Earn Your Paralegal Certificate Online or On-Campus
Position yourself for a successful legal career with UMass Lowell's 6-course paralegal certificate online. The Certificate in Paralegal Studies explores the role of paralegals in both the public and private sectors while learning a mix of legal theory and skills. Upon program completion, you will gain an understanding of legal concepts and vocabulary, the litigation process, the principles of jurisprudence and legal issues that influence modern business practices. You may complete this program through online and on-campus courses.
Unlike many of the paralegal programs offered at other universities, the online certificate at UMass Lowell is credit-bearing, which means courses completed through our program may apply toward the online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice: Paralegal option or the Bachelor of Liberal Arts: Legal Studies Concentration.
One Success Leads to Another
Students who successfully complete the Paralegal Studies Certificate Program can count all of the courses from the certificate program towards UMass Lowell's B.S. in Criminal Justice: Paralegal Option or Bachelor of Liberal Arts: Legal Studies Concentration program.
- 6 Courses (18cr)
Undergraduate Certificate Requirements
Students enrolled in UMass Lowell certificate programs must complete all courses and maintain a grade point average of 2.000 or better to earn the certificate. All certificate courses must be completed within a five-year period.
Students who successfully complete the certificate program should submit a Certificate Petition Form to have their certificate mailed to them.
Tuition & Fees
Tuition at UMass Lowell is typically half the cost of private colleges, and our online tuition is among the lowest in the nation. Tuition for online programs offered through the Division of Graduate, Online & Professional Studies is the same whether you live in-state, out-of-state or outside of the U.S.
Fall 2023 Tuition
|Cost Per Credit||Cost Per 3-Credit Course*|
|On Campus Lowell||$340||$1,020|
|Term Registration Fee||$30|
Please note: Tuition and fees are subject to change.
Frequently Asked Questions
Paralegal certificates are not required to be ABA-approved in any state. Less than one-quarter of paralegal programs from the most respected institutions in the country possess ABA approval, even though they would meet the approval guidelines. For many reasons, schools cannot or choose not to go through the ABA approval process.
Fortunately, few employers require prospective paralegals to complete an ABA-approved certificate program. Furthermore, paralegal students are eligible for free ABA membership simply by entering their student email addresses.
UMass Lowell’s fully online paralegal certificate, with courses taught and designed by experienced attorneys and faculty members, is created to be as accessible as possible to busy adults. UMass Lowell possesses AAfPE membership, and credits earned through our program can count toward the online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice: Paralegal option or our Bachelor of Liberal Arts: Legal Studies Concentration.
Many need clarification on paralegal certificates and certifications because they are different.
The certificate you achieve through our program at UMass Lowell is an academic credential that verifies you have completed an educational program of study. Most importantly, the courses at UMass Lowell are credit-bearing, which means you can apply those courses toward a bachelor's degree. However, you will not be a "certified" paralegal upon program completion.
You must complete an exam and meet outlined educational or experiential requirements through a non-governmental agency to achieve certification. Two of the most popular certifying institutions include the National Federation for Paralegal Education (NFPA)and the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).
Successful paralegals are skilled readers, writers, researchers, communicators and critical thinkers. They also possess a thorough understanding of legal terminology and procedures. Paralegals must be highly organized, detail-oriented, able to work well independently and simultaneously manage multiple tasks and deadlines.
Additionally, proficiency in computer software programs such as Microsoft Office and legal research databases is essential for success in this field. Continuous learning and staying updated with changes in laws and regulations are also crucial for paralegals to maintain their expertise and provide high-quality support to their legal team.
Employment opportunities for paralegals are excellent. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
"Employment of paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow 14 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.
"About 45,800 openings for paralegals and legal assistants are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire."
Paralegals can work in various settings, including law firms, government agencies, corporations, and nonprofit organizations. Within these settings, there are also different areas of law in which a paralegal can specialize. The opportunities for growth and advancement in this field are numerous and varied.
While most paralegals are employed at law firms, the knowledge and skills that paralegals possess apply to many different work environments. Paralegal jobs are widely available in such places as:
- Corporate legal departments
- Government agencies
- Financial institutions
- Real estate companies
- Insurance businesses
- Consulting firms
- Health care providers
Paralegals assist lawyers with various tasks related to law practice. These tasks may include conducting legal research, drafting legal documents, managing case files and communicating with clients. While paralegals cannot provide legal advice or represent clients in court, they are critical in ensuring that legal matters are handled efficiently and effectively.
A paralegal career can focus on several different areas of practice, such as:
- Real estate
- Corporate law
- Personal injury
- International law
- Estate planning
- Criminal law
- Intellectual property
- Environmental law
- Family law
Applying into an Undergraduate Certificate Program
Apply to an undergraduate certificate program using the Online Application Form or by printing and completing the Undergraduate Certificate Application Form in .pdf file format. Applicants will be required to have either their official high school transcript, HiSET®, GED® or their most recent college transcript if applicable, sent to Graduate, Online & Professional Studies at the address below. Applications, transcripts, and other correspondence should be sent to:
University of Massachusetts Lowell
Division of Graduate, Online & Professional Studies
839 Merrimack Street, 2nd Floor
Lowell, MA 01854
Undergraduate certificate applications are accepted on an ongoing basis and there is no fee to apply. You will be notified upon acceptance.