Frequently Asked Questions

Note: Paralegals may not provide legal services to the public, except as permitted by law.

1. Is CPCC’s paralegal program approved by the ABA (American Bar Association)?
2. What does “ABA-Approved” mean?
3. What is the difference between the two Paralegal degrees that CPCC offers: the Paralegal Technology Associate in Applied Science (AAS) Degree and the Paralegal Technology Post-Baccalaureate Diploma?
4. How do I enroll in either of the Paralegal Technology Degree Programs?
5. Are any kind of entrance or placement exams required?
6. How long will it take me to complete the program?
7. At which CPCC campus(es) can I attend classes in the Paralegal Program
8. Who teaches the legal specialty (LEX) courses?
9. May I complete the program by attending school part-time?
10. May I complete the program by attending only evening courses?

11. Is it possible to complete the program by attending only weekend classes?
12. May I complete the Program by attending only online classes?
13. How do I know what classes to take each semester?
14. Where can I get a class schedule?
15. How do I register for classes?
16. I completed some of the required non-LEX courses for this Program at another college. Will CPCC give me credit for these toward my paralegal degree?
17. I have taken LEX classes at another school. Can I receive transfer credit for those law classes?

18. How can I get a CPCC catalog?
19. How much do the courses cost?
20. How much do textbooks cost?
21. Who can I talk to regarding financial aid?
22. Will CPCC assist me in finding a job?
23. Can I receive class credit for Paralegal work experience?
24. How do I know who my faculty advisor is?
25. May I take my classes at another North Carolina Community College?
26. What if I just want to take one or two LEX courses, but do not want to get a degree?
27. What if I have a bachelors degree or higher from an institution outside of the United States?
28. How much money do paralegals make?

NOTE: Many of your questions about CPCC policies and procedures or the CPCC Paralegal Program can be answered by visiting either www.cpcc.edu  or www.cpcc.edu/paralegal.


1. Is CPCC’s paralegal program approved by the ABA (American Bar Association)?

Yes.

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2. What does “ABA-Approved” mean?

A Paralegal Program that is approved by the ABA is one which has met the guidelines and standards set by the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Assistants and its Approval Commission. These guidelines relate to all areas of the Paralegal Program including, but not limited to, admissions and enrollment procedures, curriculum and degree requirements, faculty credentials, textbooks and course syllabi, law library requirements, advisory committees, career placement, counseling, internships, and Program Evaluation.

Once a Program has obtained its initial ABA approval by showing that the Program is in compliance with the ABA Guidelines, the Program must submit interim reports to the ABA twice during the next seven years, and re-apply for approval every seven years. In addition, all major changes in program leadership, curriculum, location, or organization must be reported to the ABA to ensure that the Program is in compliance with ABA Guidelines at all times. For more information on what it means to graduate from an ABA Approved program or to see a directory of ABA Approved programs, go to http://apps.americanbar.org/legalservices/paralegals/directory/.

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3. What is the difference between the two Paralegal degrees that CPCC offers: the Paralegal Technology Associate in Applied Science (AAS) Degree and the Paralegal Technology Post-Baccalaureate Diploma?

The Paralegal Technology AAS degree is open to individuals holding at least a high school diploma or its equivalent. In order to complete this degree option, students are required to complete 72 credit hours, which includes college level general education requirements, in addition to substantive and procedural legal specialty coursework. Students who complete this program will receive an Associate in Applied Science in Paralegal Technology. Students who enroll in this program must successfully complete ENG 111 before enrolling in any LEX courses.

The Paralegal Technology Post-Baccalaureate Diploma is open to individuals holding a bachelors degree from an accredited college or university. In order to complete this degree option, students will be required to complete 40 credit hours, which is comprised primarily of legal specialty coursework, but also includes Public Speaking, Introduction to Computers, and a Social/Behavioral Science elective. Students who complete this program will receive a Paralegal Technology Post-Baccalaureate Diploma.

For a complete list of course requirements and suggested course sequence for each of these programs, please go to https://www.cpcc.edu/paralegal/program-information/program-types.htm.

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4. How do I enroll in either of the Paralegal Technology Degree Programs?

For information on how to enroll in either the Paralegal Technology Degree or Diploma Program, please visit the Paralegal Program website at https://www.cpcc.edu/paralegal/10-easy-steps-to-enrollment.

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5. Are any kind of entrance or placement exams required?

Not for LEX courses (the prerequisite is a C or better in ENG 111). However there may be placement tests required for ENG and MAT courses for students in the AAS degree program.

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6. How long will it take me to complete the program?

The time that it takes to complete the program depends entirely on the number of semester hours you complete every semester, which will vary for each individual. For example, if you are enrolled in the Paralegal Technology AAS degree Program and you complete 15 semester hours per semester, you will complete the required 72 semester hours in 5 semesters; if you complete 4 semester hours per semester, you will complete the required 72 semester hours in 18 semesters. There is no requirement that a student complete the program in a set time period. Our students have varied circumstances which allow for some to complete the Program faster than others.

The AAS degree Program is a total of 71-73 hours, and the Diploma Program is a total of 41, therefore if a student attends school full-time (12-14 credits per semester), he or she should be able to complete the AAS degree Program in two years (including one or two summer terms), or the diploma Program in one year (including one summer term). A student will only be able to complete the Program within these time periods if he or she follows the suggested course sequence for each degree option which is listed under the program information on the Paralegal Program website at http://www.cpcc.edu/paralegal/program-information/program-types.htm.

It may be possible to reduce the number of required courses by receiving transfer credit. Upon review of your undergraduate transcripts, a CPCC transcript analyst may give you transfer credit for public speaking, humanities, and/or social science requirements, if the same course was taken at another college. The transcript analyst must first determine that your previous course(s) are the substantial equivalent(s) of those required in the Paralegal Program. If you feel you are eligible for receiving transfer credit for some of the non-LEX courses required for your Paralegal degree, you must specifically request that your transcript be evaluated by the transcript analyst at 704-330-6778 as part of the enrollment process. Your official transcripts must be on file in the Records Department at CPCC before a transcript can be evaluated.

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7. At which CPCC campus(es) can I attend classes in the Paralegal Program

Most LEX classes will be offered on the Cato Campus  (http://www.cpcc.edu/campuses) with a few night classes being offered at Central Campus downtown. Currently, LEX 110 and LEX 280 are also offered on the virtual campus (http://www.cpcc.edu/distance/). Please see number 12 for more information on virtual campus classes.

All LEX faculty offices are on the Cato Campus.

You may take your non-LEX classes on the Cato or any other CPCC campus where they are offered. These offerings and locations may vary from semester to semester so be sure to check the class schedule (http://schedule.cpcc.edu/myschedule/ ) prior to registering to see where classes are held.

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8. Who teaches the legal specialty (LEX) courses?

Currently, our Program employs five full-time faculty members, all of whom are licensed attorneys. Our part-time faculty members include attorneys and paralegals. Names and email addresses for faculty members are located on the Paralegal Program website at http://www.cpcc.edu/paralegal/contact-us. If you are trying to contact a part-time faculty member, please use the contact information provided on the course syllabus.

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9. May I complete the program by attending school part-time?

Yes (see # 6 above).

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10. May I complete the program by attending only evening courses?

Yes, and approximately half of our students are evening students.

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11. Is it possible to complete the program by attending only weekend classes?

No. Currently there are no LEX courses offered on Saturdays and Sundays, however, some of the non-LEX courses are offered on weekends. You will need to check the Class Schedule (http://schedule.cpcc.edu/myschedule/) each term to see which courses will be offered on the weekends.

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12. May I complete the Program by attending only online classes?

No. ABA guidelines prohibit an ABA approved paralegal program from being offered exclusively online and require students to complete at least ten (10) credit hours in the traditional classroom setting. When a student applies for graduation, the Graduation Office will confirm that the student has met this requirement before certifying the student for graduation.

At the time of this writing, only two LEX courses (LEX 110 and LEX 280) are available online. In addition, there are several non-LEX course requirements that are offered online. Again, you will need to check the Virtual Campus section of the Class Schedule (http://schedule.cpcc.edu/myschedule/) each semester to find out which courses will be offered online.

If you would like to find out more about taking an online course and see if it’s right for you, please go to http://www.cpcc.edu/distance/support. If you register for an online course, you must complete an online orientation at this same site.

Although the majority of LEX classes are offered in the traditional classroom, they are web-enhanced classes. This means the class has a strong internet component which faculty utilize for communicating announcements, posting and receiving assignments, and posting class materials. In addition, all LEX classes are taught in technology “smart”, web-enhanced classrooms, and students are required to access the internet on a regular basis.

For more information regarding online classes in the Paralegal Program please go to the “current students” section of the paralegal program website at http://www.cpcc.edu/paralegal/current-students/online-courses.htm.

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13. How do I know what classes to take each semester?

All AAS degree students must complete ENG 111 prior to taking any LEX classes. All Program students should take LEX 110, 120 & 140 during their first semester, if possible.

In order to complete each of the degree programs in a timely fashion, please follow the Suggested Course Sequence for each degree option. The Suggested Course Sequence is available for each degree option at http://www.cpcc.edu/paralegal/current-students. For additional assistance on which classes to take each semester, please contact your faculty advisor.

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14. Where can I get a class schedule?

You should use the online schedule which is usually posted several weeks before registration begins. You can access the online schedule at http://schedule.cpcc.edu/myschedule/.

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15. How do I register for classes?

Once you have enrolled in the Paralegal Program (for information on how to enroll go to http://www.cpcc.edu/paralegal/10-easy-steps-to-enrollment), you are ready to register for classes.

You must register for classes yourself, no one can do it for you. The available dates to register for classes each semester are avilable online at http://www.cpcc.edu/admissions/registration.

You can register for classes:

A. In person at any CPCC Campus, or

B. Online at http://www.cpcc.edu/admissions/registration, or

C. By telephone at 704-330.6970.

For more information on registration, please visit the Reghistration webite at http://www.cpcc.edu/admissions/registration.

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16. I completed some of the required non-LEX courses for this Program at another College. Will CPCC give me credit for these toward my Paralegal degree?

Yes, if they are the same courses as those that are required in the Paralegal Program. This determination will be made by a CPCC Transcript Analyst. Once your official transcripts are on file with the Records Dept. at CPCC, you will need to request that they be evaluated for transfer credit. YOU WILL NOT AUTOMATICALLY BE GIVEN TRANSFER CREDIT. YOU MUST FORMALLY REQUEST THAT YOUR TRANSCRIPT BE EVALUATED IF YOU FEEL YOU HAVE ALREADY COMPLETED SOME OF THE REQUIRED COURSES IN THIS PROGRAM AT ANOTHER SCHOOL. Please be sure your transcripts have been sent to Student Records and give your social security or student ID number when making your request for a transcript evaluation; this can be done at any campus. Questions may be directed to 704-330-6778.

NOTE: Many students are able to receive transfer credit for general education courses (Math, English) if they are enrolling in the Paralegal Technology AAS Degree Program, or for courses such as social science electives, public speaking, or itnroduction to computers if enrolling in the Paralegal Technology Diploma Program. If you are interested in receiving transfer credit for LEX courses, you must contact your faculty advsior. These requests are handled on a case by case basis.

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 17. I have taken LEX courses at another school. Can I receive transfer credit for those classes?

These requests are handled on a cases by case basis by the student's faculty advisor, once official transcrips are on file at CPCC. The course must meet all requirements for a legal specialty course, as required by the ABA (see #2 above), as well as be the substantial equivalent of the course taught in this Program.

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18. How can I get a CPCC catalog?

 You can view or download a current CPCC Catalog at http://www.cpcc.edu/attending/catalog.

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19. How much do the courses cost?

As of June 18, 2012, the tuition rate for curriculum courses is as follows:

NC residents: $ 69.00 per credit hour

Non-NC residents: $ 261.00 per credit hour

Tuition and fees are suvbject to change. For the most current tuition information, check the College's website at http://www1.cpcc.edu/cashiering/tuition. Lab fees, textbooks, and electronic research passwords are an additional cost. The cost of additional class materials varies depending upon the course. 

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20. How much do textbooks cost?

The costs of textbooks vary by course. All required textbooks will be available at the CPCC bookstore located on the campus where the course is taught.

Students enrolled in LEX 121 will be required to purchase a LEXIS ID in addition to their textbook(s) for this class. This ID will cost approximately $40.00. Instructions for purchase of the ID will be given once the class begins.

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21. Who can I talk to regarding financial aid?

Fir information regarding financial aid, contact the Financial Aid office at 704-330-6942 / 6710, or visit the website at http://www.cpcc.edu/financial_aid/. The Paralegal Program cannot provide assistance with financial aid inquiries.

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22. Will CPCC assist me in finding a job?

Career and Placement Counselors at CPCC's Career Services, http://www.cpcc.edu/career/?searchterm=career+services, can assist you in writing your resume and cover letter, learning interviewing skills, and developing a job-seeking strategy. The Center also posts paralegal job announcements on its website. Students will also discuss job seeking strategies, resume writing, and interviewing skills in LEX 110 (Introduction to Paralegal).

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23. Can I receive class credit for Paralegal work experience?

No class credit is awarded for Paralegal work experieence. However, a student enrolled in this program can receive credit towards the LEX elective requirement for working in a paralegal-type job while taking classes. To do this, a student must enroll in CPCC's Coperative Education Program (Co-op). If you are interested in earning credit towards your your degree through co-op, you will need to discuss the eligibility requirements for participating in this program with your faculty advsior. For more information, go to http://www.cpcc.edu/paralegal/current-students/coop-requirements.htm.

In addition, you may be able to test out of certain computer related courses, if you feel that you are already proficient in those areas. All inquiries regarding testing out of a non-LEX course should be directed to the department under which the class is offered. For more information regarding testing out of OST classes, go to http://www.cpcc.edu/paralegal/current-students/exam-credit.htm.

 
24. How do I know who my faculty advisor is?

Faculty Advisors are automatically generated by the computer system. You should be able to determine who your faculty advisor is by viewing your profile through My College. Please contact the Paralegal Department if this information is not reflected on your profile.

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25. May I take my classes at another North Carolina Community College?

Classes taken at another North Carolina Community College will only count towards your Paralegal Degree if they are the exact same classes as those required for this Program. In order to obtain a degree or diploma from CPCC, you must be in compliance with CPCC’s residency requirements which are as follows:

If you are in the Paralegal Technology AAS Degree Program, a minimum of 21 credit hours must be earned at CPCC. Credit by examination, college-level examination program, portfolio evaluation, or any credit in which the student receives a grade of “X” will not be included in the minimum 21 credit hours needed to be earned at CPCC.

If you are in the Paralegal Technology Diploma Program, a minimum of 12 credit hours must be earned at CPCC. Credit by examination, college-level examination program, portfolio evaluation, or any credit in which the student receives a grade of “X” will not be included in the minimum 12 credit hours needed to be earned at CPCC.

Finally, if you choose to take a course at another college, please be sure to request that an official copy of your transcript be sent to CPCC Records upon completion of your coursework at the other school. You will not be able to receive credit for those non-CPCC classes until the official transcript is on file.

If you choose to take an LEX course at another school, it is strongly recommended that you discuss this with your faculty advisor before enrolling in the course. You need to make sure that the Paralegal Program will accept a non-CPCC LEX course.

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26. What if I just want to take one or two LEX courses, but do not want to get a degree?

Many students fall into this category, and this is perfectly acceptable. However, you will still need to satisfy the prerequisites for registering for an LEX course. Those prerequisites are met if you 1) have an official copy of your undergraduate transcript on file with CPCC, OR 2) complete ENG 111 with a C or better (NOTE: if you have taken ENG 111 at another college, please have your official transcript sent to CPCC’s Student Records department and evaluated for transfer credit).

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27. What if I have a bachelors degree or higher from an institution outside of the United States?

If you have a bachelors degree or higher from an institution outside of the United States on file with CPCC Records Department, you are not automatically eligible to enroll in the Paralegal Technology Diploma Program. Prior to enrolling in either of the Paralegal Program Degree options, you will need to contact someone in the International Programs and Services Department (704.330.6172) and meet the English proficiency requirements of that Department. You will also need to have your foreign transcript evaluated (704-330-6778) to determine it’s equivalent degree in the United States. Even if your foreign degree is the equivalent of a bachelors degree in the U.S., you may still need to take ENG 111 before you can enroll in any LEX classes, if you have not taken the equivalent of ENG 111 in your country. (The transcript analyst's office will have to make this determination).

If your foreign transcript is not the equivalent of a bachelors degree or higher in the U.S., you will be eligible for the AAS degree program and must complete ENG 111, with a C or better, prior to registering for any LEX classes.


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28. How much money do paralegals make?

Paralegal salaries vary widely depending on a number of factors. Geographic location, size and type of law office, field of law, private vs. public employment, prior work experience, whether the paralegal has a bachelors degree, etc.

The National Association of Legal Assistants has published the results of a national salary survey. These results can be accessed online at http://www.nala.org/survey.aspx.

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*This information is subject to change without notice.

 

 

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