Qualified Paralegal Studies Programs
A paralegal studies program must be designated by the Board of Paralegal Certification (the board) as “qualified” to satisfy the educational requirements for certification set forth in Rule .0119(a) of The Plan for Paralegal Certification, 27 NCAC 1G, Section .0100.
Click here for the list that shows all North Carolina paralegal studies programs that have been designated as “qualified” by the board and the date upon which the designation became effective for graduates.
All ABA approved programs are designated by the board as qualified as of the two years prior to ABA approval. For a list of ABA approved programs, click here. Institutional members of American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE) are also designated as qualified as of the year prior to their membership. Here is a list of AAfPE approved programs.
The checklist below sets forth the minimum educational criteria for qualification of programs that are not ABA approved or institutional members of AAfPE. The list contains the ABA requirements that could be reduced to a checklist, but does not include evaluation of the underlying quality of the program. Please be advised that a program’s ability to meet this checklist will not necessarily lead to ABA approval or qualify a program for the purpose of North Carolina State Bar paralegal certification.
All programs must answer the following questions in the affirmative:
- Do all of the legal specialty courses cover substantive law or legal procedures and process developed for paralegals and emphasize practical paralegal skills?
- Does the program offer legal research and writing, and cover electronic resources?
- Does the program offer a course in ethics and professional responsibility?
- Are students required to take at least 10 semester credits, or the equivalent, of classroom instruction (which may include live, real-time, simultaneous broadcast via satellite or webinar)? Any program that can be completed entirely online (without any “real time,” live instruction) will not be designated by the Board of Paralegal Certification as a “qualified paralegal studies program.”
- If some of the legal specialty courses are taught in an alternative format, are the instructors available for feedback and can you identify students submitting homework and taking examinations?
In addition, depending upon the type of degree offered, a program must meet the following requirements:
Associate’s, Bachelor’s, or Master’s Degree in Paralegal Studies from a Qualified Paralegal Studies Program: Must require at least 60 credit hours, or the equivalent, of general education courses and legal specialty courses. Of the 60 credit hours, at least 18 credit hours, or the equivalent, must be legal specialty courses.
Certificate or Diploma Program: Students must already have either an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in any discipline from any college or university that is accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the US Department of Education. The certificate program must include at least 18 credit hours, or the equivalent, of legal specialty courses.