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What's the Curriculum of an Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies?

An Associate of Applied Science degree program in paralegal studies prepares the graduate for entry-level employment in law offices, public agencies and corporate settings. Enrolling in a degree program approved by the American Bar Association enhances the graduate's chances of employment. This article discusses the curriculum of an Associate of Applied Science degree in paralegal studies.

Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies Overview

An Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies degree program prepares a student to understand basic legal principles necessary to function properly in a law office, public agency or a corporate environment. Earning this degree prepares the graduate for entry-level positions. The program confers practical skills in litigation, legal research, family law and other specialized areas. The program also trains students to prepare tax returns or conduct legal research. Although it's not required, students should complete courses approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). Courses approved by the ABA are viewed by employers as a plus when considering an applicant for an entry-level position.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Work Environment Office setting
Similar Occupations Administrative Assistant, Lawyer
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

Typical Curriculum

Although courses vary by school, core courses typically include introductory studies in law, criminal litigation, personal injury and property damage, methods of legal research, civil procedures, business communications and ethics. The curriculum provides the skills to perform paralegal work in a job that requires knowledge of the principles and procedures of law.

Skills Learned

An Associate of Applied Science degree program in paralegal studies prepares the graduate with the skills and knowledge to assist lawyers in trials, hearings and corporate meetings. The graduate will be able to:

  • Draft legal documents
  • Conduct legal research
  • Draft pleadings and motions