Schools for Aspiring Nurse Paralegals: How to Choose

Registered nurses can enroll in nurse paralegal certificate programs or legal nurse consultant programs across the U.S. Most schools offering nurse paralegal training and certification require applicants to already be licensed as RNs. Many certificate programs require RNs to have at least two years of experience before entering the program. Certificate programs in the related field of legal nurse consulting are also available.

Both legal nurse consultants and nurse paralegals are nursing professionals who use their medical expertise to assist in legal matters. A legal nurse consultant (LNC) is often hired as an independent contractor to consult on specific medically-related cases, while nurse paralegals may be hired full-time because they are trained to perform all aspects of paralegal work in addition to providing expert medical knowledge.

Nurse Paralegal Schools

The table below shows additional information for nurse paralegal programs.

College/University Location Institution Type Degree Offered Tuition (2015-2016)
Duke University Raleigh, NC 4-year, Private Certificate $2495*
University of Houston Houston, TX 4-year, Public Certificate $895*
University of Rochester Rochester, NY 4-year, Private Certificate $8,400*
Widener University Harrisonburg, PA 4-year, Private Certificate $11,100*
University of Central Florida Orlando, FL 4-year, Public Certificate $1,199, $1,099 for alumni*
Florida International University Miami, FL 4-year, Public Certificate $100*
Kent State University Kent, OH 4-year, Public Certificate $10,012 in state, $18,212 out of state**
University of California at Riverside Riverside, CA 4-year, Public Certificate $3,500*

Source: *School websites; **National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Below are considerations when choosing a nurse paralegal or legal nurse consultant school:

  • Determine what type of certification is most desirable for your needs.
  • Look for schools that have connections to the medical and the legal field, including professors who have medical and/or legal experience.
  • Some programs include an internship or practicum, where students work as paralegals in a supervised, professional setting.
  • Certification through the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants (AALNC) or the American Society of Legal Nurse Consultants (ASLNC) demonstrates competence in your field, so look for programs that meet their requirements.

Nurse Paralegal Certificate Program

Many nurse paralegal certificate programs are offered online. Programs may consist of 25-35 credit hours, with concentrations in health care law and medical insurance law.

Legal Nurse Consultant Certificate Program

Because an LNC certificate program may be the same length as a nurse paralegal certificate program, students should consider their career goals before they enroll. Some LNC programs offer mentorships during which students experience a variety of nurse consultant settings.

Nurse paralegals obtain additional training through nurse paralegal certificate programs or legal nurse consultant certificate programs. Mentorships and internships are common components to these certification courses.

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