What program options do you offer?
Students in the paralegal program at Rio Salado can choose between a Certificate of Completion (CCL) and an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Paralegal. With multiple program offerings, full and part time schedules, flexible start dates, and a virtual learning model, the paralegal program at Rio Salado is carefully crafted to support every student's needs, lifestyle, and career goals.
Yes, students must complete a small number of prerequisite core classes, like computer usage and English composition, during their first semester; these core classes are designed to lay a solid foundation for the paralegal courses that follow. However, students can also start taking their introductory paralegal courses in the first semester, too.
Yes! Students will take Paralegal Research, Analysis, and Writing I and II early on in the program. Additionally, all of our courses are designed to further develop, refine, and support student research and writing skills throughout the duration of the program.
The paralegal program offers a wide range of course offerings, including classes on ethics, torts, business law, bankruptcy, e-discovery, and family law. No matter what your area of interest, the paralegal program has class options to support your chosen career path. For students who are yet undecided, our course variety will help you explore many different areas of law so that you can see what attracts you most.
Eminently so. Our instructors come from varied and robust legal backgrounds, including many attorneys from a wide range of practice areas, law enforcement, and even judges. Our instructors are subject matter experts and they are passionate about helping our students succeed, both academically and professionally.
In some jurisdictions, yes, and in others, like Arizona, it is not legally required. However, even in states that do not require a degree or license their paralegals, paralegals must typically have a sufficient combination of education and experience to refer to themselves as such, and particularly for their employers to bill clients for time spent by a "paralegal," as opposed to a legal assistant, office staff, or general employee. No matter where you live or intend to work, a certificate or degree from Rio Salado will enhance your professional career and help qualify you as a paralegal.
Absolutely! Most attorneys will openly admit that their paralegals are invaluable members of the legal team. Like medical assistants and other directly adjacent support staff, paralegals are a critical component in client support -- they are not people who just didn't or "couldn't" be lawyers. Paralegals are working professionals with a role distinct from the attorneys they work with. In fact, paralegals are often the "face" of the legal team and are routinely entrusted with core responsibilities.
Paralegals and legal assistants work in a wide variety of fields, not just law offices. Unlike many other academic pursuits, a certificate or degree from a paralegal program like this one enables its graduates to pursue a career in a wide array of professional contexts, including law firms, government offices, political or social organizations, real estate, corporate counsel offices, and even the judiciary.
We do! First, we always encourage students to pursue our optional internship program, which offers for-credit experience working with real-life legal organizations. Additionally, we're often contacted by local employers who are looking for paralegal job candidates, and our graduates enjoy a positive reputation in the larger legal community. Of course, the college also offers career development and job assistance in the Counseling and Career Services Department as well.