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.

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?

To view to variants of the two program formats, the classroom and the online programs, please read the information included on our website. 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. The College serves students regardless of race, creed, sex, national origin, age, or physical handicap. Selective placement of individual students in the different programs of study within the College is determined by the Admissions Office, within the guidelines established by the State Board of Community Colleges and the North Carolina Community College System for each program of study and course offered. 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), the College Foundation Office (James L. Henderson, Jr. Administration Building), or the Human Services Office (Kenneth B. Hurst Continuing Education Building) for specific information. Visit the Financial Aid & 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 Associates 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 Certification. Note: Currently, the online Paralegal Associates in Applied Science Degree program do 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.