be able to work as a paralegal in all 50 states without having to move and without having to change your name.

aba approved paralegal programs vs non aba approved

If you’re looking for a career as a paralegal, finding the right paralegal school can be challenging. Not only should you be looking for a top ranked education, you should also be looking for a program that is most likely to ensure job placement after completion AND is one of the few ABA approved paralegal programs. While there are many things to consider when looking into a paralegal program, few aspects are as critical as finding a school that is approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). ABA approval is a mark of excellence within the legal profession. Graduates from an ABA-approved program convey a high level of education, training, and confidence to potential employers. The following is a list of advantages of ABA-approved paralegal programs compared to Non-ABA approved programs.

1. Employers prefer ABA-approved Some state bar associations and paralegal associations, including those in the states of Colorado, Wisconsin and Nevada advocate preferences for graduates of ABA-approved paralegal programs. In addition, ABA-approved Paralegal degree programs prepare you for employment as a paralegal, legal assistant or in sectors such as banking, real estate and insurance.

2. Approved curriculum The American Bar Association has a high standard when it comes to paralegal education. The approved ABA paralegal curriculum is tailored towards providing the skills in research, document preparation, client interviews and drafting of legal documents. Most ABA-approved schools will have programs of study that include Introduction to Law, Civil Procedure, Legal Research & Writing, Contracts, Family Law, Property & Probate and Legal Practice Technology. Degrees from an ABA-approved school provide employers an assurance that the paralegal has received the necessary training to be a competent hire because they were trained under nationally established standards.

3. Career advantage In today’s economy, you need to look for every career advantage you can get. International Paralegal Management Association members have reported that they look more favorably upon job candidates that have graduated from ABA-approved paralegal schools. Some law firms, state Bar Associations and paralegal organizations support ABA-approved schools and feel that it’s a competitive advantage in the hiring process. They also agree that paralegals with degrees from ABA schools are more sought after.

4. Pre-law specialization ABA-approved paralegal schools can also help prepare students for law school if they wish to continue their education. Many of the classes students take during the first couple of years of law school are similar to the course of study at an ABA-approved paralegal institution.

5. Concentrated programs Depending on the type of institution, general paralegal courses take between two years for community and junior colleges, and four years at a University. The minimum course duration for an ABA-approved Paralegal institution is one to two academic years. Accelerated paralegal associate’s degrees, such as the program offered at Fremont College, are designed to ensure students finish quickly and can be completed in 15 months.

6. Standard of quality In California, only 28 paralegal schools have been approved by the ABA. These schools are held to strict standards and regularly reviewed by the Standing Committee on Paralegals. A list of ABA-approved paralegal schools can be found at the ABA Standing Committee on Paralegals’ Directory of Paralegal schools.

Did you know? Demand for paralegals will skyrocket 22% by 2016 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, much faster than the average for other occupations. And if you want to become a Paralegal fast you need to get your Paralegal degree from an accredited school.

Additional Paralegal Resources

Additional Paralegal Resources

About Fremont College

list of aba approved paralegal programs

Estimated Program Cost: $35,175

Students from anywhere may pursue an Associate of Science in Legal Studies from Louisiana-based Herzing University. Herzing’s ABA-approved legal studies programs are especially designed for those looking to become a paralegal, or those who wish to further their career in the field of law. All courses can be completed at your own pace and schedule, though most complete the 62-credit program in about 20 months. Classes include everything from legal writing and law office procedures, to ethics and civil litigation, among others.

South University
Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies

Estimated Program Cost: $33,313

South University offers an ABA-approved Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies. The 92-credit degree program covers a slew of necessary information, including:

  • torts and remedies
  • ethics
  • estate planning
  • civil litigation
  • legal research and writing
  • various types of law, among other things

Students will finish the degree with a capstone course during which they’ll work in a legal setting such as a law firm, bank, or real estate company. In some cases, students will be required to complete at least 16 quarter hours of credit in a traditional classroom setting.

Eastern Kentucky University
Paralegal Studies Associate Degree

Estimated Program Cost: $26,176

Students looking to obtain an associate’s degree quickly and cheaply would do well to consider Eastern Kentucky University. EKU offers an accelerated, 64-credit hour paralegal program which can be completed entirely online. It is ABA approved. The degree program blends academic and professional preparation through courses on:

  • family law
  • litigation
  • legal research and writing

criminal law, to name a few

  • As they complete their degrees, students have access to free online tutoring and job placement assistance, and 90% of EKU graduates are employed within six months of completing their degrees. 
What Can You Do With a Paralegal Degree? - MTI College
Loyola University Chicago

American National University
Associate of Science in Paralegal

Estimated Program Cost: $22,464

American National University (ANU) offers an ABA-approved online Associate of Science in Paralegal. This eight-month program provides students with a solid basic knowledge of legal terminology and procedural law, plus the skills to draft legal documents and research facts of a case. At the end of the program, students may take part in a 120-hour externship at a local business or organization. Furthermore, graduating from ANU’s paralegal studies program qualifies you to sit for the national paralegal certification examination. If you’ve already earned a bachelor’s degree in any subject, ANU also offers a paralegal certificate program.

Loyola University Chicago
Paralegal Studies Certificates

Estimated Program Cost: $15,730

Loyola University Chicago offers four different paralegal studies certificates:

  • litigation practice
  • corporate practice
  • litigation and corporate practice
  • a customizable option

A Bachelor of Arts in Paralegal Studies is also offered. Regardless of the path a student chooses, coursework includes:

  • classes on the paralegal profession
  • the legal process
  • the use of technology in the legal field
  • legal research and writing

Each certificate consists of 22 units, with the exception of the dual litigation and corporate practice certificate, which consists of 28 units. The entire paralegal studies certificate from Loyola University Chicago can be completed online. 

Hamline University
Paralegal Certificate 

Estimated Program Cost: $15,000

Minnesota-based Hamline University offers a paralegal certificate option for students who already have a bachelor’s degree in any subject. A bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies is also offered. In either case, students are prepared for a career as a paralegal by completing coursework in subjects such as:

  • corporate compliance
  • the court system
  • contracts administration

The certificate consists of 20 credits, and can be completed in as few as nine months. 

University of Alaska Fairbanks
Associate of Applied Science i Paralegal Studies

Estimted Program Cost: $13,380 (Alaska residents)

University of Alaska Fairbanks offers an Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies which can be completed mostly online, though some courses may need to be completed on campus. This ABA-approved degree program takes two years to complete. Courses begin in the fall, spring, or summer semesters. Coursework includes:

  • torts
  • family law
  • criminal law
  • legal research and writing
  • American government, to name  a few. 

John F. Kennedy University
Paralegal Certificate 

Estimated Program Cost: $11,700

John F. Kennedy University, based in Pleasant Hill, California, offers a paralegal certificate that can be mostly completed online. The 39-credit certificate is ABA-approved and takes approximately one year to complete. Required courses include:

  • Legal Ethics
  • Legal Research
  • Tort Law

Two specialty courses and a paralegal capstone are also required before graduation. 

Wilmington University
Post-Bachelor’s Paralegal Certificate 

Estimated Program Cost: $11,430

Wilmington University in New Castle, Delaware offers a paralegal certificate that is designed to prepare students to begin a career as a paralegal. The 30-unit program was put together by those working in the legal field,  so students can be assured they are completing the most relevant coursework. Required courses include:

  • Civil Procedure
  • Legal Ethics
  • Legal Research

Students may also choose two electives from a variety of choices. While the majority of the courses may be completed online, a minimum of nine credits must be completed in a traditional, face-to-face classroom, per the American Bar Association. 

San Francisco State University
Paralegal Studies Certificate

Estimated Program Cost: $8,990

San Francisco State University offers a Paralegal Studies Certificate through its College of Extended Learning. To complete the 30-unit program, students must complete six required courses including:

  • Communication Skills & Legal Ethics and Investigation
  • Discovery & Trial Preparation
  •  four electives of their choice

As with the majority of the programs on our list, the paralegal studies certificate at SF State is a hybrid program, with the majority of courses being available online. 

University of California Los Angeles Extension
Paralegal Studies Certificate

Estimated Program Cost: $7,995 (California residents)

UCLA Extension offers a 5-month or 11-month certificate in paralegal studies. The ABA-approved certificate program can be completed entirely online. This makes it an ideal choice for those unable to attend classes in Los Angeles. To earn the certificate, students must complete a total of 36 units worth of coursework, including the required Paralegal Training Program. An impressive consortium of attorneys, judges, and other legal professionals teach the courses.  

California State University East Bay
Certificate in Paralegal Studies

Estimated Program Cost: $6,910 (California residents)

California State University East Bay is home to one of California’s first certificates in paralegal studies to be approved by the American Bar Association. The personalized, flexible program consists of just 11 courses, including one elective and one internship. Required courses include:

  • Contract Law
  • Ethics and Professional Responsibility
  • introduction to Law, among others

Students can complete the certificate in as little as 12 months. 

Estimated Program Cost: $6,712 (Florida residents)

Florida State College at Jacksonville offers a hybrid A.S. in Paralegal Studies degree program that can be completed mostly online. This affordable legal assisting degree option exposes students to both practical skills (legal research, preparing documents, etc.) and law studies (family law, criminal law, etc.). This includes a “Simulated Law Office Experience” capstone course. Totaling 64 units, the associate’s degree takes a little over 1.5 years to complete, if tackled full time. 

Clayton State University
Paralegal Certificate 

Estimated Program Cost: $6,312

Georgia-based Clayton State University offers a paralegal certificate which can be completed on campus in the evenings, or online at any time. Made up of classes taught by actual working attorneys, Clayton State’s paralegal certificate program focuses on legal terminology and the practical skills one will need to find success in a paralegal career. The 18-hour program includes courses on:

Paralegal Studies Certificate | LSU Online
  • Civil Litigation
  • Law and Ethics
  • Legal Research and Writing
  • a capstone and a social sciences internship

A Bachelor of Science and an Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies are also offered.

College of the Canyons
Paralegal Studies Associate in Arts 

Estimated Program Cost: $3,474 (California residents)

The Paralegal Studies Associate in Arts degree at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, California is especially designed for busy students. The majority of the A.A. degree program can be completed online. Courses that may need to be completed on campus can be done so during evening hours. The 31-unit paralegal degree program trains students in areas of procedural law by requiring coursework in:

  • legal research
  • written and oral communication
  • civil litigation, among others. 
6 Advantages of an ABA-Approved Paralegal Program | Fremont University

We are excited to share with you that Aba has approved the application of Paralegal Programs to become a certified Aba Approved Paralegal Program.

This is a very exciting development, and one that will help the industry at large. We feel that this is a step in the right direction for all paralegals and legal professionals, as well as the companies who hire them.

The companies who have been approved by Aba to offer Aba Approved Paralegal Programs include:

-Accredited Paralegal Association (APA)

-American Society for Legal Advocacy (ASLA)

-International Academy of Trial Lawyers (IATL)

-International Association of Paralegals and Legal Assistants (IAPLA)

To be certified by Aba, a program must pass the following criteria:

1 The program must have taken place inside the jurisdiction of the American Bar Association (ABA). This means that if you wish to be approved, you must be located in an ABA member state. If you live outside of the US, you may still apply if your program is accredited by an ABA accredited accreditation body.
2 The program’s curriculum must be entirely based on topics recognized as part

aba approved paralegal programs in los angeles


John F Kennedy University offers two of the top paralegal programs in California. The school’s Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Legal Studies which requires 180 credit units to graduate. It is offered as an on-campus or hybrid delivery format. Additionally, John F Kennedy University offers a paralegal certificate in California program. The paralegal certificate program requires the completion of 39 credit units to graduate. The certificate program can be taken as a hybrid course or on-campus.

John F Kennedy University was established in 1964. The school operates with two campuses — the main campus in Pleasantville and another in San Jose. The school’s urban campus is home to more than 1,300 students from the school’s colleges of business, psychology/holistic studies, and the law. John F Kennedy University is a nonprofit university that has become an affiliate school of the National University System, yet remains an independent institution of higher education.

Program: BA in Paralegal Studies, certificate
Format: Campus or Hybrid


The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) through their extension program offers one of the best paralegal programs in California. UCLA’s Certificate in Paralegal Studies has been approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) for the last four decades. Coursework covers the many phases of civil processes including the concepts of discovery and pleadings, among others. Degree candidates must complete 36 credit units to graduate. Students are taught by lawyers, judges, and other legal professionals.

The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) was established in 1919 and holds the distinction of being a land grant public institution of higher learning. The school’s 400+-acre urban campus is home to more than 45,000 students studying from the schools thirteen colleges/professionals schools. In 2016, the University of California at Los Angeles received more than 118,000 applications, for which UCLA now is the record holder.

Program: Paralegal Studies Certificate
Format: Campus


The University of California, San Diego’s extension education division offers an American Bar Association (ABA) approved paralegal certificate in California program. Students in UC San Diego’s Paralegal Studies Certificate are prepared with extensive legal theories, with opportunities to apply this knowledge pragmatically. Coursework includes Legal Writing & Research, Procedural Law, Intellectual Property Law, Legal Communications, Dispute Resolution, and Civil Litigation, to name a few. UC San Diego offers ABA-approved paralegal certificates for part-time students or in an accelerated format, on-campus.

The University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego) was established in 1960. The school holds the distinction of being a sea-grant, space-grant and research institution of higher learning. UC San Diego’s 2,000+-acre urban campus is home to nearly 39,000 students. The University of California at San Diego is the seventh oldest member school in the University of California system.

Program: Paralegal Studies Certificate
Format: Campus


The University of California at Santa Barbara Professional and Continuing Education Extension offers a paralegal certificate in California program that is available on-campus only. Degree candidates must complete 36 credit hours to graduate; this includes a capstone project related to the paralegal field. UC Santa Barbara’s Paralegal Studies Certificate holds the distinction of being the only American Bar Association-approved program in California located along the state’s central coast. Coursework includes case planning interviewing skills and drafting legal documents, among many others.

The University of California at Santa Barbara (UC Santa Barbara) was established in 1891 and is one of the ten-member schools in the University of California system. The school’s suburban campus covers more than 1,000 acres and is home to nearly 26,000 students studying from five schools/colleges. The University of California at Santa Barbara is recognized among the few Public Ivy League schools in the country.

Program: Paralegal Studies Certificate
Format: Campus


The University of California at Irvine’s Continuing Education division offers one of the best paralegal programs in California. This American Bar Association (ABA) approved paralegal certificate in California program for forty years and is available on-campus or through a distance learning platform. UC Irvine’s certificate in paralegal program provides the knowledge and practical application of that knowledge to real-world casework. Degree candidates studying for the University of California at Irvine’s paralegal certificate program must complete 30 credit hours within five years of enrolling for the program. Coursework includes Legal Research, Civil Litigation, Contracts, and Legal Writing, among others.

The University of California at Irvine (UC Irvine) was established in 1965 and is a member school of the University of California system. UC Irvine’s campus is home to more than 35,000 students studying from more than 200 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. President Johnson dedicated the school in 1965; President Obama commemorated the event in 2015 — exactly 50 years later.

Program: Paralegal Certificate
Format: Campus or Online


The University of California at Riverside Professional Studies Extension offers a Paralegal Studies Certificate that is available on-campus only. UC Riverside offers one of the top paralegal programs in California that has received approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). Degree graduates can complete the paralegal certificate program in less than 1.5 years by completing 31 credit units of coursework. Students must complete a paralegal practicum in a public agency, a law firm, and the general counsel of a corporation, among others.

The University of California at Riverside (UC Riverside) was established in 1954. UC Riverside is a member school of the University of California system. The school operates with two campuses; the main campus is in Riverside, CA, with a branch facility in Palm Desert. UC Riverside is regularly recognized among the top ethnically diverse institutions of higher education.

Program: Paralegal Studies Certificate
Format: Campus


National University offers a BS in Paralegal Studies and a Certificate of Paralegal Studies that are available as an on-campus program only. National University, a veteran established school, offers a course format that includes 4-week classes — that allows degree candidates to complete the program at a faster pace. National University’s paralegal studies offer sub-specialties that include a Specialist Certificate in Litigation, Corporations, and Criminal Law.

National University was founded in 1971 and was created to provide college-level degree programs across California, Nevada, and as distance-learning learning classes. National University is organized into six colleges/schools in Education, Professional Studies, Letters & Sciences, Business, Engineering and Health Services. National University is a nontraditional institution of higher learning that caters to the needs of working learners.

Program: BS or Certificate in Paralegal Studies
Format: Campus


The University of San Diego’s Professional and Continuing Education division offers a Paralegal Certificate program that is available on the beautiful USD campus only. USD’s paralegal certificate program was the first program of its kind in San Diego to receive an American Bar Association approval. Degree candidates must complete 24 credit units to graduate. Coursework includes legal concepts, the elements of the court’s structure and ethical dilemmas in the legal profession.

The University of San Diego was established in 1949 as a private women’s institution of higher learning. The University of San Diego is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. The school’s urban campus is home to more than 9,000 students studying from more than 75 graduate and undergraduate degree programs. The University of San Diego is situated on top of a hill (i.e. mesa) with beautiful views of SeaWorld and Mission Bay.

Program: Paralegal Certificate
Format: Campus


California State University, East Bay offers a Paralegal Certificate in California that has been approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) since the early 1980s. This on-campus course prepares graduates to prepare cases with attorneys and to research legal matters relevant to the work at hand. Students have the option to choose class times and locations to increase the needed flexibility of working learners. Coursework includes ten classes and one internship prior to graduation.

California State University, East Bay was founded in 1957. CSU East Bay is a member school of the California State University system. The school’s 200-acre suburban campus is home to nearly 16,000 students from more than 90 different degree programs offered by one of the four schools/colleges. When CSU East Bay first opened, classes, were held in a nearby grade school and then the local high school.

Program: Paralegal Studies Certificate
Format: Campus


De Anza College offers two of the top paralegal programs in California. De Anza College’s programs include an Associates of Arts (AA) degree in Paralegal Studies and the Certificate in Paralegal Studies of Advanced Achievement programs. Coursework for the AA paralegal degree program includes Trial Preparation, Family Law, Last Wills & Testaments, Criminal Law, and a required paralegal internship. The AA degree requires the completion of 90 credits. De Anza College’s certificate program is open to those who already hold an associates degree.

De Anza College was established in 1967. De Anza College is a community college that is affiliated with Foothill College. The school’s 100+-acre campus is home to more than 21,000 students and nearly 1,000 academic staff. The school’s unusual name is in honor of the Spanish Explorer Juan Bautista de Anza. De Anza College sponsors a Puente Project, a bridge-like project that facilitates the transfer of underserved students to 4-year institutions of higher education.

Program: AA or Certificate in Paralegal Studies
Format: Campus

paralegal certificate

Types of Paralegal Certificate Programs

Most paralegal certificates are post-baccalaureate programs. In other words, they’re for students who already have a bachelor’s degree or, at the very least, an associate degree. This degree doesn’t necessarily have to be in paralegal studies: you can have a bachelor’s degree in business, fine arts, political science or pretty much anything. The main thing is that you have a higher education foundation that includes humanities, math, English and social sciences, and have developed reading, writing and communication skills that you can draw upon in your professional life. A post-baccalaureate certificate program can help you reach the next level of professionalism as it often lends itself to specialization in a specific area–in this case paralegal studies.

A few paralegal certificate programs can be completed right after high school. It is very important to distinguish between the two types of programs: post-baccalaureate programs are more like graduate programs, whereas programs that can be completed right after high school provide more of a technical continuing education with little or no general education to round out the course of study.

There is a definite advantage to entering the workplace with a general education under your belt in addition to legal classes, and many employers specifically require an associate or bachelor’s degree as a prerequisite for employment. However, if you need to enter the workforce right away, are already working straight out of high school and want to add paralegal skills to your resume for potential advancement or simply do not have the funds for a degree, then a certificate program that does not require a bachelor’s or associate degree as a prerequisite may be for you.

What’s Required

Certificate programs generally require anywhere from 18 to 45 credit hours. Since many, or even most students are already working, these programs are frequently set up so that they can be completed through night or weekend classes and/or on a part-time basis. Many certificate program can be completed within a year, even on a part-time basis, although most schools accommodate students by allowing them to take longer to complete a program.

Post-baccalaureate programs vary in what areas of the law they cover, but most include legal research, legal writing, an introductory course in paralegalism, substantive law and a choice of courses in specialty areas of the law. Some schools offer multiple paralegal certificate options. For instance, some post-baccalaureate certificate programs offer emphases in areas like nursing paralegal, criminal law paralegal, business paralegal or educational paralegal. Within each of these programs are a few courses that focus on the law as it applies to that specialty.

One great thing about these post-baccalaureate programs is that the students who apply to and complete these programs are generally older, more mature, have some work experience and are extremely motivated to excel in their chosen profession. These programs are definitely on a higher rung on the educational ladder than technical certificate programs, and as such are seen by potential employers as recognizable and valued achievements.

The Role of a Certificate in Certification

The National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), one of the two main nationwide paralegal associations, requires that those who take the Certified Paralegal examination to become a Certified Paralegal have a paralegal education. Specifically, they require:

  • Graduation from a paralegal program that is:
  • (a) Approved by the American Bar Association; or
  • (b) An associate degree program; or
  • (c) A post-baccalaureate certificate program in paralegal studies;
  • (d) A bachelor’s degree program in paralegal studies; or
  • (e) A paralegal program which consists of a minimum of 60 semester hours (900 clock hours or 90 quarter hours) of which at least 15 semester hours (225 hours or 22.5 quarter hours) are substantive legal courses
  • Alternative qualifications call for a bachelor’s degree in any field, plus a year of paralegal working experience or seven years of working experience as a paralegal.

Thus, if you already have an associate or bachelor’s degree and complete a post-baccalaureate certificate program you meet the educational requirements for taking the Certified Paralegal examination, and with a qualified score on that exam you gain the designation of Certified Paralegal or Certified Legal Assistant. Law Offices, corporations and other employers recognize this as a milestone of professional excellence and certification is frequently a preferred prerequisite for many paralegal positions. (NALA also offers an Advanced Paralegal Certification for those who already Certified Paralegals.)

Affordable ABA-Approved Paralegal Certificate Program | LSU Online

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