Associate in Applied Science

Paralegal, Associate in Applied Science (AAS) Degree

Area of Study
Business and Management
Offered Online
Yes
Program Coordinator

Sherry Sparrowk
(360) 417-6375
ssparrowk@pencol.edu
 

Program Description

Paralegals assist lawyers by investigating facts, preparing legal documents, researching legal precedent, and conducting research to support a legal proceeding, to formulate a defense, or to initiate legal action. The Peninsula College Paralegal degree prepares students for employment as paralegals and legal assistants in all types of organizations, but most will work for law firms, corporate legal departments, and government agencies. Program offers practicum experiences and opportunity for service learning experiences with local employers.

Program Length: 6 Quarters
Program Code: LAPPAAPT

Career Opportunities and Earnings 

There is a growing demand for paralegals. Graduates may find positions with a variety of companies and organizations in the public and private sectors. Wages often begin around $27.67 per hour.

For current employment and wage estimates, please visit and search for the relevant occupational term: bls.gov/oes/.

Program Outcomes

  • Investigate and gather the facts of a case
  • Conduct research on relevant laws, regulations, and legal articles
  • Organize and maintain documents in paper or electronic filing systems
  • Gather and arrange evidence and other legal documents for attorney review and case preparation
  • Write or summarize reports to help lawyers prepare for trials
  • Draft correspondence and legal documents, such as contracts and mortgages
  • Get affidavits and other formal statements that may be used as evidence in court
  • Help lawyers during trials by handling exhibits, taking notes, or reviewing trial transcripts
  • File exhibits, briefs, appeals and other legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
  • Call clients, witnesses, lawyers, and outside vendors to schedule interviews, meetings, and depositions

Program Goals

  • The Peninsula College Paralegal degree prepares students for paralegal and legal assistant jobs
  • Courses are based on recommendations from local employers and industry trends
  • The Peninsula College Paralegal degree is significantly more cost effective than most private and public schools

Program Prerequisites

Students entering this program should be familiar with computer software and hardware in the Windows or MAC environment. College-level skills in English and math (eligibility for courses numbered 100 or higher) are required before registering for the English, math, or applied math courses in this program. Students may need to complete prerequisite coursework.

Approximate Additional Costs

  • AOS textbooks and online learning tools are purchased by subscription. Subscriptions can be purchased for one semester, one year, or two years. If a two-year subscription is purchased, the average cost per AOS class is $27.
  • Software: Office 365 (free for PC students)

Sample Schedule  

This sample schedule is provided as a guide for a full-time student starting in fall quarter whose goal is to earn an AAS. The typical student schedule is based on entering the program during the fall quarter. Students may enter this program in any quarter.

First Quarter (Fall)

Catalog #
Title
Credits
5

Course content focuses on what skills are needed to be successful digital citizens in college and beyond. Students use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create and communicate information. Interactive training and skill-based assessments are completed in a virtual environment; projects are based on real-world business situations. Touch keyboarding skills is recommended. This class may include students from multiple sections. 

Credits: 5

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5

Develop beginning through intermediate word processing skills in Microsoft Word and associated technologies. Create, edit, format documents and tables; use themes and building blocks, illustrate documents with graphics, merge data sources and documents. Interactive training and skill-based assessments are completed in a virtual environment; projects are based on real-world business situations. Integration with cloud computing. Touch keyboarding skills is recommended. This class may include students from multiple sections. 

Credits: 5

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5

A comprehensive introduction to the basic, key areas of paralegal studies.  Develop a comprehensive understanding of the laws in our society, the importance of ethical and professional responsibility, and the skills needed to thrive in the legal environment. This class may include students from multiple sections. 

Credits: 5

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Sub-Total Credits
15

Second Quarter (Winter)

Catalog #
Title
Credits
5

College mathematics used in professional and technical programs. Content includes mathematical modeling and applications employing numerical operations; measurements; geometry; linear and nonlinear equations; exponent, radical, and polynomial operations; functions; formulas; plane analytical geometry with graphing; and an introduction to trigonometry. This class may include students from multiple sections. 

Credits: 5

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5

Develop beginning through intermediate spreadsheet skills in Microsoft Excel and associated technologies. Create, edit, and format spreadsheets; analyze data using formulas, manage workbook data, create and analyze table data. Interactive training and skill-based assessments are completed in a virtual environment; projects are based on real-world business situations. Integration with cloud computing. Touch keyboarding skills is recommended. This class may include students from multiple sections. 

Credits: 5

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5

This course introduces computer hardware and software basics that apply to the legal environment.  Students will learn and apply Microsoft Office components including Teams, Word, Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint, and Outlook, as they are used in the day-to-day life of paralegals.  Students will also explore legal-specific software.  This class may include students from multiple sections. 

Credits: 5

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Sub-Total Credits
15

Third Quarter (Spring)

Catalog #
Title
Credits
5

Develop beginning through intermediate relational database management skills in Microsoft Access and associated technologies. Create tables, relationships, forms, and reports. Interactive training and skill-based assessments are completed in a virtual environment; projects are based on real-world business situations. Integration with cloud computing. Touch keyboarding skills is recommended. This class may include students from multiple sections. 

Credits: 5

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5

Create mixed media presentations using Microsoft PowerPoint and associated technologies. Create and share interactive presentations online with voice, video, inking and screen recording. Interactive training and skill-based assessments are completed in a virtual environment; projects are based on real-world business situations. Integration with cloud computing. Touch keyboarding skills is recommended. This class may include students from multiple sections.

Credits: 5

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5

Apply writing skills to a variety of technical and business applications. Exercises and activities introduce the latest business communication practices. Digital coverage of social media and communication; self-recorded videos demonstrate student verbal communication skills. Touch keyboarding skills is recommended. This class may include students from multiple sections. 

Credits: 5

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Sub-Total Credits
15

Fourth Quarter (Fall)

Catalog #
Title
Credits
5

Substantive criminal law applied to crime prevention and control activities in criminal justice. Examines definitions, classifications, grades, prohibitions, and punishments ascribed to criminal law through statutes and case law. This class may include students from multiple sections. (Elective)

Credits: 5

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5

Learn essential research and writing skills, that include identifying key facts, issue spotting, analysis and counter analysis, traditional and online research, secondary authorities and citating.  Apply writing principles for writing legal briefs and memoranda.  This class may include students from multiple sections. 

Credits: 5

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5

Introductory course to develop the analytical skills necessary to understand major developments in the contemporary world and to provide the basis for more advanced study in the field of world politics. The course deepens students’ understanding of globalization and the need for common solutions to global problems that transcend borders. This class will include students from multiple sections. (Social Sciences, Elective)

Credits: 5

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Sub-Total Credits
15

Fifth Quarter (Winter)

Catalog #
Title
Credits
5

Introduction to the fundamentals of business law and the principles of the American legal system including criminal, tort, and business law, contracts, sales, Uniform Commercial Code, and employment. Familiarity with Washington’s RCWs (Revised Codes of Washington) and WACs (Washington Administrative Codes) emphasized through researching regional business law cases. This class may include students from multiple sections. (Elective)

Credits: 5

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3

Survey of workplace skills, including communication, team building, problem solving, and leadership. Emphasis on concepts of perception, attitude, motivation, and ethics.

Credits: 3

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5

Learn the role of today's real estate paralegal and examine real estate law and transactions.  Topics include contemporary real estate law and legal principles that use practical application, case example, and the latest real estate legal forms.  Examine all areas of transactional real estate-from contracts and brokerage relationships to surveys, title insurance, taxation and real estate finance related to residential and commercial processes in the United States. This class may include students from multiple sections. 

Credits: 5

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5

Learn the legal principles that govern marital and nonmarital families. Principles cover rights and duties as families are created, maintained, and dissolved. Examine the laws that defines relationships, rights, and duties in the formation, ongoing existence, community property, and dissolution of marriage and other family units. This class may include students from multiple sections. 

Credits: 5

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Sub-Total Credits
18

Sixth Quarter (Spring)

Catalog #
Title
Credits
5

Learn the basics of estate planning and bequeathing property to others through wills and trusts. Designed specifically for paralegals, this course familiarizes you with the latest laws and procedures, including the Uniform Probate Code, the new Uniform Electronic Wills Act and the Uniform Partition of Heirs' Property Act. Examine the latest relevant laws, review court procedures, and learn about tax implications and ethical choices. This class may include students from multiple sections. 

Credits: 5

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5

Learn key concepts and practical principles of tort law. Apply tort concepts in current cases. Distinguish how to carefully consider variables in a case and potential resolutions. Realistic situations are designed to improve legal understanding and skills. Identify the principles of tort law needed for a successful career as a paralegal. This class may include students from multiple sections. 

Credits: 5

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5

Introduction to the litigation process and the relationship of litigation to other legal specialties. Learn the civil litigation process and identify different types of civil litigation cases. Topics include commencement of a civil action, pleadings and motions, parties to a case, discovery of evidence, trials, judgments, and appeals, as well as alternatives to litigation. This class may include students from multiple sections. 

Credits: 5

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Sub-Total Credits
15

Your personal educational plan will vary based on many factors including:  

Total Credits
93