Program Information

  • Program Level: Associate in Science (A.S.)
  • Area of Interest: Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Location: SCF Bradenton, SCF Lakewood Ranch, SCF Venice

Learn more about SCF's Social and Behavioral Sciences

SCF’s Social and Behavioral Sciences and Human Services programs offer a deep dive into the world of humanity and society. They cover a wide range of subjects, exploring society, identity, and social institutions.

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Home Paralegal/Legal Assisting [2018]

Paralegal/Legal Assisting [2018]

The goal of SCF’s paralegal program is to educate paralegals with an effective balance of legal knowledge and practical skills. Our program prepares the student for work in the legal profession upon graduation and to take the National Legal Assistant Certification Exam. This program is considered to be substantially in compliance with ABA guidelines for paralegal education by the American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE).

The SCF Paralegal/Legal Assisting Program is a voting member of AAfPE and is considered by that organization to be substantially in compliance with American Bar Association (ABA) requirements for paralegal programs. SCF instructors have diverse legal experiences and are highly qualified and dedicated to ensuring that all students attain their maximum potential in their academic endeavors. For more information, see the see the AAfPE Educational Position Statements.

The Paralegal program at State College of Florida is not approved by the American Bar Association (ABA), but as a voting member of the American Association of Paralegal Education (AAfPE), it is considered by that organization to be in substantial compliance with the ABA guidelines for approval of paralegal programs. The courses are taught by attorneys and qualified paralegals. Many of our courses are project-oriented and offer hands-on experience.

AAfPE definition of Paralegals: Paralegals perform substantive and procedural legal work as authorized by law, which work, in the absence of the paralegal, would be performed by an attorney. Paralegals have knowledge of the law gained through education, or education and work experience, which qualifies them to perform legal work. Paralegals adhere to recognized ethical standards and rules of professional responsibility.

Lawyers delegate many tasks to the paralegals who assist them with their work, which may include helping to prepare for real estate closings, interviews, hearings, mediation, trials and corporate meetings, and draft discovery, correspondence, and pleadings.

Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL) Statement: Paralegals work under the supervision of a licensed attorney and are not authorized to practice law in Florida.

Program Information

  • Program Level: Associate in Science (A.S.)
  • Area of Interest: Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Location: SCF Bradenton, SCF Lakewood Ranch, SCF Venice

FAQs | Frequently Asked Questions

What is the expected job growth in the field of Paralegal/Legal Assistant?

Nationally, the expected job growth of Paralegals/Legal Assistants between 2019 and 2029 is 10.5% (much faster than average). Locally, (Manatee and Sarasota Counties) the expected job growth between 2019 and 2029 is estimated to be 20.9% (much larger than the national projection).

How long will it take to finish the Paralegal/Legal Assisting Associate in Science (AS) degree?

The AS degree will take two years to finish if you choose to attend SCF full time. A part time summer course schedule is recommended. Take 15-18 credit hours per semester during the fall and spring semesters.

How much does the program cost?

According to the 2020-21 SCF College Catalog, Florida residents pay $102.48 tuition per semester credit. The number of credits required for the AS degree (without needed math prerequisites) is 64 credits.

$102.48 x 64 = $6,558.72

Textbooks for the paralegal/legal assisting program courses total approximately $2,500. Additional textbooks will be required for the general education courses (Social Science A/B, ENC 1101, SPC 1608 or SPC 1300, Science, and Math). Estimate the TOTAL costs of tuition and textbooks (retail), at approximately $10,000.

What can I do with the degree?

Work in law offices and assist lawyers in helping people with legal problems (lawsuits, contracts, real estate transactions, divorce, estate planning, criminal cases, business startup). Work in government offices (clerk of court, local and federal government). Work in public service (legal aid offices). Work in finance, health care, and insurance offices.

How much money can I expect when I complete the degree?

Entry-level median pay in Manatee and Sarasota County areas is $16.36/hour. Locally (Manatee and Sarasota Counties), the median pay for experienced paralegals/legal assistants is $24.04/hour. Nationally, the median pay for experienced paralegals/legal assistants is $24.87/hour

What do paralegals/legal assistants do?

Investigate and gather the facts of a case. Conduct research on relevant laws, regulations, and legal articles. Organize and maintain documents in paper or electronic filing systems. Gather and arrange evidence and other legal documents for attorney review and case preparation
Write or summarize reports to help lawyers prepare for trials. Draft correspondence and legal documents, such as contracts and mortgages. Get affidavits and other formal statements that may be used as evidence in court
Help lawyers during trials by handling exhibits, taking notes, or reviewing trial transcripts. File exhibits, briefs, appeals and other legal documents with the court or opposing counsel. Communicate with clients, witnesses, lawyers, and outside vendors to schedule interviews, meetings, and depositions.

Where can I get more information?

Suzanne L. Bechtol, PhD
Associate Professor/Program Manager State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota 941-752-5359