Skip to content

A Legal Career Without the Law Degree — Become a Paralegal

Are you interested in a career that is always changing and where nothing is routine? Are you detail-orientated and responsible? Do you enjoy completing research?  Check out the Paralegal program at El Centro. Paralegals, or legal assistants, perform multiple tasks to support lawyers, including organizing files, conducting research and drafting documents.

Paralegal Degrees and Certificates Available

El Centro is the only college within Dallas Community Colleges that offers the paralegal associate degree.

Program details include:

Paralegal Associate of Applied Science degree

  • Credit hours: 60
  • Program length: four semesters
  • Estimated cost: $3,540

Note: Costs are estimated and do not include expenses for textbooks or other materials. Don’t live in Dallas County? Your tuition rate may vary. Calculate your tuition.

Paralegal Job Responsibilities:

As a paralegal you may have the following job duties:

  • Conduct research about laws, regulations and legal articles.
  • Draft correspondence and legal documents, such as contracts and mortgages.
  • Help lawyers during trials by handling exhibits, taking notes or reviewing trial transcripts.
  • Call clients, witnesses, lawyers and outside vendors to schedule interviews, meetings and depositions.

Paralegals’ specific duties often vary depending on the area of law in which they work. Here are some examples of types of paralegals and legal assistants:

  1. Corporate paralegals help lawyers prepare companies’ annual financial reports, stock-option plans and employee contracts. They may be required to monitor and review government regulations to ensure everyone is aware of new legal requirements.
  2. Litigation paralegals work more with individuals from the community. They maintain documents from clients, conduct research and coordinate trials, including reserving office space and transporting of documents to the courtroom.

How Do I Become a Paralegal?

There are several paths you can take to become a paralegal. Most paralegals have an associate degree in paralegal studies, and some choose to earn a bachelor’s degree in another field. Keep in mind that some employers may prefer one degree over the other. It’s a great idea to get started at Dallas Community Colleges to see if this career is a good fit for you.

What Is the Job Outlook For Paralegals?

The U.S. Department of Labor predicts paralegal and legal assistant career opportunities to grow by 12% by 2028. Paralegals are also ranked second among CareerOneStop’s top 45 careers with the most job openings and 17th among its 45 fastest-growing occupations through 2024.

Where Can I Work as a Paralegal?

Earning a Paralegal degree gives you the opportunity to work in a wide range of locations, such as:

  • Law firms
  • Private businesses
  • Governmental agencies
  • Nonprofit organizations

I’m Ready to Get Started

Published inCreditPrograms