The 14 Cheapest ABA Approved Online Paralegal Programs

If you’ve been thinking about beginning a career as a paralegal, then it’s a good time to start looking at affordable ABA-approved online paralegal programs! Working as a paralegal can be very exciting. Not only do paralegals draft documents and maintain files to support lawyers, they also gather facts of a case, assist lawyers during trial, and communicate with clients and witnesses. Best of all, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment of paralegals is expected to grow 4% between now and 2032. That’s why Online Paralegal Degree went on the search for the 14 cheapest ABA-approved online paralegal programs available to future paralegals. 

Please note, the American Bar Association requires that a minimum of program credits be completed on campus in a traditional classroom format. Therefore, by necessity, we have included programs which cannot be completed entirely online. 

Featured Schools


To come up with our list, we compiled a checklist of nearly 30 online paralegal programs. From there, we narrowed down the programs to only those which are approved by the American Bar Association (ABA), and which are appropriately accredited as degree granting. We then used College Navigator and each program’s website to estimate the entire cost of the program. The 14 cheapest ABA-approved online paralegal programs are listed below, in descending order.

#14. Herzing University
herzing-universityAssociate of Science in Legal Studies 

Estimated Program Cost: $28,768

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.

#13. South University
south universityAssociate of Science in Paralegal Studies

Estimated Program Cost: $43,516

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

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.

#12. Eastern Kentucky University
eastern-kentucky-universityParalegal Studies Associate Degree

Estimated Program Cost: $27,776

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

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. 

American National University

#11. American National University

Associate of Science in Paralegal

Estimated Program Cost: $27,968

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

#10. Loyola University Chicago

Paralegal Studies Certificates

Estimated Program Cost: $17,380

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. 

#9. Hamline University

Paralegal Certificate

Estimated Program Cost: $16,720

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. 

#8. University of Alaska Fairbanks
Alaska FairbanksAssociate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies

Estimated Program Cost: $14,040 (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 

#7. Wilmington University
Wilmington University DelawarePost-Bachelor’s Paralegal Certificate 

Estimated Program Cost: $9,816

Wilmington University in New Castle, Delaware offers a paralegal certificate that is designed to prepare students to begin a career as a paralegal. The 24-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. 

#6. San Francisco State University
San Francisco State UniversityParalegal 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. 

#5. University of California Los Angeles Extension
UCLA 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.  

#4. California State University East Bay
CSU East BayCertificate in Paralegal Studies

Estimated Program Cost: $7,810 (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. 

#3. Florida State College at Jacksonville
Florida State College at JacksonvilleAssociate in Science in Paralegal Studies (Legal Assisting)

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. 

#2. Clayton State University
Clayton State UniversityParalegal Certificate

Estimated Program Cost: $3,047

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. Students who apply to this program must already have completed a bachelor’s or associate’s degree with at least 60 semester hours of college-level work from a regionally accredited college or university.

The 18-hour program includes courses on:

  • 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.

#1. College of the Canyons
College of the CanyonsParalegal Studies Associate in Arts 

Estimated Program Cost: $1,164 (registration fees, California students)

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

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of paralegal is most in demand?

The demand for paralegals specializing in areas like corporate law, healthcare law, and intellectual property is rising due to their specialized knowledge and skills. Corporate paralegals, who assist with business transactions and contracts, are particularly sought after in industries experiencing growth. Paralegals with expertise in healthcare law and intellectual property support legal matters in these complex and evolving fields.

How many paralegal programs in the United States currently have American Bar Association approval?

Currently, around 260 paralegal programs in the United States have approval from the American Bar Association. This ensures they meet rigorous standards for quality education and training. The accreditation signifies these programs provide students with comprehensive and reputable instruction in the field of paralegal studies.

How much does a paralegal make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average paralegal makes $59,200 per year. The highest earners are in finance and insurance and make $73,050.

What education do you need to be a paralegal in USA?

To become a paralegal in the USA, you typically need at least an associate degree or a certificate in paralegal studies. Some employers may prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree in a related field or completion of a paralegal program approved by the American Bar Association.

Additional Resources:

This concludes our rankings of cheapest ABA online paralegal programs.