Where Can I Earn a Paralegal Studies Degree in Chicago, Illinois?

Learn about paralegal programs in Chicago, IL. Get information about degrees available and program requirements to make an informed decision about your education. Schools offering Paralegal degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Should Know

Paralegal studies programs in and around Chicago are offered through both 2-year colleges and 4-year universities. You might pursue a 2-year associate's degree or a 3-semester certificate in paralegal programs approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). You could also choose from 4-year bachelor's degree programs, also approved by the ABA, that include paralegal certificates, or a 24-credit stand-alone certificate for students who already hold a bachelor's degree. Select programs are also available evenings and online. Keep reading to choose a program that suits your needs.

Paralegal Associate's Degree Programs in Chicago, Illinois

City Colleges of Chicago - Wilbur Wright College

  • Program: Associate in Applied Science for Paralegals
  • Program Length: 2 years (full-time)
  • Tuition: $3,070 per year for in-district students; $5,607 for in-state students; $7,311 for out-of-state students (2011-12, tuition and fees)
  • School Type: 2-year, public; 13,000 students (all undergraduates)
  • Address: 4300 N. Narragansett, Chicago, IL 60634
  • Phone: 773-481-8338

In this American Bar Association (ABA)-approved program, you'll learn to use current technology for writing, research and communication. Courses examine civil litigation, criminal law and tort law. An internship in your last semester is optional. After graduation, you'll be prepared to research legal issues, interview clients and witnesses, prepare legal forms and work on probate matters. Course topics include legal research, business law, legal ethics and real estate law.

Harper College

  • Program: Associate in Applied Science in Paralegal Studies
  • Program Length: 2 years (full-time)
  • Tuition: $2,910 per year for in-district students; $9,078 for in-state students; $10,890 for out-of-state students
  • School Type: 2-year, public; 16,000 students (all undergraduates)
  • Address: 1200 W. Algonquin Rd., Palatine, IL 60067
  • Phone: 847-925-6407

At Harper, you'll explore the fundamentals of legal research and study various types of law, including corporate and securities, property, family and contract. Business software and computer-assisted legal research are part of the 63-credit-hour program, along with an internship during your last semester. After graduating from this ABA-approved program, you might find employment as a legal assistant, paralegal, law office manager or administrative assistant. This program is also available as a 3-semester certificate program.

Paralegal Bachelor's Degree Programs in Chicago, Illinois

Loyola University - Chicago

  • Program: Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Management with a Certificate in Paralegal Studies
  • Specialization Areas: Civil litigation, corporate/commercial transactions or corporate/real estate
  • Program Length: 4 years (full-time)
  • Tuition: $615 per credit hour (2012-13)
  • Prerequisites: Paralegal courses may be taken after you're within 44 hours of degree completion
  • Requirements: Minimum GPA of 2.5 and minimum of 12 Loyola hours completed; interview with the director of the Institute for Paralegal Studies
  • School Type: 4-year, private non-profit; 16,000 students (10,000 undergraduates)
  • Address: 820 N. Michigan Ave., Lewis Towers 401, Chicago, IL 60611
  • Phone: 312-915-6820

Loyola's Institute for Paralegal Studies offers a bachelor's degree program with a paralegal certificate option. After you've completed your required undergraduate classes, you'll begin taking your paralegal studies courses. An internship is optional and would be completed during one of your last two semesters. This ABA-accredited program examines concepts in accounting, marketing, management, legal research, legal ethics and computer applications. A stand-alone 24-credit post-baccalaureate certificate program is also available.

Roosevelt University

  • Programs: Bachelor of Arts in Paralegal Studies, Bachelor of Professional Studies (BPS) in Paralegal Studies or Bachelor of Arts/Paralegal Credential Option
  • Program Length: 4 years (full-time) depending on program
  • Tuition: $25,000 per year (2011-12, tuition and fees)
  • Prerequisites: BPS programs - complete all non-paralegal courses before enrolling in Paralegal Studies Program
  • Requirements: All programs require the successful completion of at least 30 semester hours at Roosevelt (residency requirement)
  • School Type: 4-year, private not-for-profit; 7,000 students (4,000 undergraduates)
  • Address: 430 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60605
  • Phone: 312-281-3300

The Evelyn T. Stone College of Professional Studies offers a variety of ABA-approved paralegal programs. The Bachelor of Arts in Paralegal Studies program combines a general, liberal arts background with law-related courses. In the Bachelor of Arts/Paralegal Credential Option program, you can start your paralegal education in legal terminology and legal practice after completing 96 credit hours of general education, major and minor coursework. The BPS program is offered as a degree completion and fast-track option. BPS programs may be completed at the downtown campus, the Schaumburg campus or through a combination of online classes and on-campus courses at Schaumburg. You also have the option of completing a full-time day, part-time evening or a partially online certificate program.

Career Information for Paralegals in Chicago, IL

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that there are several pathways to becoming a paralegal. While a formal education may not be required, most paralegals have an associate's or bachelor's degree. Additionally, if you have a bachelor's degree in another field, you can complete a post-bachelor's paralegal certificate program.

Though most employers do not require it, you may also earn voluntary certifications through organizations like the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), NALS - The Association for Legal Professionals and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA). Certification options include Certified Legal Assistant, Certified Paralegal, Registered Paralegal or Professional Paralegal. You might also want to earn an Advanced Paralegal Certification. Certification requirements vary, but most are based on education and experience.

Salary and Job Outlook for Paralegals

In the Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL, area, there were 8,290 paralegals and legal assistants who earned an average salary of about $55,000 as of May 2011. Nationwide, the employment of paralegals is predicted to grow by 18% in the decade spanning 2010-2020 based on BLS estimates. That growth is about as fast as the average for all occupations and is due to employers reducing costs by hiring fewer lawyers and more paralegals who perform a wide variety of tasks, including duties once fulfilled by lawyers.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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