Paralegal Studies Certificate Program

Gavel in front of American flag
Designed to give you the skills needed to assist attorneys in
day-to-day firm management and case preparations.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow 15 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Nationally, the median wage for paralegals and legal assistants is $50,410 per year. Paralegals and legal assistants typically work for law firms, corporate legal departments and government agencies providing support to lawyers.  They perform tasks such as conducting legal research, drafting documents, and maintaining and organizing files.   The Center for Continuing Education offers two different program formats (in person and online) to prepare you to enter this field. 

 

 

The CCE Paralegal Studies Certificate Program was developed in conjunction with local attorneys to meet the needs of local law firms.  All of the in-person courses are taught by attorneys from the local community.  This provides the students with not only high quality instruction but also the opportunity to obtain practical knowledge, learn best practices and develop contacts in this region.  Local law firms regularly approach our program for possible applicants when they are looking for interns or new employees.  Students in the program have the opportunity to develop an internship to meet their particular interests as an elective course.

There are no requirements, including University admission, for entering the paralegal studies certificate program and students can begin their certificate during any term of the year.

Program Format

LENGTH OF PROGRAM:  1 year minimum / 5 year maximum

TERMS: Trimesters

Term 1: August 31st - December 7th, 2020

Term 2: January 11th - April 23rd, 2021

Term 3: May 10th - August 13th, 2021   

CLASS FORMAT/SCHEDULE: Classes meet on weeknights from 6:00 - 8:30 p.m. Each course meets one night a week and there is approximately 5 hours of out-of-class work per course per week which is assessed either through written assignments, projects, presentations, quizzes, exams etc. 

MODE OF INSTRUCTION: Instruction is traditionally offered in person on campus. Due to the pandemic, this is subject to change based upon on public health recommendations. In the event in-person instruction is not possible course will be offered with a live instructor online.

PROGRAM COST:   $369 per course     or     

                             Save over $300 by purchasing the bundle at $2999  

BOOKS:  Books are not included in the program cost but will be required for all classes.  Book costs vary depending on whether it is new or used, rented or purchased etc. We recommend allotting approximately $110/course or $1000.00 for the course. Books and other necessary equipment such as a laptop/computer can be included in a student loan.

 

Curriculum
Courses:
Introduction to the United States Legal System
Legal Research & Writing 
Professional and Ethical Responsibility   
Civil Litigation, Contracts
Corporate/Commercial Law
Criminal Law and Procedure
Torts
Real Estate and Property
 Estate Planning and Probate

 

Students may also choose to complete a supervised internship in addition to the core courses for some practical real world experience.

Currently, there are two scholarship opportunities available for students entering or currently enrolled in the USA Center for Continuing Education's Paralegal Studies Certificate Program.  

Bruce McCall Endowed Memorial Scholarship for Paralegal Studies

The Bruce McCall Endowed Memorial Scholarship for Paralegal Studies was established to assist students entering or enrolled in the USA Special Courses Paralegal Studies Certificate Program. This annually awarded scholarship is an excellent opportunity for students demonstrating high academic achievement to receive financial assistance toward completing program course work.

Bruce McCall Scholarship Application

Taylor-Martino Endowed Scholarship for Paralegal Studies

The Taylor-Martino Endowed Scholarship in Paralegal Studies has been created through a generous contribution of the legal firm Taylor Martino. This scholarship will be awarded to students from Mobile and surrounding counties who demonstrate high academic achievement in previous coursework in the Paralegal Studies Certificate Program. 

Taylor Martino Scholarship Application

In addition, you may want to consider a student/personal loan to cover the cost of your career training. Some options include Sallie Mae and the USA Credit Union.  

The Center for Continuing Education recognizes that people may have various constraints which may make the in-person Paralegal Studies Certificate Program not a viable option.  Accordingly, we have partnered with an online partner to allow students to pursue their dream.  

The Paralegal Online Training Program will prepare you for success in this growing career field. You’ll learn about the U.S. legal system, how to conduct legal research and legal interviews, how to perform legal analyses, and more. Your training will prepare you to become a legal secretary or paralegal and to take the Certified Paralegal certification exam through the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).   

All materials are included in the cost of this program. Upon successfully completing, you will receive a voucher to sit for the Certified Paralegal exam.

Joy Aull, Program Director
(251) 460-7200
jaull@southalabama.edu

INFORMATION ABOUT THE PARALEGAL FIELD: Occupational Outlook Handbook

SALARY INFORMATION: Salaries are influenced by many factors such as location, education, training, certifications and years of experience.  Additional information on paralegal salaries in Mobile, Alabama can be found at:   https://www.salary.com/ research/salary/benchmark/ paralegal-i-salary/mobile-al.

CERTIFIED PARALEGAL EXAM REQUIREMENTS: The requirements to sit for the National Association of Legal Assistants' Certified Paralegal Exam vary based on education and experience.  The USA Paralegal Studies Certificate consists of 945 clock hours.  You can learn more about the requirements for the Certified Paralegal Exam here.