There are a variety of paralegal schools from private to public educational institutions and the costs range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Costs for these schools depend on several factors including geographic region, program offerings, and accreditation. When considering the costs of attending paralegal school it is not only important to take into consideration the course fees, but also the cost of the textbooks. Due to the variety of programs, credentials, and tuition rate increases across the U.S. it is difficult to determine standard costs. The best way to assess program costs is to contact the institution(s) of interest to obtain accurate program costs. Since there are numerous educational institutions throughout the U.S. it is important to understand these nuances when determining what program and where to attend paralegal school. An understanding of American Bar Association approved programs and the additional costs that may be tacked on to program fees when a school obtains this level of approval is also important.
Following are the average costs of a paralegal program at a community college, university, and private educational institution in the states with the highest level of paralegal employment determined by the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics:
|Community College||Public University||Private Institution|
These costs will also range depending on whether a certificate, associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or master’s degree program is enrolled in.
Costs for ABA Approved Paralegal Programs
The costs to attend an ABA approved paralegal program tend to be higher than the costs for Non-ABA approved paralegal programs, and some schools that meet the requirements of the ABA will forego going through the process and obtaining the approval in order to avoid the costs associated with ABA approval that will ultimately be passed on to students. Out of the more than 1,000 paralegal programs across the U.S. only about 25% are approved by the ABA. Due to the prestige and program legitimacy that ABA approval adds to a paralegal program the fact that the price tag of these programs is typically more than those that are not ABA approved is not surprising. ABA approval is an accredidation that is bestowed upon paralegal programs that meet the ABA’s stringent requirements and pay the applicable fees. ABA approved paralegal programs provide a level of confidence that the program meets certain requirements that have been reviewed by the ABA Standing Committee on Paralegals Approval Committee. The ABA Standing Committee on Paralegals Approval Committee makes an on-site evaluation and review of paralegal programs to ensure that they meet the educational requirements that will lead to a high quality educational experience for paralegal students.
Tuition and fees are not the only costs that should be considered when calculating the costs of a paralegal education, but should also take into consideration the cost of textbooks. Textbooks are a necessary component of a paralegal program and costs for textbooks can add substantial costs to a paralegal education program. Costs for textbooks throughout the duration of the program can easily add an additional $1,000 or more to the costs associated with obtaining a paralegal education.
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College Board, Trend in Higher Education
United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics