Paralegal Associate Degree Program
The Paralegal Studies Associate’s degree (A.A.S.) provides students with an opportunity to continue their Paralegal / legal secretary studies beyond the diploma level. Students entering this program will have successfully completed a diploma in a Paralegal Studies program or its equivalent. In this program, students will complete a foundational grouping of General Education courses in Oral and Written Communication, College Math, Critical Reading and Thinking, History of American Government, Introduction to Psychology, Ethics and Life Science. These general courses provide a helpful knowledge base for students either entering or progressing in the Paralegal profession. Additionally, students will complete core law courses in Human Resources Law, Administrative Law, Intellectual Property and Criminal Law. This combination of general and core subjects provides students with a broad scope of learning and helps prepare students well for success in the Paralegal / legal secretary profession. In addition to attending and participating in all courses, students will be required to complete out-of-class assignments. These assignments may include reading, learning activities, problem solving, research projects and presentations. Students should expect out-of-class homework that equals at least two (2) hours of work for every one (1) hour of class lecture. Upon successful completion of the program (see graduation requirements section of the catalog), students could seek or obtain entry-level employment in a paralegal, legal secretary or paralegal-related field(s).
Program length – 7 months
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The paralegal curriculum focuses on the professional and ethical responsibilities associated with the position, while classes in computer software, office procedures and law office technology prepare students to be valuable members of a legal department. Specialty courses in legal terminology, legal research and writing, civil litigation and other areas of law such as probate, criminal and family law allow students to tailor their educational experience to their own interests.
Courses in oral communication, written communication and social sciences support interpersonal skills, customer focus and writing abilities. Students also complete general education courses in math, history and government to help fulfill the requirements for this associate degree program.
A paralegal is an integral part of a legal team. Also known as legal assistants, they perform a variety of tasks to support lawyers, including maintaining and organizing files, conducting legal research, and drafting documents. Attention to detail, communication, time management, and organizational skills are all essential to success.
The U.S. Department of Labor predicts there will be 82,700 new job openings for paralegals between 2014 and 2024.1
1U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-2017 Edition, Paralegals, retrieved 4/26/16