10 Best Paralegal Programs in Illinois

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A Paralegal is a legal office professional who provides administrative support services.

They work in legal offices, providing support, documentation, and case management services for private attorneys, government offices, and US corporations.

Paralegal Job Duties

The job duties of today’s paralegals encompass a multifaceted role.

Their legal support services run the gamut from providing in-courtroom support to drafting legal documents to interviewing witnesses and legal research, along with the following duties.

  1. Courtroom Support
  2. Document Preparation
  3. Drafting Motions and Pleas
  4. Legal Research
  5. Interviewing Clients and Witnesses
  6. Fact-Checking

Top Paralegal Certifications

Today’s paralegals can enter the profession by earning certifications or credentials from nationally recognized legal certification authorities.

Paralegals become certified to show commitment to their careers, to improve marketability, and to earn higher salaries when they enter the field.

Nationally recognized paralegal certifications are issued by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations and The National Association of Legal Assistants.

The most highly sought-after paralegal certifications include the following.

  • Paralegal Core Competency Exam Certification – PCCE issued by the NFPA
  • PACE – Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam – comprehensive education in paralegal studies combined with on-the-job practical experience leads to the RP designation after name issued by the NFPA
  • Continuing Legal Education – CLE is required for US Paralegals to remain certified and is issued by the NFPA
  • Certified Paralegal Credential – CP is issued by the NALA

Legal professionals seeking PCCE certification through the NFPA should know that applicants can apply to take the certification exam and complete knowledge and skills assessments online.

PCCE certification fees start at $325.00 for non-members, and active paralegal professionals seeking credit for years of substantive legal work experience must complete a work affidavit.

Best Paralegal Programs in Illinois

Becoming a Paralegal in Illinois is a great way to enter the legal field and work with attorneys and other legal professionals.

Prospective paralegals can take the following steps to become certified in Illinois.

  1. Get Paralegal Education and Training from an American Bar Association-approved program.
  2. Earn a Paralegal Certificate from an accredited US college, university, or continuing education program.
  3. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Paralegal Studies from a four-year college or university.
  4. Earn an Associate’s Degree or an Associate in Applied Science degree in Paralegal Studies from an accredited college or university.
  5. Acting professionals already working as paralegals in law offices, corporations, and government agencies can seek continuing legal education credentials from an approved program as a certificate, credential, or degree.

Following is an overview of some of the best paralegal programs in Illinois.

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1 Roosevelt University

About the Program

Roosevelt University is an ABA-approved program offering students the opportunity to earn a Paralegal Studies or a Paralegal Certificate.

Their program teaches students concepts required to understand substantive law and procedural law processes.

It prepares them to work in a variety of legal settings under the supervision of an attorney.

Students who complete Roosevelt’s paralegal programs are ready to work as entry-level paralegals or sit for national paralegal certification upon completion.

Courses Offered

  • Legal Research
  • Legal Writing
  • Commercial Law
  • Litigation Civil Law

Program Cost: $555.00 per credit hour

Contact Information

  • Address: 430 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois - 60605
  • Phone: 847-619-7300
  • Website: Visit School Website

2 South Suburban College

About the Program

Students who get their paralegal education from South Suburban College in South Holland can choose from a variety of program options, including their Paralegal/Legal Assistant, Court Reporting and Verbatim Technology, and Criminal Justice System programs.

Their Paralegal Assistant Program is a 100% online program approved by the American Bar Association and taught by attorneys where students can earn an Associate of Applied Science degree.

They also have an online paralegal certificate program as a continuing legal education option for professionals already in the field.

Courses Offered

  • Introduction to Paralegal Studies
  • Legal Research and Writing
  • Law of Family Relations
  • Estate Planning and Probate
  • Criminal Law for the Paralegal

Program Cost: $6,557.00 – $16, 424.00 

Contact Information

  • Address: 15800 South State Street, South Holland, Illinois - 60473
  • Phone: 708-596-2000
  • Website: Visit School Website

3 Illinois State University

About the Program

The Legal Studies program at Illinois State University offers a mix of practical legal education with research and technology skills that prepare students to work as entry-level paralegals upon completion.

Their Department of Politics and Government allows students to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies. Also, it offers a 24-credit hour Minor in Legal Studies option.

Students can select from a variety of legal and political courses that give them the foundational knowledge required to excel as paralegals.

Courses Offered

  • Introduction to Law for Paralegals
  • Legal Research
  • Introduction to Commercial Transactions for Paralegals
  • Introduction to Torts
  • Independent Study

Program Cost: $2,760.00 -$9,705.00

Contact Information

  • Address: 397 West Locust Street, Normal, Illinois - 61790
  • Phone: 309-438-2586
  • Website: Visit School Website

4 Loyola University Chicago

About the Program

Loyola University Chicago’s Institute for Paralegal Studies offers students a variety of options to pursue their legal education.

They offer American Bar Association-approved legal programs leading to Bachelor’s degrees, custom certificates, paralegal credentials, litigation practice, and dual certificates that give students a comprehensive legal education.

Students who take classes at Loyola in Chicago can take in-person or online legal courses as they work toward their chosen legal credential at one of Chicago’s most prestigious schools.

Courses Offered

  • Introduction to Paralegal Studies
  • Ethics and Professional Responsibilities of Paralegals
  • Family Law
  • Contracts and Business Organizations
  • Real Estate Law
  • Civil Litigation
  • Legal Writing and Research

Program Cost: $730.00 per credit hour

Contact Information

  • Address: 820 North Michigan Avenue, Lewis Towers 621, Chicago, Illinois - 60621
  • Phone: 312-915-6820
  • Website: Visit School Website

5 City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington

About the Program

The City Colleges of Chicago Harold Washington Paralegal Program prepares Chicago-area students for legal employment with top firms.

Students can enroll in part-time or full-time classes to learn about conducting legal research, how to interview clients and witnesses, preparing legal documents, motions, pleas, and more.

They also provide access to their extensive legal library and allow students to participate in their Paralegal Club.

This program features an internship and has transferable credit options for students who want to go on to complete law school.

Courses Offered

  • Introduction to Paralegal Studies
  • Civil Litigation for Business
  • Real Estate Law for the Paralegal Business
  • Elder Law
  • Family Law
  • Immigration Law
  • Environmental Law for the Paralegal Business
  • Legal Ethics

Program Cost: $146.00-$481.00 per credit hour

Contact Information

  • Address: 30 East Lake Street, Chicago, Illinois - 60601
  • Phone: 312-553-5600
  • Website: Visit School Website

6 College of Lake County

About the Program

College of Lake County gives students two options to complete their paralegal education.

Students can work towards an Associate in Applied Science degree, which takes about ten semesters to complete for students without legal education or background.

They also offer a legal studies certificate comprising specialty legal courses with concentrations in family law, real estate law, probate law, and law office technology.

Students interested in taking legal classes at the College of Lake County can begin the application process online.

Courses Offered

  • Family Law
  • Torts
  • Property Law
  • Corporate and Securities Law
  • Bankruptcy Law
  • Immigration Law
  • Law Office Technology

Program Cost: $136.96-$446.50 per credit hour

Contact Information

  • Address: 19351 West Washington Street, Grayslake, Illinois - 60030
  • Phone: 847-543-2000
  • Website: Visit School Website

7 Illinois Central College

About the Program

Illinois students seeking a Certificate in Legal Studies who already hold a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in Paralegal Studies can take courses at Illinois Central College.

Students in the program work directly under the supervision of a licensed attorney as they refresh their legal skills in this 12-month program.

This comprehensive legal program teaches students the concepts of legal research writing.

It offers transfer credits for students who want to further their legal education.

Courses Offered

  • Criminal Law
  • Legal Research
  • Family Law
  • Civil Litigation
  • Administrative Law
  • Court Procedures and Evidence

Program Cost: $4,650.00 + supplies and fees

Contact Information

  • Address: 1 College Drive, East Peoria, Illinois - 61635
  • Phone: 309-694-5422
  • Website: Visit School Website

8 Elgin Community College

About the Program

Elgin Community College offers an American Bar Association-approved Paralegal Certificate program that helps students prepare for immediate employment in the legal field upon completion.

ECC students can earn an associate’s Degree or Paralegal certificate, which prepares students for entry-level paralegal employment.

They also offer elective programs for students seeking paralegal education in niche-based practice areas.

Students can apply online to their program, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Cost: $132.00 per credit hour

Contact Information

  • Address: 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin, Illinois - 60123
  • Phone: 847-214-7900
  • Website: Visit School Website

9 Harper College

About the Program

Harper College has a Post-Degree Certificate in Paralegal Studies program offering 24 credit hours of continuing education instruction for legal professionals who already hold a degree in Paralegal studies.

The program reinforces legal research, tort law, and immigration law.

It includes a legal internship program that allows students to demonstrate their newly earned expertise in the field.

This program gives students the option to take elective courses in estate planning, contract law, and a variety of legal niches as a complement to their studies.

Courses Offered

  • Introduction to Paralegal Studies
  • Legal Research
  • Tort Law
  • Immigration Law
  • Ethics
  • Legal Writing
  • Law Office

Program Cost: $135.50 – $468.00 per credit hour

Contact Information

  • Address: 1200 West Algonquin Road, Palatine, Illinois - 60067
  • Phone: 847-925-6700
  • Website: Visit School Website

10 College of DuPage

About the Program

Glen Ellyn’s College of Dupage gives criminal justice students a few options for paralegal education.

They have an Associate in Applied Science in Paralegal Studies degree and a Post-Degree Certificate for people with an associate degree.

Their two-year degree and certificate programs cover legal topics for business law, immigration law, technology, and related topics.

Courses Offered

  • Criminal Law and Procedure
  • Ethics
  • Law Office Organizations
  • Legal Research
  • Legal Writing and Litigation

Program Cost: $5,040.00 + supplies and fees

Contact Information

  • Address: 425 Falwell Drive, Glynn Ellyn, Illinois - 61037
  • Phone: 630-942-2800
  • Website: Visit School Website

Schools Summary Table

Rank School
#1 Roosevelt University
#2 South Suburban College
#3 Illinois State University
#4 Loyola University Chicago
#5 City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington
#6 College of Lake County
#7 Illinois Central College
#8 Elgin Community College
#9 Harper College
#10 College of DuPage

Paralegal Salary Information

Illinois paralegals make a comfortable salary, earning an average of just under $59,000 annually.

Paralegal salaries can vary widely depending on factors like education and training, certification, job location, and years of experience in the field.

The paralegal education programs listed above offer information on sought-after specializations that can increase the earning potential of entry-level paralegals.

Specializations for paralegals include:

  • Contract law
  • Corporate law
  • Healthcare law
  • Intellectual Property (IP) law
  • Real estate law
Annual Salary Range:
Item Percent

Average Salary in Illinois

City Name Salary
Chicago $70,547
Rockford $65,859
Aurora $69,951
Naperville $69,252
Peoria $64,595
Springfield $63,284
Joliet $68,757
Elgin $69,406
Waukegan $66,826
Cicero $70,547

Regional Salary

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Bloomington, IL260$58,830$28.29$92,970$37,350
Carbondale-Marion, IL70$45,190$21.72$59,350$28,860
Champaign-Urbana, IL110$55,030$26.46$79,140$35,490
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI10,520$65,450$31.47$97,340$41,240
Peoria, IL310$56,690$27.26$79,040$37,210
Rockford, IL140$51,730$24.87$70,620$29,010
Springfield, IL190$55,750$26.81$80,540$37,130
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Paralegals and Legal Assistants, OCC Code 23-2011, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Paralegal Programs by State

Chelsea Wilson

About Chelsea Wilson

Chelsea Wilson is the Community Relations Manager for Washington University School of Law’s distance learning LLM degree program, which provides foreign trained attorneys with the opportunity to earn a Master of Laws degree from a top-tier American university from anywhere in the world.

One Response to 10 Best Paralegal Programs in Illinois

  1. Avatar
    Aron Paulson #

    This post is a fantastic resource for anyone interested in pursuing a career as a paralegal in Illinois! Thank you for compiling such a comprehensive and well-researched list of the top programs in the state.

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