6 Best Paralegal Programs in Montana

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Paralegals work in a variety of settings, for law firms, government agencies, organizations, and agencies.

People who want to work in the legal field but not as an attorney can fulfill their dream without the lengthy commitment of attending law school.

Montana is listed among the top states in some paralegal categories that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes in its Geographic Profile for Paralegals and Legal Assistants and in its Industry Profile for Paralegals and Legal Assistants.

Completing a paralegal program often gives applicants for paralegal jobs an advantage over their peers when applying for Montana paralegal jobs.

These Best Paralegal Programs in Montana provide students with the education that they need to work as a paralegal.

Some programs provide students with access to become certified paralegals or to advance their current skills and career opportunities.

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1 University of Montana

About the School

The University of Montana draws students from around the world who want to take a creative approach to their education.

The school has a 127-year history of educating students and providing programs to serve the needs of Montana residents.

The Associate in Paralegal Studies program is one such program.

Courses Offered

The Certificate of Applied Science – Legal Studies program is the University of Montana’s Paralegal Studies program that prepares students to work as a paralegal or to continue their education.

It is also a University of Montana Program of Distinction.

The Missoula College Business and Technology Department offers a one-year distance program.

Students across the State of Montana can complete the program, which is approved by the American Bar Association.

The 33-credit hour program places an emphasis on research and writing.

Students learn how to apply these skills while working in a professional setting.

Learn to perform a variety of activities such as drafting legal documents, conducting legal research, interviewing clients, and preparing cases for trial.

Program courses include Introduction to Paralegal Studies, Legal Research and Writing, and Legal Ethics.

Choose 10 hours of elective courses from options such as Civil Litigation, Computers and Law, Trial Preparation, and Contemporary Legal Issues.

Students also complete a 90-hour internship, which the school indicates is often paid.

Contact Information

  • Address: 1205 E. Broadway Ave., Missoula, MT, 59802
  • Phone: 406-243-7805
  • Website: Visit School Website

2 University of Montana - Western

About the School

The University of Montana – Western School of Outreach meets you where you are, allowing students to get the education that they need for their careers.

The school provides students who are enrolled in the online program with in-depth knowledge of the role of a paralegal.

Students receive extensive learner support when they enroll in the Paralegal Professional Online Certification Course from the University of Montana – Western.

Courses Offered

The entry-level certificate program provides students with an understanding of the duties that paralegals perform from their first day of the program.

Students gain knowledge of the areas of law that they will likely work in and explore the professional responsibilities of paralegals.

Some knowledge and skills that students gain include legal research, drafting legal documents, investigating skills, and preparing for trial.

They learn about probate law, family law, contract law, and tort law.

Program courses provide students with research skills, legal writing skills, and knowledge of the trial process, Students also learn about the appellate process and alternative dispute resolution.

The program prepares students to sit for the paralegal certification exam.

Contact Information

  • Address: 710 S. Atlantic St., Dillon, MT., 59725
  • Phone: 406-683-7331
  • Website: Visit School Website

3 Montana State University

About the School

The Montana State Legislature established Montana State University in 1893.

It is now the largest university in Montana.

Bozeman is the home campus for the school, which also has the Montana State University – Billings location, the Montana State University – Northern location, and the Montana State University – Great Falls College location.

The Paralegal Professional Online Certification Course is offered for students who want an entry-level paralegal job or for those who wish to continue their paralegal studies.

Courses Offered

The Montana State University Paralegal Professional program is offered in an online format.

Students gain a comprehensive view of the responsibilities of paralegals and their working environment.

Students gain an understanding of how state and federal courts work and the role of the paralegal related to these courts.

Courses provide students with knowledge and skills such as legal writing, research, and interviewing clients.

The program also focuses on examining the legal principles of tort law, family law, probate law, contract law, and property law.

There is an option for students to gain hands-on experience by completing a volunteer externship opportunity.

Students who complete the four-to-six-month online program often sit for national or industry-recognized paralegal certification exams.

Contact Information

  • Address: 437 Culbertson Hall, Bozeman, MT., 59717
  • Phone: 406-994-0211
  • Website: Visit School Website

4 University of Providence

About the School

The University of Providence, which was founded in 1932, offers associate and bachelor’s degree paralegal programs.

Students who want to start their paralegal career immediately after completing their education program will find the Paralegal Studies Associate Degree (A.S.) helpful for entry-level positions.

The school offers a bachelor’s degree program, the Legal and Paralegal Studies Major (B.S.) program.

Courses Offered

Students who enroll in the University of Providence Paralegal Studies Associate Degree program complete courses in a hybrid format, the same as with the bachelor’s degree program.

The hybrid format means that students complete some courses online, while they complete other courses in the traditional on-campus format.

The 60-credit program includes courses such as Introduction to Law, Legal Research and Writing, and Introduction to Legal Analysis.

These three courses are completed in the classroom. Some other courses, including Litigation and Trial Practice, and Commercial Law may be completed online.

Students also complete two elective courses and a capstone project.

The Bachelor of Science Legal and Paralegal Studies Major program consists of a minimum of 120 credits.

Students complete the same three courses that students in the associate degree program complete in the traditional classroom setting.

They also complete Commercial Law II and two specialty elective courses.

The specialty elective courses that students choose should be in their preferred specialization or area of interest.

Some options include Estate Law, Property Law, and Domestic and Family Law.

Students choose other electives such as Environmental Law, Negotiation and Mediation, and Criminal Law.

Contact Information

  • Address: 1301 20th Street South, Great Falls, Montana, 59405
  • Phone: 800-856-9544
  • Website: Visit School Website

5 University of Providence – Military Partnership Paralegal Education

About the School

The University of Providence has a partnership with the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army to offer bachelor’s degree paralegal programs to enlisted personnel.

Students pay a special tuition rate.

The Military Partnership Paralegal Education programs are approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).

Courses Offered

The University of Providence indicates that the Air Force Paralegal Program is an “Air University Associate to Baccalaureate Cooperative (AU-ABC) program partner.”

Airmen who have an associate degree from the Community College of the Air Force may enroll in the program to complete their bachelor’s degree.

Air Force students who enroll in the program learn oral communication skills and legal research and writing skills.

They learn to differentiate between critical and analytical thinking.

Courses in the program include Introduction to Legal Analysis, Commercial Law, and Litigation and Trial Practice.

The University of Providence and The Judge Advocate General’s Learning Center and School (TJAGLCS) have held a partnership for almost 20 years.

Students who enroll in the Army Paralegal Program experience the University of Providence providing paralegal specialists (27D) with an opportunity to complete a Legal and Paralegal Studies program in an online format.

Contact Information

  • Address: 1301 20th Street South, Great Falls, Montana, 59405
  • Phone: 800-856-9544
  • Website: Visit School Website

6 Fort Peck Community College

About the School

Fort Peck Community College is a two-year college in the Tribal College and University System.

Students learn the values, knowledge, and skills that they need to become lifelong contributors to the local community, private industry, and Tribal, Federal, and state entities.

Courses Offered

The Lay Advocate/Paralegal program is a 31-credit hour certificate program.

Students prepare to become lay advocates in Tribal Courts and to work as entry-level paralegals.

Some courses offered in the program include Family Law, Will, Probate, and Property Law, Civil Procedure/Litigation, and Legal Research, Writing, and Case Analysis.

The courses prepare students to gain foundational knowledge of civil law and criminal law.

Program graduates know how to identify legal issues and provide remedies.

Contact Information

Schools Summary Table

Rank School
#1 University of Montana
#2 University of Montana - Western
#3 Montana State University
#4 University of Providence
#5 University of Providence – Military Partnership Paralegal Education
#6 Fort Peck Community College

Paralegal Salary Information

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the median salary for a paralegal in the U.S. as $59,200 per year.

The salary for a paralegal varies for several reasons, including the state where the paralegal works.

The site salary.com lists the salary for a paralegal in the State of Montana in 2023 at $61,315.

The city where a paralegal works in Montana also affects the median salary.

One example is that a paralegal who works in Alberton, Montana earns a median salary of $62,577, as of September 2023, while a paralegal who works in Billings, Montana earns a median salary of $64,522.

Some other factors that affect the salary of a paralegal include experience and the setting where the paralegal works.

A paralegal working as an entry-level paralegal at a small legal practice is likely to earn less than a paralegal who has several years of experience and who works for a large corporation or a government agency.

Annual Salary Range:
Item Percent

Average Salary in Montana

City Name Salary
Billings $64,522
Missoula $56,641
Great Falls $59,069
Butte $56,641
Bozeman $56,641
Helena $57,647
Kalispell $60,064
Havre $58,063
Anaconda $56,641
Miles City $63,516

Regional Salary

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Billings, MT250$58,170$27.97$80,980$48,290
Great Falls, MT90$55,360$26.61$75,490$38,720
Missoula, MT260$57,730$27.75$78,590$43,210
* 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.

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