Paralegal Studies AS

Cerro Coso IWV campus

What Can I Do with This?

The Paralegal Studies AS Degree

  • Prepares students for work in the legal environment as professional paralegals or Legal Document Assistants (LDAs).
  • Trains students in all aspects of the legal system, including the court system, legal research, client interviews and communication, legal ethics, preparation of legal documents, memoranda, and correspondence, and federal and state civil procedures.


The median annual wage for paralegals and legal assistants was $52,920 in May 2020.

Job Outlook

Employment of paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow 12 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations.

About 43,000 openings for paralegals and legal assistants are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Paralegals and Legal Assistants (visited October 05, 2021).

What Can I Become?

With an Associate's degree, students could have higher earning potential than the certificate of achievement alone and can become professional paralegals working under the supervision of an attorney in various industries including:

  • Law firms
  • Local court jurisdictions
  • Government offices
  • Corporate law offices
  • Public and private sectors

Students can also become a Legal Document Assistant (LDA) after proper licensing to work on their own and help others with court documents. LDA's are not authorized to give legal advice, but can provide a valuable service to those in need.

Further Education

After earning a paralegal studies Associate's in Science degree, students can continue their education with a:

With further education, students could advance their career as:

  • Lawyer
  • Clerk of Court
  • Congress
  • FBI
  • Legal Departments of various industries (Forestry, Real Estate, etc.)

What will I learn?

  • To understand and apply the fundamentals of the legal process to assist the attorney in representation of the client.
  • To conduct ethical legal research and use other investigative functions to gather relevant information.
  • To process and draft legal documents, written correspondence, records, and court forms including tracking and maintaining case and court deadlines.
  • To apply ethical principles and rules when performing duties within the legal field.

Program Learning Outcome Assessments

You must recognize the important role you play in the law office or independent certified paralegal role. None of your assignments will be glamorous, but your efforts are essential to the legal process.

—Charles E. Quinlan, Paralegal

What courses do I take?

Note: Some courses within the major may have a required prerequisite. If you feel you have equivalent knowledge and skills to those included in the prerequisite course through professional experience, licensure, or certification, you have the opportunity to submit a Prerequisite Challenge to be reviewed by the faculty chair. For the Prerequisite Challenge to be considered, you must submit documentation/verification to substantiate the basis for the challenge. Please consult a counselor for more information regarding Prerequisite Challenge.


Complete all of the following courses:


Complete a minimum of 9 units from the following:

General Ed Requirements

Complete one of the following general education patterns:

Program Pathways

All classes needed for this degree are available at the following campuses: CC Online

Additionally, some of the general education courses needed to complete this major are available at all our locations.

See Counseling for specific help with enrolling and completing this major.

How can I afford it?

This degree requires 60.0 units and will likely take 4 semesters.

Approximate Total Costs

CA Residents

60.0 units

at $46 per unit

Equals $2,760 in tuition and fees

Plus approximately $3,600* for books and supplies

Total cost $6,360 for 4 semesters


60.0 units

at $375 per unit

Equals $22,500 in tuition and fees

Plus approximately $3,600* for books and supplies

Total cost $26,100 for 4 semesters

*This is an estimate. Actual costs will vary.

Need help? Financial Aid can help with fee waivers and scholarships and other aid. Make sure to fill out your FAFSA every January.