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Colorado Christian University

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Northcentral University

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What Is the Course Curriculum of a Paralegal Certificate Program?

Paralegal certificate programs prepare students for a career in law. Courses in paralegal studies typically cover a variety of issues, such as legal research, motive and reasoning, writing and litigation. Certificate courses in paralegal studies may be competed in less time than it takes for an associate degree.

Course Curriculum of a Paralegal Certificate Program

Paralegals are the behind-the-scenes law experts who help lawyers build cases. These professionals must have a comprehensive understanding of legal theory and terminology and be able to use it to build arguments based on evidence. For these reasons, coursework in paralegal training programs often covers legal research and writing. Students also learn about legal reasoning and state procedures along with corporate and real estate law.

Important Facts About This Field of Study

Certificates Certificate of Completion, Professional Certificate, Graduate Certificate
Concentrations Law areas, such as real estate law, health law, intellectual property, criminal law
Prerequisites Some programs require associate or bachelor's degree prior to admission
Online Availability Both on-campus and online programs available
Median Salary (2018)* $50,940 (for paralegals and legal assistants)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 15% (for paralegals and legal assistants)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Sample Course Curriculum of a Paralegal Certificate Program

Paralegal certificate programs explore legal terminology, the structure and history of the U.S. legal system, litigation and legal precedent. Coursework teaches students how to write legal documents, such as a legal memorandum, affidavit, motion or complaint. Legal encyclopedias, case law, annotations and statutory construction documents may be used in these courses. Students also learn how to answer third-party complaints and write judgment summaries. These courses teach paralegals how to examine facts, create pleading and discovery motions and understand court procedure. Paralegal certificate courses may also cover:

  • Legal Interviewing & Investigation
  • Paralegal Criminal Law
  • Wills and Probate
  • Legal Technology
  • Paralegal Intellectual Property Law

Length of Paralegal Certificate Program

Paralegal certificate programs vary depending on the institution. However, most programs take several months to complete and may offer students opportunities for part-time study or flexible scheduling.