Paralegal Certificate Program

Paralegal Certificate Program

If you enjoy dealing with legal issues, you should consider a career as a legal assistant, or paralegal. The field has seen huge growth over the past 30 years, and it is expected to continue to be one of the fastest growing over the next 10 years.

Paralegals work with lawyers to conduct research; investigate facts; analyze, digest and draft documents; interview clients and witnesses. Most paralegals work in law offices, corporations and government agencies. To be effective, paralegals must be organized, analytical and good communicators. They must also enjoy research and writing. Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law.

Specialized training is recommended for individuals who want to become Paralegals. According to the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, more than 80% of all paralegals have received some formal paralegal education. A bachelor's degree is highly recommended, including or supplemented by paralegal training. Students with bachelor's degrees may use the certificate program to enhance their marketable skills. Marist's Paralegal Certificate is approved by the American Bar Association.

For a list of the Paralegal courses, visit the course catalog.

Requirements to Earn a Paralegal Certificate

The Marist College Paralegal Program is designed to ensure that you have a solid liberal arts foundation, plus the specialized knowledge you need to work as a paralegal.

Students must complete 60 credits to earn the Paralegal certificate:

  • 36 general education credits, which must include 18 credits in liberal arts and demonstrate writing proficiency. These credits may be transferred from an accredited college or university.
  • 24 paralegal credits which include six credits in law related courses and 18 credits in legal specialty coursework.
  • Students must earn a 2.5 minimum GPA in law related and specialty course work.

Transfer Policy

Students may transfer in up to 36 credits that fulfill the general education requirements set forth above. A student may transfer from another institution a maximum of six of the 24 required paralegal credits. However, the transfer of legal specialty courses is limited to three credits to be transferred from an institution that is approved by the American Bar Association or a community college that has a signed articulation agreement with Marist's Paralegal Program. The Director reviews the course syllabus from any course to be transferred to ascertain that the course is similar in scope and content to the standards of our course. Students must receive a grade of "C" or better in the course in order to transfer the credit to Marist. The Paralegal Program will only accept credits from accredited colleges and universities that meet Marist's transferability requirements.


The Paralegal Program is offered at Marist's Poughkeepsie campus with evening or weekend formats. Depending upon which format you are interested in, please contact the following:

Format Contact
Evenings Adult Admissions at  845-575-3226 
Weekend Cohort      Donna Tompkins at 845-575-3202


Tuition & Costs

*subject to change due to improvements in the program*

Tuition Book & Fees
$495 per credit (Weekend Program) $850 estimated
$730 per credit (Evening Program) $890 estimated


Financing Options for the Paralegal Program

Students participating in the paralegal program may be entitled to scholarship, PELL grant, TAP grant, federal Stafford loans. If doing the Paralegal Certificate on a standalone basis, students are only entitled to borrow loans from the federal government at the freshman level each year the FAFSA is filed.

Gainful Employment Disclosures and Financing Options

U.S. Department of Labor Standard Occupational Code:

Paralegal and Legal Assistants: 23-2011.00


  • Gives you an edge in entering a highly competitive field
  • Enhances your job opportunities if you are currently employed in the field
  • Complements other concentrations in our B.A. / B.S. in Professional Studies

This certificate offers students a college curriculum which is approved by the American Bar Association. Students are eligible for the program with a Bachelor's degree or 36 transferable credits, the weekend-concentrated schedule enables you to complete the 24 undergraduate credits within one year. 

Dede Hourican '13

Student Spotlight

Dede Hourican ’13

“It was helpful being in class with others who were in my situation of working and going to school. The...format gives you the flexibility you need...I was told that, as an adult student, you can’t delay because you’ll never finish your degree if you do. I took that advice to heart and pushed through even when it was hard...People know that a Marist education has value.  With a Marist degree, people know that you’re a cut above."