The Legal Education Department is ready to help you pursue your passion, accomplish your career goals, and make a difference in people’s lives.  Our graduates work in law offices, government agencies, corporations, banks, and other professional settings.

Our instructional team is comprised of seasoned attorneys and we challenge students with a curriculum that balances critical thinking and practical application.  Students use the latest research tools and industry specific applications to acquire the critical technical proficiencies employers demand.

Our graduates are trained to provide a comprehensive range of legal services under the supervision of an attorney including assisting in courtrooms, pretrial investigations, conducting legal research, drafting legal documents, and managing law offices.

If you like helping others and you want the ability to impact people’s lives, you owe it to yourself to consider one of the top service oriented jobs in the nation. Now is your time and we are ready to help prepare you for a successful and rewarding career in a growing profession.

A Rewarding Career

Many experts agree that one of the most important aspects of a rewarding career is finding an occupation that is more of a calling than a choice and helping people is a major contributor to job satisfaction.  US News and World Report uses metrics like salary, job growth, stress, and work life balance to identify and rank rewarding careers.  Our profession consistently ranks among the most rewarding of all social service careers.  If you enjoy interacting with others on a daily basis and crave the ability to affect lives in a significant manner, then a career as a Paralegal is worth looking into.

A Growing Profession

The U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-2017 Edition had the following to say about the Paralegal/Legal Assistant field, “As law firms try to increase the efficiency of legal services and reduce their costs, they are expected to hire more paralegals and legal assistants.  In these cases, paralegals and legal assistants can take on a “hybrid” role within the firm, performing not only traditional paralegal duties but also some of the tasks previously assigned to legal secretaries or other legal support workers… Although law firms will continue to be the largest employers of paralegals, many large corporations are increasing their in-house legal departments to cut costs.  For many companies, the high cost of outside counsel makes it more economical to have an in-house legal department.  This will lead to an increase in the demand for legal workers in a variety of settings, such as finance and insurance firms, consulting firms, and healthcare providers.”  Our Paralegal Technology Associate in Applied Science degree qualifies you to work in all 50 states and to take the North Carolina and other national voluntary certification exams.

Real Earning Potential

Paralegals are an indispensable part of the legal system, providing support to attorneys, law offices, government agencies, and corporations by performing research, investigative work, and preparing legal documents.  The legal system relies on Paralegals for support in every area of the law.  This translates into the opportunity for real earning potential.  According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the national median annual wages for Paralegals and Legal Assistants in 2019 was $51,740 and well above the median for the total of all occupations.  There are many different factors that go into determining how much you will earn in any career such as where you work, what type of business you work in, and your experience, training, and education.

The Right Skills

The paralegal field is projected to grow in the coming years, but the job market will be competitive.  Our department mission is centered around actively developing legal professionals with the core job competencies necessary to successfully compete in today’s job market.  Our instructors actively engage students in developing the core legal knowledge, skills, and abilities – paralegal job competencies needed to be competitive.  We’ve made important improvements including more and better training in writing, technology, and communication.  We believe that a focus on the experiential dimensions of legal education should be integrated and strategically sequenced with rigorous courses from day one to graduation providing students with increasing levels of responsibility for real legal work at each stage of their development.

No one can promise you a job when you leave school, but we are committed to providing our students with the opportunity to develop the core legal knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to compete and succeed in today’s competitive job market. If you’re willing to put in the time and the effort, the Legal Education Department will help give you a chance for a rewarding career in a growing field with real earning potential.

Attorney Beth Faleris, Law Instructor

Assistant District Attorney Michael Maultsby, Law Instructor

Associate Degree, Diploma, and Certificate Programs of Study

Whether you choose to complete the program seated or online, our department mission of actively developing legal professionals with the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to successfully compete in today’s job market remains the same.  We understand that education and professional training can’t be “one size fits all”.  As such, we’ve developed programs that are flexible, relevant, and appropriate no matter what your professional goals or time limitations.  Our experienced instructors are intent on engaging students whether they are just entering the job market or trying to hone and develop their professional skills.  In either case, Coastal Carolina Community College will give you the opportunity to develop the most important job competencies and meet your career aspirations.  If you’re willing to put in the time and the effort, the Legal Education Department can play an important role as you work towards a rewarding career in a growing field with real earning potential.

Paralegal Technology Associate in Applied Science Degree

Our Associate degree level program is the most comprehensive of our offerings.  The five-semester length and flexible formats were designed for those aspiring legal professionals who desire the maximum amount of education and professional development we can offer and qualifies you to sit for both the North Carolina Certified Paralegal Exam as well as many other national certifications.  The Associate degree program offers training in civil law, criminal law, civil litigation, law office management and technology, legal research and writing, ethics and professionalism, commercial law, bankruptcy law, corporate law, family law, estate planning, workers’ compensation law, and other areas critical to your success as a legal professional.  More information can be found in the latest version of the College Catalog.

Paralegal Technology Diploma

Our diploma level program is designed to assist both entry-level and more experienced legal professionals.  The three-semester length and flexible formats accommodate entry-level students as well as those who are already in the legal profession who desire additional education and professional development.  All of the courses included in the diploma program are also included in both our certificate and our Associate degree and therefore are fully transferable to those programs should you choose to continue your professional education and training.  The diploma level program offers training in civil law, criminal law, civil litigation, law office management and technology, legal research and writing, ethics and professionalism, and other areas critical to your success as a legal professional.  More information can be found in the latest version of the College Catalog.

Paralegal Technology Certificates

Our certificate programs are designed to assist both entry level and more experienced legal professionals.  The shorter time requirements and flexible formats lend themselves to those looking to gain the basic skills important to succeeding in the professional legal office as well as those who desire additional education and increased credentialing in sought after practice areas.  All of the courses included in the certificate programs are also included in both our diploma and our Associate degree and therefore are fully transferable to those advanced programs should you choose to continue your professional education and training.

Legal Secretary Certificate

The Legal Secretary Certificate program is designed as an introduction to the legal profession and the role that paralegals and legal assistants play in our legal system.  This program can be completed in just two semesters and includes classes such as Introduction to Paralegal Study, Law Office Management & Technology, Legal Research & Writing, Office Editing, Ethics and Professionalism, and Civil Litigation.  More information can be found in the latest version of the College Catalog.

Corporate Law Legal Assistant Certificate

The Corporate Law Legal Assistant Certificate program is designed to introduce the student to those topics important to organizations which practice business and corporate law.  This program includes training in the law of corporations and other business entities, commercial transactions and working with Uniform Commercial Code, as well as other classes important to your success.  More information can be found in the latest version of the College Catalog.

Real Property Legal Assistant Certificate

The Real Property Legal Assistant Certificate program is designed to introduce the student to those topics important to the practice areas of law involving real property.  This program includes Real Property I & II, Legal Research & Writing, and other classes important to your success.  More information can be found in the latest version of the College Catalog.

Litigation Legal Assistant Certificate

The Litigation Legal Assistant Certificate program is designed to introduce the student to those topics important to law firms and other organizations with litigation focused practices.  This program includes training in the areas of civil and criminal litigation, investigations and trial preparation, and legal research and writing.  More information can be found in the latest version of the College Catalog.

Seated and Online Program Formats

Both our seated and online programs provide training to foster career growth and the opportunity to boost earning potential.  The curricula reflect the requirements of law firms, government agencies, corporations, and associations that offer employment opportunities.  We focus on development of your written and oral communication skills, task management, and training with important technology.  All course offerings balance the study of substantive law with practical and procedural skills and give our students the opportunity to develop the job competencies that are essential to being a productive member of any legal team.

Seated Programs

The Legal Education Department offers all certificates, as well as our diploma and Associate degree programs in a traditional classroom environment.  Students follow the coursework outlined in the College Catalog for their chosen certificate, diploma, or Associate degree and attend class each week throughout the year.

Online Programs

The Legal Education Department offers all certificates, as well as our diploma and Associates degree programs online.  Our online programs allow you to complete your studies and enter the paralegal field with confidence and our learning format allows you to attend classes while still maintaining your busy work or personal schedule during the week.  You will have a chance to interact with your instructors and fellow students using discussion boards, journaling, chat sessions, and recorded materials.

Students will attend online classes and have required assignments each week on the same semester schedules as our seated programs. Students can expect to spend a minimum of two hours outside of class for each hour in class for their reading and assignment completion each week.

Note: The online programs result in the same certificate, diploma, or degree as the seated programs.  However, not all online programs qualify graduates to sit for voluntary state or national certification examinations.  Please contact the Paralegal Technology Department Head at 910.938.6365 or contact the certifying organization for more information.

North Carolina State Bar

The North Carolina State Bar has designated Coastal Carolina Community College’s seated Paralegal Technology Associate in Applied Science degree program as a qualified paralegal studies program.  Upon completion of the seated Paralegal Technology Associate in Applied Science degree program, you will be eligible to sit for the North Carolina State Bar Paralegal Certification Exam.  For more information, see North Carolina Paralegal Certification and the North Carolina Paralegal Association website.

The Paralegal Technology Associate in Applied Science degree is the only program with this certification.  Neither the online Paralegal Technology Associate in Applied Science degree nor the any of the seated or online certificate or diploma programs qualify students to take the North Carolina State Bar Paralegal Certification Exam.

SACSCOC Accreditation

Coastal Carolina Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associates degrees, diplomas, and certificates.  Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4907 or call 404.679.4500 for questions about the accreditation of Coastal Carolina Community College.

National Associations

Other national associations, including the National Association of Legal Assistants, have designated graduates of Coastal Carolina Community College’s programs as eligible to sit for the certification exams.  For more information on specific qualifications, contact the Legal Education Department at 910.938.6365.

Legal Education FAQs

What is the best way to learn more about the Coastal Carolina Community College Legal Education Department’s Programs?
There’s a wealth of information on this website.  Many of your questions can be answered by paging through the information we’ve provided online. However, we encourage you to contact us anytime you can’t find an answer or just want to talk more about what we offer.  The Department Head for the Paralegal Technology programs can be reached at 910.938.6365.
What is a paralegal?
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.
As a paralegal, can I practice law or give legal advice?
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.
How do the seated and online program formats differ?
Both formats will give you the opportunity to prepare for a career in the legal profession.  However, it is important to keep in mind that not all online programs will qualify students to sit for voluntary certification exams.  Should you have additional questions about the two programs, please contact us.
What are career opportunities for paralegals?
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.  We suggest that you do your own research.  A good place to start is the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
What is the salary range for paralegals?
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 bigger cities.  We suggest that you do your own research.  A good place to start is the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
What is the minimum education requirement to complete the program?
Coastal Carolina Community College maintains an open door admissions policy for all applicants.  Coastal Carolina Community College (Coastal), in compliance with and as required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and its implementing regulations (Title IX) and other civil rights laws, as well as in furtherance of its own values as a higher education institution, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, disability, age, religion, veteran status, or any other characteristic or status protected by applicable local, state, or federal law in admission, treatment, or access to, or employment in, its programs and activities..  The full admissions policy can be found in the College Catalog.
Are financial aid or scholarships available?
The College provides a number of financial assistance programs, ensuring educational opportunities for individual students.  Grants, scholarships, and employment opportunities are included in such programs.  Applications for state, institutional, and private programs vary.  Contact the Financial Aid Office (Student Center Building), the College Foundation Office (James L. Henderson, Jr. Administration Building), or the Human Services Development Office (Kenneth B. Hurst Continuing Education Building) for specific information.  Visit the Financial Aid and Scholarships page for more information.
Is career counseling included?
The Career Center at Coastal Carolina Community College is a full service, comprehensive career center focused on teaching, guiding, and empowering our students, allowing them to be in control of their career development.  Visit the Career Center page for more information.
Are internships available or required?
Internships are available and are a required capstone course in our Paralegal Technology Associate in Applied Science degree.  Internships are available on a case-by-case basis in the other program offerings.
Where can I find more information about paralegal certification in North Carolina?
Go to the official website of the North Carolina State Bar, Board of Paralegal CertificationNote: Currently, the online Paralegal Associate in Applied Science degree program does not qualify for the North Carolina Bar Association certification.
Do I have to be certified to work as a paralegal?
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 and most other states.  However, the title “North Carolina Certified Paralegal” or “NCCP” and other certification indicators are reserved for those individuals who are certified by the North Carolina State Bar or other organizations.