Paralegal Programs in Mesa, AZ
In legal departments around the country, the position of a paralegal – sometimes known as a legal assistant – is becoming increasingly vital. Paralegals can be found on legal teams at high-powered white shoe corporate law firms, small independent law firms, government at all levels, nonprofits and charities, and even prosecution and defense teams at the state and federal level.
In Arizona, there are numerous, intriguing, and well-paying possibilities for qualified paralegals.
Entry-Level Paralegal Programs in Mesa, AZ
While a paralegal does not need to complete the same seven years (or more) of formal college education as a lawyer, they still need to complete some post secondary study to meet the majority of employers’ criteria.
In Arizona, paralegal schools offer three fundamental educational tracks for aspiring paralegals, which are as follows:
Paralegal Certificate Programs
A degree-granting paralegal certificate program is designed for students who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field but want to change careers. They can complete an A.S. or B.S. degree in paralegal studies faster and graduate earlier than non-degreed students because they already meet degree-specific general education requirements.
There are also (confusingly) paralegal certificate programs that do not lead to a degree but are regarded a career certification rather than a degree. While these programs do not provide enough specialized paralegal education to satisfy some organizations, they are ideal for those who want to get into the field fast and are willing to work for small private law offices and non-profits.
Paralegal Associate Degree Programs
Most private employers set a two-year Associates’ Degree in Paralegal Studies (or something equivalent) as the minimum educational requirement for paralegals. These programs often include a wide overview of the skills required to work as a paralegal or legal assistant, as well as the general education courses required to earn any A.S degree.
Bachelor Degree Programs
A four-year bachelor’s degree program provides aspiring paralegals with a more thorough legal education, and it is frequently the minimum educational requirement set by government agencies and major corporate law firms.
These programs frequently include an internship as a graduation requirement, which can lead to immediate employment in some situations. Students must satisfy general education requirements as part of their total study, just as they must for any four-year degree.
Paralegal Programs in Mesa, AZ
To get started or to advance your paralegal career, check out our accredited program listings sections below:
Rio Salado College
2323 W 14th St,
Tempe, AZ 85281
Rio Salado College is a member of the Maricopa County Community College system that focuses on providing inexpensive education to local residents.
Those interested in becoming a paralegal can choose from two different educational pathways on campus. Their two-year Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Paralegal curriculum provides students with a solid educational foundation in most areas of general law, as well as legal research and legal ethics. Some students may also choose to do an internship but it is not mandatory. This is a 62-64 credit curriculum that takes about two years to finish.
The paralegal certificate program on offer is for individuals with an Associate’s Degree in another discipline or who can satisfy the school’s academic criteria. While not as extensive – or as long – as the A.S. program, it nonetheless provides a solid foundation for working as a paralegal and may be finished in about a year. The 30 credits obtained may be applied to the A.S. program at a later time.
Meeting national and state residency criteria, minimal educational qualifications (including possessing a high school diploma or GED), and passing an admissions interview are all prerequisites for either program. The cost per credit is calculated on a sliding scale, with the lowest prices available to permanent Maricopa County residents. Financial aid, as well as a limited number of state-based employment grants, are available to individuals who qualify.
National Paralegal College
717 E Maryland Ave, Phoenix AZ 85014-1561
This school specializes in paralegal education and offers all of the educational pathways a student can take to become a paralegal under one roof, including certificate, associate’s degree, and bachelor’s degree programs. All of these are available online, with some students having the opportunity to perform in-person internships if they so desire.
While all three programs focus primarily on the skills and information required to practice as a paralegal, both degree programs include a general education requirement in order to achieve degree-granting standards. While it is not required that students have a degree to finish the Certificate Program, many employers prefer to recruit degreed staff.
The AS and BS programs take around two and four years to complete, respectively, while the Certificate program takes about twelve months. Because of the nature of online courses, some students may work at a faster speed than others, these timelines may vary slightly.
The criteria for admission vary by course, however all of them require a high school diploma as a minimum. The rates charged are also different.
Those who qualify for traditional financial aid will have their costs levied at the highest ‘over time’ rate.
640 N. 1st Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85003
Phoenix College, which is part of the Maricopa County Community College system, provides local students more inexpensive degree and certificate opportunities than many private schools.
Their two-year Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Paralegal course gives students a solid grounding in basic law, as well as legal research and ethics. Internships are also available to some students. This is a 62-64 credit program that takes two years to complete.
Those who have an Associate’s Degree in another discipline or who meet the school’s academic requirements are eligible for the paralegal certificate program. While not as comprehensive – or as long – as the A.S. program, it does give a sound basis for working as a paralegal and can be completed in as little as a year. The 30 credits earned can be added to the A.S. program at any time in the future.
For each program, you must meet national and state residency requirements, have a minimum educational level (such as a high school diploma or GED), and pass an admissions interview.
Costs are set on a sliding scale, with Maricopa County residents receiving the lowest prices. Individuals who qualify can apply for financial aid as well as a limited number of state-based job awards.
350 West Washington Street,
Tempe, AZ 85281
Bryan University is a private university in Tempe, Arizona that provides a variety of Associate and Bachelor’s degree programs. They offer an Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies and Litigation Technologies for those interested in becoming a paralegal. The program is designed to be completed in four semesters (two years) and awards a total of 62-64 credits that can be transferred to the school’s campus-based Bachelor’s Degree program at a later date. The A.S. program, on the other hand, can be completed entirely online.
The course provides a thorough overview of the work of a paralegal in both the law office and the courtroom. Special attention is paid to E-discovery and legal research, according to the school, as these are critical skills for any paralegal, but especially for those working in corporate law.
Admission is dependent on prior academic performance, and a high school diploma or GED is required. The cost is decided by a student’s specific circumstances and residence, however the school offers a net price calculator assist you estimate yours. Those who qualify for financial aid can apply to make use of it to cover their costs.