Associate in Applied Science

Credits: 98-100  |   Length of Program: 9 quarters

Subject: Paralegal

Paralegal - Associate in Applied Science

The overall program goal of the Paralegal Associate in Applied Science Degree is to prepare students for careers as paralegals or legal assistants working under the supervision of lawyers.  In addition, it is the aim of the program to provide students with knowledge of legal concepts, procedures and essential skills required to serve the needs of a complex legal and business community. The Program emphasizes organizational, interpersonal, analytical and technological skills that support students in their professional pursuits and provides a broad range of skills for positions in a variety of legal settings such as private law firms, government agencies, community action agencies, corporate legal departments, insurance companies, estate and trust departments of large banks, or real estate and title companies. The curriculum consists of a combination of legal practice concentration, law-related, and general education courses. Students seeking a career as a paralegal must be able to write clearly, communicate effectively, be proficient with office computer systems, and possess a high degree of motivation and analytical reasoning capability.

The Paralegal Program promotes ethical awareness and professional responsibility, and encourages development of the Paralegal and LLLT occupations.  

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Career Opportunities

The paralegal field continues as one of the fastest growing professions. The American Bar Association and Washington State Bar Association recognize the benefit of two-year paralegal and Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT) programs. Job opportunities are continuing to increase and expand into new areas. Paralegal positions open in private law firms, corporate legal departments, insurance companies, estate and trust departments of large banks, real estate and title insurance companies, nonprofit private and public organizations and professional trade associations. Job opportunities in the public sector are available in community legal services programs, offices of public defenders, prosecutors, and attorney generals, government agencies and the court system. Earnings vary depending on the size of the community, geographic location, size, and business of the employing agency, and the paralegal’s education, background, and work experience. See Business Government, Public & Nonprofit Administration » Business Administration for more career and employment information.

Length of Program

Because legal courses are offered only in the evening, program completion may require nine quarters.

Admission Requirements

The program begins each Fall quarter.

Legal core courses are offered in the evening. It is recommended that ENGL& 101 and a computer course be taken prior to Fall quarter.

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Program Student Learning Outcomes

At the completion of the Paralegal Program, the successful student will be able to:

  • Exhibit critical thinking skills in analyzing legal processes and problems
  • Analyze, synthesize and communicate information about legal issues and processes in writing and in oral presentations
  • Use technological applications to efficiently produce, manage, and submit accurate legal documents
  • Recognize and apply reason to ethical issues in business, including the legal implications of business practices
  • Develop and practice appropriate and relevant interaction skills across personal, academic and professional settings

In addition, students who complete the program will demonstrate the following skills standards:

  • Engaging in legal and factual investigation and research using traditional and technology-based tools
  • Briefing and analyzing legal issues in writing
  • Understanding the court system and the process of civil litigation from case inception through trial and post-trial matters
  • Using a variety of current computer applications to efficiently produce, manage, and analyze legal documents 
  • Demonstrating effective communication with attorneys, clients, court personnel, and co-workers, orally and in writing.
  • Effectively interviewing clients or witnesses
Ed Plan / Class List
Entry Requirements

Legal core courses are offered in the evening.  It is recommended that ENGL& 101 and a computer course be taken prior to Fall quarter. 


A cumulative GPA of 2.0 is required in order to earn a degree and a “C” or better is required in all LEGL courses.

A “C” or better must also be earned in all prerequisite LEGL courses.


Students are required to participate in the Paralegal Skills Application course which places them in the Paralegal Community Justice Clinic. With approval of the Paralegal Program Lead, this requirement may be waived in lieu of a relevant substantive internship or current relevant substantive work experience.  

General Education Requirements


ENGL&101 English Composition I 5 Credits Search Schedule
Develops writing skills by focusing on strategies and techniques writers use to convey ideas, evaluate information, make a point, and participate in multiple discourse communities. Emphasizes both the process and the product of writing. This course was formerly known as WRIT 101, College Writing I. Prerequisite: Appropriate placement test scores OR appropriate completion of ENGL 095, ENGL 095X, or ENGL 098 OR concurrent enrollment in ENGL 110 with instructor's permission.
CMST&220 Public Speaking 5 Credits Search Schedule
Introduction to oral communication theory and to public speaking/listening practice as applied to a variety of settings and audiences. Students will learn to verbally inform and/or demonstrate and persuade an audience using a variety of speech types. Covers speech preparation, critical listening and thinking, and individual and group presentation techniques. This course was formerly known as SPCH 101, Introduction to Public Speaking. Prerequisite: None.

Any math listed on the AA Quantitative List

Human Relations
Choose one other General Education Elective on AAS Distribution List

Political Science or History
Choose Political Science (other than POLS& 200) or History Course on the AAS Distribution List


Diversity Requirement 
Diversity-designated courses at South Puget Sound Community College provide opportunities for students to develop awareness of their own social and cultural identities, seek understanding of others, and cultivate skills to communicate across cultures and differences. All programs require the completion of a diversity course.


Effective Catalog Year 2020-2021

Additional Information

Special Program Note: Only an attorney or Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT) pursuant to Admission and Practice Rule (APR) 28, can counsel others as to their legal rights or responsibilities.  Non-lawyer assistants act under the supervision of a lawyer in compliance with Washington State Court Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) 5.3, General Rule (GR) 24.  See also, APR 28 and LLLT RPC.

Revision Date: 
May 1, 2020