Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a “paralegal” and a “legal assistant”?
It has long been recognized that the terms “paralegal” and “legal assistant” are synonymous terms just as “lawyer” and “attorney”. This is not an opinion of NALA (National Association of Legal Assistants), but a well documented fact throughout the United States – supported by state Supreme Court rules, statutes, ethical opinions, bar associations guidelines, and other similar documents.
How quickly can the program be completed?
The program consists of 375 hours of legal education (12 courses) and can be completed in as little as one year.
Can the program be completed on a part-time basis?
Yes. However, do note, the Certificate Program must be completed within 3 years.
How do I apply?
Students may begin the program in either January or August. The Paralegal Certificate program uses a year-round, rolling admissions process. If you wish to begin the program in the Spring semester (January start), applications are due December 1. If you wish to begin the program in the Fall semester (August start), applications are due July 1.
How much is the tuition?
Individual course fees vary based on length and level. To view individual course fees, click on the “Course Schedules” dropdown in the left navigation menu. Note: You must be registered and paid in full for your selected courses no later than one week before classes begin.
Can I transfer paralegal or other law courses from another academic institution to apply toward successful completion of the Paralegal Certificate Program?
Our program welcomes transfer students and will evaluate and consider waivers of course work.
Does the paralegal program offer placement services?
Yes. Employers contact the program coordinator who posts job advertisements and recommends to students and graduates to seek these opportunities. Also, we network with paralegal associations.
How is the job outlook for the paralegal profession?
The paralegal profession has grown tremendously since its introduction in the 1960’s. The volume of legal activity and litigation continues to increase even when the economy slows down.
The Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, forecasts a faster-than-average growth rate of 14 percent through 2031, much faster than the average growth for all occupations.
As law firms try to increase the efficiency of legal services and lower their expenses, they are expected to hire more paralegals and legal assistants. Some law firms are rethinking their project staffing and rebuilding their support staff by hiring paralegals, who may be given some of the administrative tasks previously assigned to legal secretaries.
Private law firms will continue to be the largest employers of paralegals, but a growing array of other organizations, such as corporate legal departments, insurance companies, real estate and title insurance firms, and banks also hire paralegals. Corporations in particular are expected to increase their in-house legal departments to cut costs. In part because of the range of tasks they can perform, paralegals are also increasingly employed in small and medium-size establishments of all types.
What is the average salary for a paralegal?
Earnings of paralegals vary greatly, depending on education, training, experience, the type and size of employer, and the geographic location of the job. The average current salary reported for paralegals with certificates was about $60,000, certificate holders being compensated at a higher level than any other form of education, including Associate Degree or Bachelor Degree holders.