Q. What is the difference between the paralegal certificate and the paralegal associate degree?
A. There is no difference between the paralegal certificate and the paralegal associate degree with respect to the law classes the student must take. Both programs require the same 12 law related courses. The paralegal certificate requires that the candidate already have completed 33 semester hours or 49.5 quarter hours of college level courses with a grade of "C" or better and that 18 of those courses be general education credits spread across three disciplines. In addition, other course requirements mandated by the American Bar Association must be met. The paralegal associate degree is for students who have not completed the pre-requisite hours to enter the paralegal certificate program. The paralegal associate degree students must take 33 hours (11 courses) of general education classes such as English, Psychology, Math etc., in addition to the 12 law related courses.
Q. How do I get into the paralegal certificate program?
A. All students are placed initially in the paralegal associate degree program until they are qualified for the certificate program by the Dean of the Division of Law-Related Studies. To request placement into the certificate program the student must notify the Registrar's Office of this request. The student should also send an email to the Dean; firstname.lastname@example.org notifying him of your request to be considered for the certificate program.
When the Dean has been notified of the student's request, either by the Registrar's Office or the student, or both, he will request of the Registrar a copy of the student's official transcripts from any colleges that the student has provided to Trident Technical College. These transcripts will be evaluated to determine if the student's prior college work satisfies the requirements for entry into the certicate program at Trident Technical College.
Any student who wishes to be considered for entry into the certificate program should have his/her official transcripts verifying any prior college work sent to the Registrar's Office as soon as possible.
Q. What does a paralegal do?
A. Paralegals work under the supervision of attorneys in law offices or in governmental agencies, insurance companies, banks etc. They help research, prepare reports, and perform other assignments the attorneys may delegate to them.
Q. How much do paralegals get paid?
A. The starting salary depends on experience, education, the job market, and special skills of the applicant. The range may be from $18,000-$34,000 depending on the specific job duties and other factors cited above.
Q. Can I study to be a paralegal and then go to law school?
A. Yes, you can. TTC paralegal graduates have continued their education at four year institutions and gone on to law schools around the country. Check with your advisor for specific information related to this career track.
Q. What is the ABA and what does its approval of the TTC paralegal programs mean?
A. The ABA (American Bar Association) is the governing body which oversees the training of lawyers in the practice of law. The ABA has a division which examines paralegal programs "approving" those which satisfy extremely stringent requirements. One benefit of attending an ABA approved paralegal program is that prospective employers in other states understand the significance of the ABA approval even if they are unfamiliar with TTC.
Q. Do I have to attend classes full-time.
A. Classes are designed to accommodate students who want to attend full-time or part-time. Classes are offered both day and night to serve the needs of those students seeking a degree or certificate.
Q. How much does it cost to attend TTC, and are there any scholarships or student loans available?
A. The tuition at TTC is usually about one third the cost of the other four year colleges. See TTC Tuition and Fees for more information. Tuition is based on local, state, and out of state residency. State lottery assistance is available as are numerous scholarships and grants.
Q. How long does it take to get my degree or certificate?
A. It depends on whether you are seeking a degree or certificate and if you are attending full or part time. It usually takes five 15 hour semesters to complete the degree program and four 9 hour semesters to complete the certificate.
Q. What kind of training and experience do the faculty have?
A. All faculty in the paralegal programs are licensed attorneys in South Carolina and most have been teaching in the program for a number of years.
Q. What are the hours of operation for the law library?
A. The hours change each semester to accommodate class schedules. Contact the division office at 574-6890 or the library at 574-6095 for specific times.