Learn more about our Paralegal Certificate Program:
According to the National Association of Legal Assistants, the terms paralegal and legal assistant are used interchangeably, similar to the terms attorney and lawyer. A legal assistant or paralegal is a person qualified by education, training, or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency, or other entity, and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible.
Paralegals generally work in law firms and are an important part of the legal team, assisting attorneys with all aspects of the legal profession. A paralegal/legal assistant may not practice law, give legal advice, or represent clients in a court of law, but will aid attorneys in these practices. Paralegals can perform functions delegated by an attorney that could include conducting client interviews; locating and interviewing witnesses; conducting investigations and statistical and documentary research; drafting legal documents; summarizing depositions; attending executions of wills, real estate closings, depositions, court hearings or trials with the attorney; performing library or computer-assisted legal research; performing some accounting functions; and responding to correspondence.
Although private law firms are the single largest employer of paralegals, opportunities also exist in a variety of other professional settings. Some examples include civil service departments of the federal or state government; legal service and legal aid offices; law departments of corporations, banks, insurance companies, and other businesses; special interest groups (such as unions, associations, citizen action groups, lobbyists, and so on); federal or state prosecutors’ offices; or as a self-employed professional who sells services directly to attorneys.
There are as many kinds of paralegals as there are lawyers, and just like a lawyer’s salary, a paralegal’s salary will vary depending on the kind of law being practiced, the location, and the paralegal’s level of expertise. In general, paralegal salaries tend to be higher in larger law firms and federal government positions. According to Salary.com, the national median average salary for paralegals ranges from $50,013 to $63,856.
A minimum of an associate’s degree is required to enroll in the program. Enrollment is based on the University honor system, and a formal copy of your university or college transcript is not required for registration. Potential program registrants with international degrees must provide at the time of registration, a copy of an international educational evaluation, if the degree was obtained from a foreign college or university. An evaluation must be from an organization that is a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) or the Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE).
The program cost is $5,695; which includes tuition, textbooks, all course materials, and one-year access to LexisNexis.
The Paralegal Certificate Program is a continuing education program and as such does not qualify for University financial aid, nor is it eligible for support via the state’s tuition waiver program. We regret we cannot provide senior citizens’ discounts, and participants cannot audit the program. Learn more about tuition financing options.
Tuition includes all textbooks and supplies. All materials will be provided at the beginning of class.
Yes, the tuition fee includes access to the LexisNexis database for one year.
What are the technology requirements for the online class?
Students wishing to enroll in the program for Fall 2020 must have a laptop or desktop computer (PC or Apple) with the following:
- Internet Access
- Internet Browser (Google Chrome is recommended, but most will work)
- Email address
- Functioning camera, speakers & microphone (earbuds/headphones recommended)
- Adobe Acrobat Reader (on the Adobe website, you can uncheck the “Optional Offers” and then click the “Download Acrobat Reader” button)
- Zoom (you can download the application, or simply access class through your browser)
- Microsoft Word or other word processing software
Please Note: while you may participate in class sessions using a tablet or phone, you will find that some lessons will be more difficult on the smaller screen size. We HIGHLY recommend you connect to class sessions using a laptop/desktop.
We do not offer formal job placement. However, the program features a career session that covers job search, resume writing, and interview skills. In addition, we will share information on employment opportunities with area legal firms via an email to program participants and graduates.
No. Due to the program schedule and the number of participants involved, we are not able to offer program internships.
No. Certification is a voluntary process and is not a requirement to be employed as a paralegal/legal assistant or to be identified as a paralegal in North Carolina. However, the title “North Carolina Certified Paralegal” or “NCCP” is reserved for those individuals who are certified by the North Carolina State Bar.
The examination is offered twice a year, typically in April and October. We offer an optional study session to all program graduates.
The application filing fee is $125; the testing fee is $50. These costs are not covered in the program tuition.