Jul 25, 2024  
2024-2025 Course Catalog 
    
2024-2025 Course Catalog

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Paralegal, Certificate

Location(s): Urban/Des Moines



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The Paralegal Certificate is for students with a Bachelor’s Degree, Associate in Science or Associate in Arts Degree who wish to work as a paralegal.  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 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.  These objectives are 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 legal specialty courses.  All students complete an internship under the supervision of an attorney, during which they use the skills and apply the knowledge gained in the classroom.

The Program Chairperson and the program’s Academic Advisor are available to assist students with educational and career planning.

Graduates of the Paralegal Certificate 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


(For students starting the program in a semester other than Fall, please visit with an advisor or the program chair to assist with proper course sequencing.)

Program Entry Requirements


1. Successful completion of  ENG 105  with a C or better, ENG 106  and SPC 101 .

2. Students must submit official transcripts showing completion of a baccalaureate or an academic associate degree in Associate in Arts (AA) or Associate in Science (AS). Students with associate degrees in Associate in Applied Science (AAS), or Associate of Applied Arts (AAA) or Associate in General Studies (AGS) do not necessarily meet the requirement.

Graduation Requirements


To earn a Paralegal certificate, a student must complete all coursework as prescribed, maintain a 2.0 grade point average and earn a grade of “C” or higher in each PRL course. Students must complete a minimum of 12 semester credit hours of legal specialty (PRL) course work 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 2


Semester 3


Total Credits Required to Complete this Certificate - 26*


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

*Program total credits do not include 3 entry requirement credits.

These credits are applicable to the AAS degree in Paralegal .

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
Books (approximate) 255 255 255

Approximate total cost of this certificate: $5,783-$6,169**

**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 Specialist Certificate?


  • Legal classes are predominately offered at night.
  • Must have good reading and writing skills.
  • A full time student may be able to complete the certificate program in three semesters of enrollment 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.

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 the principles of research and document preparation to meet 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 to the workplace environment

AY2023

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
Manufacturing
Transportation & Logistics

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

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