Which Schools Offer Paralegal Degree Programs in Washington, DC?

Learn about paralegal studies degrees in Washington, DC. Get information about programs available and admission 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 Need to Know

You could earn an entry-level paralegal certificate in about four months, which covers topics in litigation and how a legal office works. Another path you could consider is earning an associate's degree in about two years. These programs combine general education requirements and paralegal courses.

Graduate paralegal certificates are also available. They take about a year and a half to complete, and you usually must have a bachelor's degree before enrolling.


Undergraduate Certificate Programs in Paralegal Studies in Washington, DC

Howard University School of Law

  • Program: Paralegal Certificate
  • Program Length: 272 hours; two evenings or one Saturday per week for four months
  • Tuition: $4,995 total cost of on-campus program; $6,995 total cost of online program (Fall 2012; does not include materials fees)
  • Admission Requirements: Health clearance forms
  • School Type: 4-year, private (not-for-profit); approximately 7,100 undergraduates and 3,400 graduate students
  • Address: 2900 Van Ness Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
  • Phone: 202-806-8000

Howard University is a private doctoral and research university with a 258-acre urban campus on the northwest side of Washington, DC, and a separate West Campus for the School of Law. The paralegal studies program simulates an actual law office experience and includes courses in the stages of litigation, forms of evidence, law office investigations and legal analysis. You also learn how to prepare a variety of legal documents, become familiar with Washington, DC court structures and procedures and conduct yourself in a law office. While instructors for the on-campus program includes judges and lawyers, as a student in the online program, you will be assigned your own facilitator and have the opportunity to work at your own pace.


Associate's Degree Programs in Paralegal Studies in Washington, DC

University of the District of Columbia Community College

  • Program: Associate of Applied Science in Legal Assistant
  • Program Length: 62-63 credit hours or two years of full-time study
  • Tuition: $100.00 per credit hour for DC residents; $168.00 per credit hour for metro-area residents; $283.00 per credit hour for non-residents (2012; excludes fees)
  • Admission Requirements: Computerized ACCUPLACER placement test; immunization records for students 26 and younger
  • School Type: 4-year, public; approximately 4,650 undergraduates and 260 graduate students; almost 2,330 community college students
  • Address: 801 N Capitol Street NE, Washington, DC 20002
  • Phone: 202-274-6110

As part of the only accredited public college in Washington, DC, the University of the District of Columbia Community College is a relatively new part of the institution and now administers the school's associate's, certificate and workforce development programs. Through the Associate of Applied Science curriculum, you can acquire a background in general and liberal studies while taking classes in legal research and writing, introductory paralegalism, investigative techniques and law office administration. In your third and fourth semesters, you also take electives in business, law and legal assistantship. This program can help you acquire the skills you need for an early job placement in the field.


Graduate Certificate Programs in Paralegal Studies in Washington, DC

Georgetown University

  • Program: Certificate in Paralegal Studies
  • Specialization Areas: General legal or litigation technology and legal project management
  • Program Length: Three semesters of part-time study for the evening program; 14 weeks of full-time study for the summer intensive program
  • Tuition: $9,200 total cost of program (2011-2012; full-time, matriculated students; includes research fee; excludes book costs)
  • Admission Requirements: Undergraduate degree, resume or CV, two letters of recommendation and personal essay; English proficiency for non-native speakers
  • School Type: 4-year, private (not-for-profit); nearly 7,600 undergraduates and approximately 9,500 graduate students
  • Address: 3307 M Street NW, Suite 202, Washington, DC 20007
  • Phone: 202-687-8466

Georgetown University law center is located in the same area of the city as Congress and the Supreme Court. The university's paralegal studies program is the only one approved by the American Bar Association in the nation's capital and can prepare you for a career as an assistant to a United States attorney, counsel to a congressional committee, law clerk or paralegal.

Coursework for both the general legal and the litigation technology and legal project management tracks includes topics in legal research and writing, litigation and trial practice, civil procedure, contract law, corporate law, legal ethics and legal technology. The general legal concentration gives you the chance to take additional classes in advanced legal writing, tort law and legal specialties. If you decide to focus on litigation technology, the curriculum includes classes in advanced litigation and trial technology, eDiscovery and legal project management.

The George Washington University

  • Program: Graduate Certificate in Paralegal Studies
  • Specialization Areas: Government law, intellectual property law and international law
  • Program Length: 18 credit hours or eight months of study
  • Tuition: $13,120 total cost of program (2012-2013; includes fees)
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree
  • Admission Requirements: Statement of purpose, current resume and two academic or professional references
  • School Type: 4-year, private (not-for-profit); approximately 10,400 undergraduates and 14,850 graduate students
  • Address: 950 North Glebe Road, 6th Floor, Arlington, VA 22203
  • Phone: 703-299-9142

Tailored to serve the needs of busy adults, The George Washington University's off-campus programs are offered both online and at seven locations in Washington, DC, and nearby Virginia. The graduate certificate in paralegal studies is a combination of traditional classroom and online instruction and requires 18 credits to complete. Core coursework for all areas of specialization includes classes in legal research and writing, corporate and contracts law, American jurisprudence and litigation. Each concentration consists of two six-credit courses, and depending on which one you choose, you may be able to pursue an in-depth study of administrative or government contracts law, prosecution and litigation in intellectual property law or international trade and finance. This program can help you acquire the skills you need to work in a corporation, government agency or law firm; the credits you earn are fully transferable to the school's graduate degree in paralegal studies.


Master's Degree Programs in Paralegal Studies in Washington, DC

The George Washington University

  • Program: Master of Professional Studies in Paralegal Studies
  • Specialization Areas: Government, intellectual property and international law
  • Program Length: 32 credit hours or 15 months of study
  • Tuition: $23,340 (2012-2013; includes cost of certificate program and fees)
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree
  • Admission Requirements: Statement of purpose, current resume and two academic or professional references
  • School Type: 4-year, private (not-for-profit); roughly 10,400 undergraduates and 14,850 graduate students
  • Address: 950 North Glebe Road, 6th Floor, Arlington, VA 22203
  • Phone: 703-299-9142

This graduate program, available through The George Washington University's off-campus programs for professional adults, is a 32-credit course of study that builds upon the 18-credit graduate certificate curriculum. If you haven't earned your certificate at the university, the following may help you qualify for advanced standing: completion of the George Washington Legal Assistant Program and two years of substantial law experience or completion of a post-graduate certificate in paralegal studies from an accredited college or an ABA-approved program and a passing score on a school-designated competency exam.

In addition to fulfilling the core and legal specialties curriculum requirements, you complete a 2-credit independent research project and a non-credit internship. Both the graduate certificate and the degree programs emphasize ethics, professional responsibility and proficiency in the legal technologies associated with specific areas of study.


Career Information for Paralegals in Washington, DC

Paralegals and legal assistants provide investigative, administrative, research and writing support to lawyers in corporate legal departments, government agencies or law firms. They can also obtain affidavits and formal statements and assist attorneys during trials.

Completing an associate's degree program in paralegal studies or earning a bachelor's degree combined with a post-baccalaureate certificate in paralegal studies are two common paths for entering the field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), while many colleges and universities may offer paralegal studies programs, only around 270 of these programs have been approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). Although certification's not typically required to obtain a position, some local and national organizations offer voluntary certifications for paralegals who pass an exam or meet an association's standards for education and experience.

Job Growth and Salary Information

Employment opportunities for paralegals and legal assistants were expected to increase as fast-as-average by 18% between 2010 and 2020, according to the BLS. Most paralegals and legal assistants would continue to be employed by law firms, although others might find jobs with local and state governments, finance and insurance companies or the federal government. As of May 2011, the BLS reports that there were 11,140 paralegals and legal assistants working in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV area who earned annual mean wages of about $65,000.

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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