ABA-Approved Online Paralegal Programs

ABA-Approved Online Paralegal Programs

If you are considering a career as a paralegal, and you don’t want to sacrifice quality of education or schedule flexibility, there is an option for you.

A handful of online paralegal studies programs are approved by the American Bar Association and meet their high standards for educational quality. Among these, some are recognized as the best online ABA-approved paralegal programs, setting a benchmark for excellence in legal education. The A.A. Paralegal Studies at Campus, formerly known as MTI College, is one of those programs.

Earning ABA approval means a paralegal program meets the prestigious standards set forth by the ABA for curriculum and educational quality. This distinction places such programs among the top-tier ABA-approved online paralegal programs, sought after by aspiring legal professionals.Very few online paralegal programs pass this approval process.

If you are seeking a career in the legal profession, the program at Campus will prepare you for success at your first paralegal job, no matter the sector of law in which you choose to work.

How Online Education Has Changed Paralegal Training

Many decades ago, some paralegals went to school, and others received on the job training.

Today, most law offices require paralegals to be able to hit the ground running on cases, so they usually prefer to hire candidates with certified or credentialed paralegal training. When evaluating candidates, the ABA-approval on paralegal studies training carries a lot of weight, because not every program meets this quality standard.

Today, many people are looking for online school options to earn a paralegal degree. The convenience and flexibility offered by ABA-approved online paralegal programs make them a popular choice for individuals balancing work and study. Are there ABA-approved online programs out there?

The American Bar Association is perhaps the most trusted organization in the paralegal space, and they set the standards for in-classroom and online paralegal education.

Their mission statement says they are committed to “developing and promoting policies relating to the education, employment, training and effective use of paralegals, and to serve as the body to set standards for paralegal education.”

Though ABA approval is a voluntary process that paralegal schools must apply to, having this distinction means a paralegal program has passed standards set forth by the ABA.

There are a number of ABA-approved online paralegal programs, including the one at Campus. These programs not only meet the ABA's rigorous standards but also rank among the best online ABA-approved paralegal programs available. Online programs that meet ABA approval must pass several stringent benchmarks in order to hold that distinction.

What are the Guidelines for ABA-Approved Online Paralegal Programs?

To receive ABA approval for online paralegal programs, schools must meet the following requirements:

  • Online students must spend the same amount of time in instruction as they would in an on-campus, in-classroom program.
  • Course materials must be provided to the ABA for each online course within a program so the ABA can review the quality.
  • Faculty members and instructors must respond to online students who have questions, as if they were in-person students, and the instructors must give feedback on assignments, quizzes, and tests.
  • Schools must be able to verify the identity of students taking an online test or submitting coursework to prevent someone else from doing the work for them.
  • There must be technical support for the learning management system or the school’s online technology in case there is an issue or technical problem.

The ABA is very careful about approving online paralegal studies programs to preserve the integrity of the approval process and prestige of the organization.

What Types of Programs are Eligible for ABA-Approval?

The ABA can approve paralegal programs at four-year colleges and universities, two-years colleges, and community colleges. This approval covers a range of educational institutions, ensuring that students have access to high-quality ABA-approved paralegal programs across various types of schools. These types of paralegal programs can be ABA-approved.

  • Post-associate’s and post-bachelor’s certificates.
  • Certificates offered as a minor, taken concurrently with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program.
  • Associate‘s degrees.
  • Bachelor’s degrees.
  • Graduate certificate programs for professional paralegals studying a specialty, who have already earned a degree.

You’ll notice that standalone certificate programs and entry-level programs are not in that list of ABA-approved programs.

There’s a reason for that. The American Bar Association believes that education in liberal arts and the humanities are an essential part of working successfully in a law office as a paralegal. As such, programs that earn the title of 'ABA-approved online paralegal programs' are designed to equip students with a comprehensive education that includes these critical areas. Because of this, they will only approve programs that include foundational liberal arts education, or programs that require students to have completed that education via a prior undergraduate or graduate degree.

ABA-approved paralegal programs must consist of at least 60 semester hours, with a minimum of 18 semester credits of general education and 18 semester credits of legal specialty courses.

This explains why most ABA-approved programs are degree programs, and the majority ABA-approved certificate programs are designed as either a post-degree program that build on an existing liberal arts education, or as minor certificates taken concurrently with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program.

There are a handful of certificate programs offered at universities that are designed for practicing paralegals who have already earned a degree, but want specialty education in the paralegal field.

Getting ABA Approval

Schools seeking ABA approval for a paralegal program must pass a series of evaluations to make sure they follow ABA guidelines. This thorough evaluation process ensures that only the best online ABA-approved paralegal programs earn the prestigious distinction. The program must be running for at least two years before the school can apply for ABA approval.

This is to make sure students graduate from the program and find meaningful employment as paralegals. Once they are approved, that program is approved for seven years, after which, they must re-apply.

Colleges and universities must provide the ABA Approval Committee a detailed list and description of the program curriculum, the coursework, and any specialized coursework for paralegal elective courses.

The ABA Committee also researches the faculty teaching curriculum and the advisory committee. Once these criteria are met, the ABA schedules an on-site inspection of the campus and the paralegal department, and the educational institution.

Benefits of an ABA-Approved Paralegal Training Program

There are several upsides to enrollment in an ABA-approved online paralegal training program.

  • ABA-approved paralegal degrees have a strong, well-rounded curriculum, ensuring you have a strong educational base in liberal arts. When you work in a busy law office, this will come in handy, giving you the skills and knowledge you’ll need to be successful as you start your paralegal career.
  • Paralegal training from an ABA-approved paralegal school looks very good to employers, and potentially can increase your chances of landing your first paralegal job.
  • Many ABA-approved programs can help with internships or job placement after graduation.
  • The curriculum in these paralegal programs is reviewed regularly by the ABA.
  • The faculty has been reviewed by the ABA, meaning you’ll be receiving training from seasoned professionals who can pass on their insights and knowledge.

It’s important to note that the ABA is still cautious about approving 100% online training programs, so many online programs are structured to either run concurrently with traditional in-classroom degree programs, or the students must complete in-classroom degree programs to be eligible for the online programs.

Online vs In-Classroom Learning

Every student performs best in different learning styles. This is why ABA-approved online paralegal programs are pivotal, offering flexible learning options to cater to diverse student needs and preferences. Some people thrive with in-person instruction, others prefer online classes, some people need hybrid classes to excel at learning.

For several decades, in-person classes were the only option for college students and paralegal training. Today, broadband internet and learning management systems allow students to take classes anywhere there is an internet connection.

Programs must still be reviewed and accredited by regional organizations, but the flexibility of online college helps many students save time and improve their education. Online classes are also valuable for students in remote rural areas, in the military, or for people with personal responsibilities that make it difficult to attend in-person college classes.

On the ABA website, you can look up ABA approved programs to find both in-classroom and online paralegal programs in your area.

Are Online ABA-Approved Paralegal Programs Available in California?

Yes, there are online ABA-approved paralegal programs from schools based in California. California hosts several top-tier online programs, highlighting the state's commitment to providing accessible, ABA-approved paralegal education. There are also hybrid programs that offer some in-classroom instruction with a substantial portion of the program offered online.

In fully online paralegal studies programs, students log into a learning management system and receive coursework, turn in assignments, take tests, and interact with instructors and classmates in a formal education setting. This allows them to complete assignments in a timely manner from home using a computer and broadband connection.

Enroll in an ABA-approved Online Paralegal Program

Eligible students can enroll in our Online Paralegal Studies program. This program helps students become a fully certified paralegal and earn your AA degree. By choosing an ABA-approved paralegal program, students ensure they are receiving education that adheres to the highest standards of legal training.

The Paralegal Studies program at Campus, formerly known as MTI College, are ABA-approved, meaning your training and curriculum will be top-notch. Campus is also accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC).

If you have any questions about our Paralegal Studies program, feel free to reach out our team via our Contact page or call (916) 339-1500.