Become a Paralegal in New Jersey

When a person plays Monopoly, they think big business, real estate, and money. Is it any wonder that in the U.S. version of this famous game, the streets are named after streets in Atlantic City, New Jersey?

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It takes a specialized education to become a paralegal. Find out more about the options in your area and how you can get the training you need through a flexible online program that fits your schedule.

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New Jersey has long been a hub of business because of its proximity to the transportation waterways of the Chesapeake Bay, the Delaware Bay, the Delaware River, and the Hudson River. A wealth of businesses and the legal firms they retain have an ever-growing need for the cost-effective legal support that paralegals deliver.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were about 7,990 paralegal jobs in New Jersey as of May 2020. During this time, paralegals here earned an average salary of $61,150, or $29.40 per hour, while those at the top of the pay scale (top 10%) earned about $91,610, which reflects an advanced level of education and experience.

These figures point to a bright future for the profession, especially for enterprising individuals who seek to improve their skills through education and certification.

New Jersey Paralegal Certification

There is no mandatory certification or licensing of paralegals in New Jersey. In 1999, the New Jersey Supreme Court denied a proposal for mandatory licensing, although it encouraged local associations to consider developing a credentialing system. The South Jersey Paralegal Association did just that when it initiated a voluntary program conferring the New Jersey Certified Paralegal (NJCP) credential on individuals meeting certain educational and/or work experience requirements.

Where to Earn Your Paralegal Certificate or Degree in New Jersey

Paralegal Certificates

  • Fairleigh Dickinson University

    Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) is the largest private institution in New Jersey. The American Bar Association approved Paralegal Studies Certificate Program can be completed through a six-month day program, or a 12 month evening program. This program is offered Spring, Summer and Fall through the school’s Monmouth County Graduate Center in Eatontown, its Florham Campus in Madison and its Metropolitan Campus in Teaneck. Voted #1 in 2012 and 2013 by NJ attorneys and their employees by the New Jersey Law Journal’s “Best of” poll.

    For open house and class start information, please visit their website at

    • Estimated Program Cost: $5,695 (based on 2013 tuition rate)
    • Prerequisties: 60 college credits, an associates degree or a bachelors’ degree (Those who not meet one of these criteria are admitted on a very limited basis.)
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus

    Sample required courses:

    • Civil Litigation
    • Criminal Law
    • Legal Research & Writing
    • Corporate Law
    • Family Law
    • Ethics
    • Real Estate & Mortgages
    • Estates, Trusts & Wills

    Many of the Legal Specialty courses are approved by NALA for 10.0 hours of general CLE Credits & NFPA for 24 CLE Credits.

    More information on becoming a “Certified” Paralegal can be found here.

  • Mercer County Community College

    Located in Trenton, Mercer County Community College (MCCC) is a two-year, public institution. Its 30-credit paralegal Certificate of Proficiency helps students understand the role of paralegals and develop practical skills in substantive areas of law; it’s designed for individuals interested in careers as paralegals and its credits will not transfer to a four-year program. Specialized paralegal courses are offered in the evening; the rest of the program is available through day or evening courses. Students have access to the school’s collection of law books, and all specialty courses are taught by attorneys.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $4,260 for Mercer County residents;$5,625 for non-Mercer County state residents; $8,235 for out-of-state and international students (based on 2013-2014 per-credit tuition; out-of-county state residents may qualify for chargeback tuition support)
    • Requirements: Associate or bachelor’s degree
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus

    Sample required courses:

    • Role of the Paralegal
    • Civil Litigation I, II & III
    • Legal Research & Writing
    • Business Law I & II
    • Commercial Law

Paralegal Associate Degrees

  • Atlantic Cape Community College

    Both an Associate in Applied Science and an Associate in Science in paralegal studies are available at Atlantic Cape Community College (ACCC). Courses in both programs cover legal research and writing, document preparation, preparation for litigation, computer literacy and other specialized skills needed to work as a paralegal; field work is required through a three-credit cooperative education course. Students benefit from a strong liberal arts education, along with a core education in law.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $7,128 for Atlantic and Cape County residents and out-of-county New Jersey residents with chargeback tuition support; $10,758 for out-of-county state residents without chargeback tuition support; $14,256 for out-of-state students (based on 2013 per-credit tuition)
    • Prerequisites: High diploma or GED, or age 18 or older
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus

    Sample required courses:

    • Introduction to Law & Litigation
    • Legal Research & Writing
    • Legal Ethics & Professional Responsibility
    • Law Office Management
    • Trial Advocacy
  • Bergen Community College

    Bergen Community College (BCC) offers an Associate in Applied Science in paralegal studies, a 65- to 66-credit program that balances a liberal arts education and a core of legal courses. These legal courses are designed to give students a solid understanding of substantive law and an understanding of the legal system, along with practical skills to help them gain employment and be effective in the legal workplace.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $8,485 for Bergen County residents; $17,680 for non-immigrant visa students, out-of-county; $18,678 for out-of-state students (based on 2013-2014 per-credit tuition)
    • Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus

    Sample required courses:

    • Fundamentals of Law I
    • Legal Ethics
    • Legal Research & Writing
    • Mechanics of Family Law
    • Computer Assisted Legal Research
    • Legal Accounting

Paralegal Bachelor’s Degrees

  • Montclair State University

    Forbes referred to Montclair State University (MSU) as”New Jersey’s best public university.” This school was founded in 1908 and serves more than 19,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Its campus is only 14 miles from New York City and a short commute from Newark. MSU offers a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in justice studies and a concentration in paralegal studies. Requiring 120 credits, this program offers a liberal arts foundation while preparing students with both practical and theoretical knowledge of the law and legal procedure.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $32,728 for state residents; $68,238 for out-of-state students (based on 2013-2014 per-semester tuition)
    • Prerequisites: The university reviews each application individually; however, strong candidates for admission have a GPA of 3.1 or greater and combined SAT score of 1500 or above or ACT composite score of 20 or above.
    • ABA Approved: Yes
    • Format: On campus

    Sample required courses:

    • Perspectives on Justice Studies I & II
    • Research Methods in Justice Studies
    • Theoretical Issues in Justice Studies
    • Law & Litigation
    • Computer Applications in the Legal Environment
    • Research & Writing for Paralegals

Paralegal Master’s Degrees

  • Montclair State University

    Although Montclair State University does not offer a master’s degree in paralegal studies, it does offer a Masters of Arts in Law and Governance with a legal management, information and technology concentration. This program is designed to advance students’ study of law within the context of a liberal arts education, give students an advanced level of legal knowledge in areas of governance, compliance and human resources, prepare them for today’s technically sophisticated legal environment, help them develop advanced research and writing abilities and enhance their analytical and critical thinking skills. This program is not ABA-approved for paralegals, however, it may be a good fit for paralegals who wish to gain advanced knowledge and perhaps grow into other areas of law.

    • Estimated Program Cost: $19,530 for state residents; $30,148 for out-of-state students (based on 2013-2014 per-credit tuition)
    • Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree; GRE or waiver
    • ABA Approved: No
    • Format: On campus

    Sample require courses:

    • United States Legal System
    • Dispute Resolution in the Workplace
    • Research Methods and Analysis
    • Private Sector Compliance with Public Regulations
    • Legal Information Management
    • Arbitration and Other Alternative Adjudicative Processes

Additional Paralegal Educational Programs

Professional Organizations

  • The Paralegal Association of New Jersey (PANJ) is a non-profit organization that fosters and promotes uniform educational standards and practice guidelines for legal assistants. Members can take advantage of networking opportunities and a job bank, and receive the organization’s quarterly newsletter, “The Perspective.”
  • The South Jersey Paralegal Association (SJPA) is dedicated to advancing, developing and strengthening the paralegal profession. It offer a voluntary certification program for those who wish to become a New Jersey Certified Paralegal. Members receive a monthly SJPA newsletter and the quarterly journal of the National Federal of Paralegal Associations, and can attend six dinner meeting each year. The association also serves as a point of access to continuing legal education (CLE) and has a members’ lending library. In addition, SJPA monitors legislation that affects paralegals and represents its members on the New Jersey State Bar Association Committee on Paralegals.
  • The New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) is open to paralegals as well as attorneys. Paralegal associations maintain contact with the NJSBA regarding legal changes that affect the paralegal profession.

2020 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary data and job market trends for paralegals reflect state and national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed January 2022.

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