Paralegal Programs in Pennsylvania

There are no licensure or education requirements in Pennsylvania needed to become a paralegal. The Keystone Alliance of Paralegal Associations has launched a voluntary certification called the Pennsylvania Certified Paralegal credential program (Pa.C.P). The Keystone Alliance has some specific educational requirements that need to be met in order to apply for the credential. The credential is not a requirement to work as a paralegal in Pennsylvania, however it does demonstrate one's commitment to the paralegal profession and career development. The education requirements for the Pa.C.P should be considered when choosing a paralegal program as well as the fact that paralegals with formal education are projected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to have the greatest career and earning opportunities.

There are fourteen American Bar Association (ABA) approved paralegal programs, fifteen AAfPE member schools and a number of schools that have been institutionally accredited by accrediting agencies recognized by the United States Department of Education. Below are schools that fall into one, two or all of these categories.

Choosing Paralegal Program

As mentioned above, the Keystone Alliance of Paralegal Associations has developed education requirements for becoming a Pa.C.P. and can be found on their website: www.keystoneparalegals.org/certification.html. The criteria they have developed are based on recommendations from association members. These criteria represent the current and projected minimum qualifications they feel are needed to successfully perform the duties of a paralegal in Pennsylvania. Choosing an associate's paralegal program or a bachelor's paralegal/legal studies program that has been approved by the ABA, offered at an AAfPE member school or offered at a school that has been accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the US Department of Education may offer the greatest potential for employment as well as future certification.

There are fourteen ABA approved paralegal programs in Pennsylvania with many locations convenient to attend. However this is not always an option based on geographical and financial limitations. An AAfPE member school or a school that has been accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the US Department of Education that offers paralegal programs can be more cost effective and offer a nearly equivalent standard of education. Learn more about ABA versus non-ABA approved paralegal programs. Online paralegal programs have become very popular. Online program flexibility allows for better work, school and life balance. These programs also offer access to instruction on the various legal research tools needed for your education as well as your future paralegal career. Below are some online paralegal programs along with their accreditation information. If an online program doesn't fit your needs or goals, you can also find a comprehensive list of campus based programs including their accreditation or approval information.

Consider contacting potential employers to learn more about the qualifications they prefer when hiring a paralegal, with regards to education and experience. This can give you a better perspective as to what may make you most competitive in your local marketplace. Don't be scared off if these employers mention work experience. Often students can gain valuable work experience while in school by interning at local law firms or other entities in the legal field. As was mentioned earlier, a bachelor's degree has become a favorable level of education for paralegals to possess in Pennsylvania. A bachelor's degree can take anywhere from three to five years to complete, so interning during this period can help establish yourself with an employer with the potential to be hired on after graduation. Ask the schools you contact about their required internships and if they don't have one, ask them if they help students find internships.

Below are schools offering paralegal programs offered in Pennsylvania. Contact them to learn more about their programs and receive application information.

Pennsylvania Criminal Justice Schools

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Campuses: Pittsburgh

Degrees Offered:

  • Associate's - Paralegal

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Campuses: Erie

Degrees Offered:

  • Associate's in Paralegal

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Campuses: Wyomissing

Degrees Offered:

  • Associate in Specialized Business - Paralegal

Campuses: Pottsville, Dickson City

Degrees Offered:

  • Associate in Specialized Business - Paralegal

Campuses: Phoenixville, Warminster, North Wales

Degrees Offered:

  • Associate's in Paralegal

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Campuses: Summerdale

Degrees Offered:

  • Associate in Paralegal (Hybrid)

Online Criminal Justice Schools

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Campuses: Online

Degrees Offered:

  • Paralegal - Associate of Applied Science (Online)

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Program outcomes vary according to each institution's specific curriculum and employment opportunities are not guaranteed.
Earning a degree may not qualify you for specialized careers that require more education or experience in the field.