Programs - General Description

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Paralegal Degree

Health and Sciences Division

General Description | Semester Layout  | Course Requirements | Printable Checklist


To provide a comprehensive technical education that prepares graduates for challenging career as a Paralegal who works under the direct supervision of a licensed attorney.


Paralegals assist lawyers in their professional responsibilities. For example, they help lawyers prepare for closings, hearings, trials, and corporate meetings. Paralegals interview clients, investigate the facts of cases, and identify appropriate laws, judicial decisions, legal articles, and other materials that are relevant to assigned cases. They draft written reports that help prepare the legal arguments, draft pleadings and motions to be filed with the court, obtain affidavits, and assist attorneys during trials. A paralegal operates under the direct supervision of the attorney, paralegals must be mindful of prohibitions against lay persons practicing law.

Paralegals are found in all types of organizations, but most are employed by law firms, corporate legal departments, and various government offices. In these organizations, they can work in many different areas of the law, including litigation, personal injury, corporate law, criminal law, employee benefits, intellectual property, labor law, bankruptcy, immigration, family law, and real estate. According to the US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics 2004-05 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median income is approximately $37,950 including bonuses. The projected growth for job opportunities is projected to increase 21-35% through 2012.

Accreditations, Approvals, and Certifications

This program has been approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) (American Bar Association - Standing Committee on Legal Assistants  321 North Clark Street  Chicago,  IL  60610-4714  312.988.5618 ) .

Program Entrance Requirements

Course Level Required Courses
High School


College None
Other Required

Diploma or GED


Approval/Permission Needed -- Application Process


Prior Experience/Observation

Minimum Cumulative GPA  of 2.0


Current CPR Certification

by American Heart Association or American Red Cross

First Aid Certification No

Hepatitis B Immunization

or Signed Informed Refusal or Titer

MMR Immunization or Titer No
Chicken Pox Vaccination or Titer No
Two-step PPD / Chest X-Ray No

Medical Examination

Forms are provided by the college and should be current (within one year) and complete.


Dental Examination

Forms are provided by the college and should be current (within one year) and complete.

Dental health must meet departmental standards.


Technical Standards

Forms are provided by the college and should be current (within one year) and complete.


Negative Drug Screen


Satisfactory Background Check


Other Diplomas, Licensures, etc.


Recent Photograph

Photograph will not be returned.


Academic Standards

Standard Criteria Required

Courses requiring a grade of "C" or better

Any course with one of the following prefixes: ENG, LEG, PSY


Courses that may not be attempted more than twice


Complete or Maintain CPR Certification

by American Heart Association or American Red Cross


Curriculum Completion Requirement


Drug Calculation Competency

Students must demonstrate drug calculation competency each semester in order to progress in curriculum courses.


Dismissal Policy


Re-entry Policy


Graduation Requirements

  • Complete all required courses specified in the curriculum.
  • Fulfill all financial obligations to the College.
  • Achieve a cumulative final GPA of 2.0.
  • Earn at least 25 percent of the total credit hours of his/her curriculum at FDTC.  Exceptions can be made only by the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Program Specific Notes

Credits may be accepted from Paralegal Program that are ABA (American Bar Association) approved. No more than 50% of the transferring student's legal specialty courses may be transferred from another institution. The courses must be substantially similar in substance to that of the course description contained within the College's catalog. However, no legal specialty courses will be transferable into FDTC, regardless of American Bar Association approval status, if the courses were completed by the student more than 5 years from the date of transfer. Students must take LEG 135 (Intro. to Law and Ethics) during the semester that they enter the Paralegal Program. Students will not be allowed to take any course with the LEG prefix after the first semester until successful completion of LEG 135. During the student's first semester of entry into the program, all paralegal students must schedule a typing skills test with the program advisor. Any student who scores below 40 words per minute will be required to successfully complete OST 105 prior to taking LEG 232, 242, and 244. As Legal courses are offered in sequence, all new paralegal students begin the legal courses in the Fall Semester. If students enter the program in Spring or Summer Semesters, they may take required general education courses only.