Jul 21, 2024  
2024-2025 Course Catalog 
2024-2025 Course Catalog


Paralegal, AAS

Location(s): Urban/Des Moines

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Paralegals perform a variety of legal tasks under the supervision of an attorney. Paralegals are also known as legal assistants. They work for attorneys in private practice, state agencies, public service organizations, and corporations. Paralegals work with the attorney in virtually every area of legal practice. Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law.

Our objective is to educate students to become paralegals who are capable of performing a variety of legal tasks. Graduates of the program should be able to provide a broad spectrum of services needed by attorneys. This objective is met by providing intensive and practical instruction by attorneys with experience and expertise in their fields of instruction. This program is approved by the American Bar Association.

Students in the program complete general education core requirements and legal specialty courses. All students are required to complete an internship under the supervision of an attorney, during which they use the skills and apply the knowledge gained in the classroom.

Interested applicants who hold a prior college Bachelor’s, Associate of Arts, and /or Associate of Science degree(s) may seek the Paralegal Certificate.

A program chairperson and a program counselor are available to assist students with educational and career planning.

Graduates of the Paralegal program are employed in private law firms, the courts, public agencies, and legal departments of large companies. Additionally, some students work in law-related jobs such as investigation, collections, and bank trust departments.

Program Details

Pathway: Public & Community Services

More information on this Pathway.

Students may start any semester

Graduation Requirements

To earn a Paralegal AAS degree, a student must complete the standard core requirements for the degree (plus the Paralegal required courses and options), maintain a 2.0 grade point average and earn a grade of “C” or higher in each PRL course and a C or better in ENG 105  . Students must complete a minimum of 12 semester credit hours of legal specialty (PRL) coursework at DMACC in formats where all required seat time is delivered face-to-face or Virtual Real Class Time. All students must successfully complete an approved internship under the supervision of an attorney.

Semester 1

Semester 3

Semester 4

Semester 5

Total Credits Required to Complete this AAS Degree - 64*

*Total credits are calculated using the least number of credits needed to satisfy the option requirements.

Fixed Costs

Tuition……………………………………………………………………………………..$193.00 per credit

The costs for each program are estimates and subject to change.

Varied Costs

Costs Semester 1 Semester 2 Semester 3 Semester 4 Semester 5
Books (approx) 255 255 255 255 255

Approximate total for the program: $13,627**

**Program entry requirements are not included in the total approximate cost.

What Kind of Work Will You Do?

  • Interview clients and witnesses.
  • Draft various legal documents.
  • Investigate fact situations.
  • Review and organize material for cases.
  • Research legal questions.
  • Search public records.
  • Assist with tax returns.
  • Prepare probate inventories.

What Skills and Abilities Will You Need?

  • Good reading skills.
  • Strong technical writing skills.
  • Critical thinking skills.
  • Ability to analyze and synthesize legal materials.
  • Strong academic background.
  • Ability to work independently with a minimum of supervision.
  • Self-discipline and emotional stamina under stress.
  • Interpersonal communication skills.

What Else Should I Consider about this Degree program?

  • Legal classes are predominately offered at night.
  • Must have good reading and writing skills.
  • Some off-campus work required.
  • A full-time student may be able to complete the AAS degree in two years, depending on when he/she enrolls.
  • Some courses require out-of-class work that must be done in a law library.
  • Class attendance is important.
  • Heavy homework load in some classes.
  • If you already hold a college Bachelor’s, Associate of Arts, and/or Associate of Science degree(s)  and are interested in additional professional paralegal training, see the Paralegal Certificate .

Program Competencies

  1. Evaluate the importance of a legal assistant to the law office, corporate legal department, or government agency
  2. Develop time management techniques
  3. Demonstrate organization skills
  4. Perform effective oral and written communication skills
  5. Prove knowledge of substantive law principles
  6. Apply principles of research and document preparation to the needs of the workplace
  7. Describe steps of the litigation process
  8. Demonstrate an ability to perform as a team member
  9. Identify ethical constraints
  10. Transfer legal training into the workplace environment


Nondiscrimination Statement

Des Moines Area Community College shall not engage in nor allow discrimination covered by law against any person, group or organization. This includes in its programs, activities, employment practices, or hiring practices, and harassment or discrimination based on race, color, national origin, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, genetic information (in employment) and actual or potential parental, family or marital status. Veteran status in educational programs, activities, employment practices, or admission procedures is also included to the extent covered by law. Lack of English language proficiency will not be a barrier to admission and participation in career and technical education programs.

Individuals who believe they have been discriminated against may file a complaint through the College Discrimination Complaint Procedure. Complaint forms may be obtained from the Executive Campus Dean’s office, the Executive Academic Deans’ office, the Judicial Officer, or the EEO/AA Officer, Human Resources. ADA questions and concerns may be directed to the Section 504/ADA Coordinator at 2006 S. Ankeny Blvd, Bldg 6, Ankeny, IA 50023, phone 515/964-6857, dso@dmacc.edu. Title IX questions and concerns may be directed to the Title IX Coordinator at 2006 S. Ankeny Blvd, Bldg 1, Ankeny, IA 50023, phone 515/964-6216, Title9@dmacc.edu. Questions or complaints about this policy may be directed to the Director of the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, John C. Kluczysnki Federal Building, 230 S. Dearborn Street, 37th Floor, Chicago, IL 60604-7204, phone 312/730-1560, fax 312/730-1576, TDD 800-877-8339 Email OCR.Chicago@ed.gov.

DMACC offers career and technical programs in the following areas of study:
Agriculture, Natural and Environmental Science
Architecture, Engineering, and Construction
Arts, Design, and Visual Communication
Business, Management, and Marketing
Education, Public, and Human Services
Health Science
Hospitality and Culinary
Information Technology
Transportation & Logistics

Entrance requirements for specific programs can be found at Academic Pathway website.(2024)

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