May 22, 2024  
2015-2016 Course Catalog 
2015-2016 Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Paralegal, AAS

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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 and public service organizations. Paralegals work with the attorney in virtually every area of legal practice. They do not give advice or represent clients, since that would be the actual practice of 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. Course offerings include torts and litigation, family law, business law, probate and income tax. 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.

Interested applicants who hold a prior college degree 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.

For more information about the Paralegal program, please visit our website at

Location: Urban

Students may start any semester.

Program Entry Requirements

  1. Complete an application for admission.
  2. Satisfy the assessment requirement.
  3. Attend any required information/registration session.
  4. Students entering the program need satisfactory computer skills as demonstrated by successful completion of CSC 105  or other evidence to be approved by the program chair.

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. Students must complete a minimum of 12 semester credit hours of legal specialty (PRL) coursework at DMACC in a format where all required seat time is delivered face-to-face.

Required Courses

Semester 4

Total Credits Required to Complete this AAS Degree - 64

Fixed Costs

Tuition……………………………………………………………………………………..$143.00 per credit

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

Varied Costs

  Semester 1 Semester 2 Semester 3 Semester 4 Semester 5
Books (approximate) 255 255 255 255 255

Approximate total for the program: $10,427*

* 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 Program or Career Choice?

  • Some legal classes are offered only at night.
  • Must have good reading and writing skills.
  • Some off-campus work required.
  • Students beginning the program in the Fall or Spring semesters who carry a full schedule can expect to complete the A.S. degree in four semesters.
  • 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 degree and are interested in additional professional training, see the PIB for the Paralegal Certificate.

Nondiscrimination Policy

Des Moines Area Community College shall not engage in or allow discrimination covered by law. This includes harassment based on race, color, national origin, creed, religion, sex (including pregnancy and marital status), sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability and genetic information. Veteran status in educational programs, activities, employment practices, or admission procedures is also included to the extent covered by law. 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 Campus Provost’s office, the Academic Deans’ office, the Judicial Officer, or the EEO/AA Officer, Human Resources. For information about the ADA, the Section 504/ADA Coordinator can be contacted at 515-964-6857. For Title IX questions and concerns contact 515-964-6850.

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