Program Coordinator Rebecca Gockel
The Paralegal program will prepare individuals for employment as paralegals. Paralegals are persons who are qualified, through education, training, or work experience, to perform substantive legal work requiring a sufficient knowledge of legal concepts, under the direction and supervision of an attorney. Paralegals enjoy a wide variety of employment opportunities including private law offices, corporations, real estate and title companies, bank and trust agencies and government and judicial offices.
According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, paralegals (also called legal assistants) assume a growing range of tasks in law offices. Paralegals are found in all types of organizations, but most are employed by law firms, corporate legal departments, and various government offices. Paralegals can work in many different areas of law, including litigation, personal injury, corporate law, criminal law, employee benefits, intellectual property, labor law, bankruptcy, immigration, family law, and real estate. The duties of paralegals differ widely based on the type of organization in which they are employed. Computer use and technical knowledge has become essential to paralegal work.
In order to prevent a course being taken or a degree being granted where the student would be disadvantaged by a lack of awareness of recent developments in the relevant field of study, we may refuse to accept a course or courses to meet course prerequisites or program requirements if there has been a lapse of eight years or more since the credit was earned and there has been significant advance in the field of study.
Student Learning Outcomes
- Describe the American legal system, the practice of law, and the paralegal’s role in the legal profession
- Demonstrate strong written and oral communication skills, and the knowledge and skills needed to do legal research and work in civil litigation
- Apply the ethical rules and regulations applicable to paralegals and other legal professionals to given situations
- Demonstrate knowledge and abilities based on the balanced education received from the integration of general education, legal theory, and practical legal course work
- Demonstrate skills needed to function in the areas of practice offered as electives in the program
Associate in Applied Science A.A.S. Degree Students who wish to pursue a two-year curriculum leading to an Associate in Applied Science degree in Paralegal will be required to satisfy general education requirements including Communications (6 credit hours), Mathematics/Physical & Life Sciences (6 credit hours), Humanities & Fine Arts (3 credit hours), Social & Behavioral Sciences (3 credit hours), in addition to courses in ten paralegal core skills areas (Critical Thinking, Organizational, General Communication, Legal Research, Legal Writing, Interviewing /Investigation, Profession, Ethics, and Law Office Management. Students are required to complete an internship for the A.A.S. degree. Students who wish to enroll in the A.A.S. degree should contact an academic advisor. Paralegal program requisites include placement in ENGL 125 /READ 125 (or by appropriate L&C placement test score).
In order to successfully complete the A.A.S. degree requirements for the Paralegal Program, a student must earn a grade of C or better in all courses with a PLGL prefix and BTEC 120 , and BTEC 135 . Students must earn a C or better in PLGL 130 , PLGL 140 , PLGL 150 , PLGL 160 , PLGL 170 , and PLGL 240 prior to enrolling in PLGL 260 Paralegal Internship .
Certificate of Proficiency: This certificate is designed to enhance the paralegal skills/knowledge of a student and/or working professional who is already proficient in math and office technology/software applications but does NOT currently have a two- or four-year degree from an accredited college or university. The objective of the C.P. is to provide a short-term option for upgrading skills and producing competent, well-rounded individuals who are able to work under the supervision of an attorney in many areas of law. Students pursuing the C.P. are typically working in law offices or other business environments and wish to formally retrain or refresh their paralegal skills. Students are not required to complete an internship for the Certificate of Proficiency. Students who wish to pursue the C.P. must meet the same prerequisites as the A.A.S. degree. The Certificate of Proficiency is NOT equivalent to a two-year paralegal degree as required by most employers therefore it is not advisable for students wishing to transfer. Students should contact an academic advisor to enroll in the C.P. program.
30 and Out A.A.S. Degree Program Option: Anyone who has already earned an associate or bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university may earn an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Paralegal by completing 30 semester hours of approved business courses. Students interested in this program option must contact the program coordinator to receive written approval detailing the specific courses required for this degree option. Students must meet all institutional requirements for the Associate in Applied Science Degree.
Paralegal - PARALEGAL.AAS
Associate in Applied Science Degree
Total: 15 - 17 Credit Hours
Approved Paralegal Elective List
Total credit hours required for the A.A.S. in Paralegal: 60
Paralegal - PARALEGAL.CP
Certificate of Proficiency
Total hours required for a Certificate of Proficiency in Paralegal: 36