Certificate of Applied Science • 61 Credit Hours
A paralegal is a highly skilled paraprofessional with specialized training who works under the direct supervision of an attorney.
Job responsibilities require knowledge of law and legal procedures in rendering direct assistance to lawyers and clients. Tasks may include interviewing, case investigation, the preparation of pleadings, and legal research. The increasing complexities of the legal assistant’s work environment have also created the need for individuals who possess skills including interpersonal, communication, analytical, decision-making, customer service, and computer skills. Paralegals cannot provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law.
What you’ll learn.
Upon completion of the Paralegal A.A.S. program, the graduate will be able to
(1) Exhibit knowledge of legal terminology to communicate with attorneys, peers, managers, and other professionals.
(2) Develop specific skills in those areas of law practice in which legal assistants customarily function.
(3) Assist attorneys with client interviews, legal research, preparation of documents and pleadings for trial and other professional activities normally undertaken by paraprofessionals to assist with the practice of law.
(4) Exhibit knowledge of appropriate ethical behavior for legal assistants.
Paralegals & Legal Assistants
2019 Median Pay
$51,740 per year
Number of Jobs
325,700 in 2018
Much faster than average employment.
The college adheres to an open admission policy which means applications with a high school diploma or GED are eligible for admission. Applicants with neither a high school diploma nor GED may be admitted on a conditional basis.
Graduates with an Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies will have the skills to obtain employment as legal assistants or paralegals for law firms, corporations, and governmental agencies. Other opportunities exist as administrators for nonprofit legal services, trust administrative assistants, and criminal justice occupations.
Employment of paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow 12 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.
As law firms try to increase the efficiency of legal services and reduce their costs, they are expected to hire more paralegals and legal assistants. In these cases, paralegals and legal assistants can take on a “hybrid” role within the firm, performing not only traditional paralegal duties but also some of the tasks previously assigned to legal secretaries or other legal support workers.
Law firms also are attempting to reduce billing costs as clients push for less expensive legal services. Due to their lower billing rates to clients, paralegals can be a less costly alternative to lawyers, performing a wide variety of tasks once done by entry-level lawyers. This should cause an increase in demand for paralegals and legal assistants.