Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a “paralegal” and a “legal assistant”?

It has long been recognized that the terms “paralegal” and “legal assistant” are synonymous terms just as “lawyer” and “attorney”. This is not an opinion of NALA (National Association of Legal Assistants), but a well documented fact throughout the United States – supported by state Supreme Court rules, statutes, ethical opinions, bar associations guidelines, and other similar documents.

How long is the program?

The program consists of 375 hours of legal education and is comprised of twelve courses. Attend classes three nights a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 7:10 – 10:10 P.M.) and complete the program in one year.

Can the program be completed on a part-time basis?

Yes. However, do note, the Certificate Program must be completed within 4 years.

When does the program start?

The program starts two times per year (January and July).

How much is the tuition?

The tuition for the program is $3,660.00. Fees for each course are payable in full at the time of registration for each individual course.

Can I transfer paralegal or other law courses from another academic institution to apply toward successful completion of the Paralegal Certificate Program?

Our program welcomes transfer students and will evaluate and consider waivers of course work.

Does the paralegal program offer placement services?

Yes. Employers contact the program coordinator who posts job advertisements and recommends to students and graduates to seek these opportunities. Also, we network with paralegal associations.

How is the job outlook for the paralegal profession?

The paralegal profession has grown tremendously since its introduction in the 1960’s. The volume of legal activity and litigation continues to increase even when the economy slows down.

The Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, forecasts a faster-than-average growth rate of 17 percent through 2022. The Bureau found that:

Employment of paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow 17 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations.

As law firms try to increase the efficiency of legal services and lower their expenses, they are expected to hire more paralegals and legal assistants. Some law firms are rethinking their project staffing and rebuilding their support staff by hiring paralegals, who may be given some of the administrative tasks previously assigned to legal secretaries.

—U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (December 2014)

Private law firms will continue to be the largest employers of paralegals, but a growing array of other organizations, such as corporate legal departments, insurance companies, real estate and title insurance firms, and banks also hire paralegals. Corporations in particular are expected to increase their in-house legal departments to cut costs. In part because of the range of tasks they can perform, paralegals are also increasingly employed in small and medium-size establishments of all types.

What is the average salary for a paralegal?

Earnings of paralegals vary greatly, depending on education, training, experience, the type and size of employer, and the geographic location of the job. The average current salary reported for paralegals with certificates was about $60,000, certificate holders being compensated at a higher level than any other form of education, including Associate Degree or Bachelor Degree holders. See the most recent 2015 NALA Salary Survey results, Table 4.9. Why? Because attorney employers value paralegal skills, at which certificate programs tend to excel.


For more information, call 561-297-3648 or e-mail rrmagdal@fau.edu.

/sccj/legal-studies/