2021 – Best Paralegal Schools in Minnesota
According to recent reports from BLS, there are more than 5,500 legal assistants and paralegals working in the state of Minnesota. With the world of law constantly expanding, this industry is set to grow for years to come. With the economy in such a dismal state, more than ever people are seeking new fields in which to earn a decent wage. In Minnesota, paralegals and legal assistants alike make on average $28 an hour. When paired with overtime or specialty legal fields, that income can jump as high as $80,000 a year.
What is a paralegal?
As a trained paralegal, you will be able to assist licensed attorneys to prepare for meetings, trials, and hearings while getting hands-on experience in the field. You are able to communicate with clients on their behalf and many other legal tasks that fall short of actually practicing law. As a paralegal, you will be able to work in private law firms, real estate agencies, and many other places legal assistance is required.
When you consider the great employment opportunities to be found in Minnesota, it makes sense to consider entering the legal field. According to recent polls, the economy in the state is among the top in the entire country. That being said, before you can start searching for a job; you will need to arm yourself with the right education and certifications to ensure your success. You have the option of taking the Certified Paralegal Exam after earning an undergraduate degree as a paralegal, or you can go on to complete an M.A. in legal studies. Both A.S and B.S. in legal studies are also available. Many schools offer online classes, in-person classes, or a combination of both.
Paralegal Programs in Minnesota
There are several paralegal programs to choose from in Minnesota. You can get a paralegal certificate or can go the formal route. Formal degrees available in Minnesota are A.S. in legal studies, B.S. in legal studies, and M.A. in legal studies. Each program has its own unique entrance requirements and can be used in varying levels of the paralegal field. Many schools also offer ABA-approved paralegal programs while others don’t, so make sure you check their accreditation prior to enrollment.
What to Look For in a Paralegal Program in Minnesota
When considering a paralegal program, it is important to ensure that the institution you attend is properly accredited. Universities and colleges that offer ABA-approved courses, paralegal certificates, and paralegal degrees are ideal. Some programs are not accredited but are excellent sources when it comes to certification exam preparation. An accredited institution will allow you to transfer credits to or from other institutions that also hole accreditation.
Types of Programs Available
Depending on your goals in the legal field you have in mind, there are different educational programs to help along your chosen path. A paralegal certificate shows that a person has successfully completed a paralegal educational program. You can also be a certified paralegal, which is different than holding a certificate. You can also obtain an associate’s degree or a bachelor's degree in the field of paralegal studies. These types of courses are more in-depth and also take longer to complete. For those looking to take their education in the legal field to the next level, you can complete your paralegal studies with a master's in the field.
An A.S in the paralegal field will take four semesters or two years to complete. A B.S. in the paralegal field will take eight semesters or four years to complete. A Master's in the paralegal field will take an additional four semesters or two years after the completion of a B.A. Certificate programs are much shorter, typically lasting from 8 months to a year depending on the course offerings of the university or college you choose to attend. Specialty certification program lengths vary.
In Minnesota, the graduation rates of those looking to complete a paralegal certificate or degree are just over 41%. The rates may increase or decrease depending on a student studying full-time, or part-time while working in the same field. The employment rate in the field is currently at an all-time high and set to increase until at least 2027. The starting salary for an entry-level paralegal is just over $50,000 in Minnesota.
Paralegal Program Admission Requirements in Minnesota
this is an entry-level course and can also be offered as a specialty course for students with existing degrees. The basic admission requirements are a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent from an accredited school. For specialized certificates, a minimum of an A.S or higher is required.
A.S. Degree Program Admissions
This degree program is ideal for those seeking to enter the legal field without starting out in law school. In order to qualify for admission, you will need a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Most universities also require a GPA of at least 2.8 and in some cases a referral from the current or previous educational body.
Bachelor Degree Admissions
Is reserved for those who are interested in making a full career as a paralegal. The full course takes four years and in order to enroll, you will need a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Those who already hold an A.S. from an accredited university may have the option of transferring credits towards their B.A.
Master’s Degree Admissions
In order to pursue an M.A. in paralegal studies, you will need to complete B.A. in the same or related field. Your degree must be from an accredited university in order to qualify for enrollment in a Master’s program.
Tuition and Costs of Paralegal Programs in Minnesota
There are a few basic paralegal programs in Minnesota. The average cost of tuition will range between $12,000 to $25,000 for tuition and $1,500 to $3,700 in additional fees. The tuition and cost will vary depending on the type of certificate or degree you choose and the total number of credits you need to graduate. For example, at Hamline University, an undergrad certificate in legal studies will last a year and cost around $21,200 for tuition and fees with around $1,800 in supplemental cost. International students will incur an additional fee of just under $400.
Paralegal Certification in Minnesota
Minnesota is a state that does not have any form of paralegal regulation that is mandatory. However, those interested in the paralegal field are able to obtain voluntary certification. Candidates that are qualified are able to become certified via the MnCP program. To qualify, a person must hold formal paralegal training from an accredited educational institution. Paralegals desiring certification must complete and record 10 CLE credits prior to the initial application and one credit each year following approval to maintain their certification.
Paralegal Programs in Minnesota
1536 Hewitt Avenue Saint Paul, MN 55104, Ph: 651-523-2857
Hamline University offers an excellent Paralegal Certificate that is ABA-approved for aspiring paralegals. The curriculum includes value-added courses in civil litigation surveys, legal writing and research, and much more. Students complete 20 credits to complete the program and are ideal an excellent option for students who have completed or are pursuing degrees in other specialties.
Minnesota State Community and Technical College
1414 College Way Fergus Falls, MN 56537 Ph: 877-450-3322
Minnesota State Community and Technical College offer a 60 credit AAS course for those considering becoming a paralegal. The course covers a range of topics such as civil and criminal law, legal research, and even legal writing. The teachers are very responsive and make sure students have a firm comprehension of both the technical and practical aspects of the law.
P.O. Box 5838, 175 West Mark Street, Winona, MN 55987, Ph: 507-457-5411
Winona State University is located in lovely Winona, Minnesota. With a long-standing track record of educating paralegal and future practitioners of law, their 4-year Legal Studies degree program that is ABA approved teaches students practical legal skills and gain real-world experience with an internship in several legal settings.
8301 93rd Avenue North Brooklyn Park, MN 55445, Ph: (888) 549-6755
Rasmussen University offers a Paralegal Certificate Degree and an online AAS Degree in the paralegal field. This university's programs provide critical knowledge and relevant skills to the paralegal field. A unique feature of the school is the Paralegal Capstone which helps to prepare students for a career in the legal field.
720 4th Avenue South St. Cloud, MN 56301-4498, Ph: (320) 308-0121
St. Cloud Technical and Community College offer a robust course for those seeking to expand their knowledge and become a paralegal. You are able to study for and become an Online Certified Paralegal in as little as a year. Tuition is affordable and most applicants are accepted.
2500 East 80th Street Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076, Ph: 651-450-3000
Inver Community College offers Associate in Science degrees and post-graduate paralegal certificates that are ABA-approved. The university has been offering high-quality paralegal programs since 1978. The school also offers an in-house internship for students enrolled in their paralegal courses. To enroll you must provide transcripts from your past educational institutions and pass an entrance exam.
7411 85th Avenue North, Brooklyn Park, MN 55445, Ph: 763-488-0391
North Hennepin Community Colleges offers students both an A.S. program and a certificate program for those interested in becoming a paralegal. In addition, there are also specialty courses for those looking to specialize in specific legal aspects. In order to apply for a paralegal certificate, students must first complete an A.S. in art or science.
Brooklyn Center, MN, Ph: 800-209-0182
National American University offers a range of ABA-approved paralegal degree programs. You can attend online and the credit hour cost is surprisingly affordable. You can study for either an A.S. or a B.A. in paralegal studies. For those who already hold a degree, you can also enroll in specialized courses that focus on specific areas of law.
435 Ford Rd, St Louis Park, MN 55426, Ph: 800-596-0724
Herzing University offers an A.S. degree program in paralegal studies. The on-campus programs are ABA-approved and perfect for people interested in getting into the field of law. Although the classes are online, the course remains extremely comprehensive. Herzing University also offers a B.A. program in legal studies and some credits can be transferred for those that are seeking to continue their studies in the same field.
1601 Jefferson Street, Alexandria, MN 56308, Ph: 320-762-0221
For those looking to get a head start in the field of law, the Paralegal AAS Degree from Alexandria Technical & Community College is a great way to go about it. The school offers scholarships in the field and the course covers a range of common topics that you will need as an entry-level paralegal.
700 Luther Drive Mankato, MN 56001, Ph: 507-344-7000
Bethany Lutheran College offers a fast-track course for those looking to jumpstart their paralegal careers. The paralegal certificate program is ideal for those seeking entry-level jobs in the sector but is not sure if they plan to continue further in the field. The program covers the basics of criminal and civil law, legal writing, and more.
2101 Trinity Road Duluth, MN 55811, Ph: 218-733-7600
If you are interested in studying for your A.S. in legal studies, Lake Superior College is a great place to do it. They offer both in-person and online classes for those who want to become a paralegal. In addition to an A.S. degree, they also offer a paralegal certificate program for those who are seeking to become a legal assistant.
1104 7th Avenue South Moorhead, MN 56563, Ph: 1-800- 593-7246
Minnesota State University offers an ABA-approved paralegal program for its students. Although they are not currently accepting students in the law program, they do offer a B.A. in paralegal studies and also a minor in pre-law for those who qualify. Courses are provided on-campus only.
Old Main 102 Belknap and Catlin Ave P.O. Box 2000 Superior, WI 54880 Ph: 715-394-8101
The University of Wisconsin has a comprehensive Paralegal Certificate Program the gives students the foundation they need to be an effective paralegal. The course can be completed with as little as 30 credits and a minimum GPA of 2.0 is required for completion.