FAQ About the Program
- What are the paralegal degree options that are offered at Middlesex?
- Is it possible to do the program part-time (days, evenings, online)?
- What is the time frame for completing the program?
- What classes are offered? When are they offered?
- Are classes offered during the summer?
- Can you suggest how many classes/which classes to take simultaneously?
- Does the Certificate at MCC prepare me for Paralegal Certification?
- Does Middlesex Community College have any type of Placement Assistance?
- Are there any events where I could speak to paralegals?
What are the paralegal degree options that are offered at Middlesex?back to top
MCC has 3 paralegal program options, all of which are approved by the American Bar Association:
- Associate in Science, Liberal studies – Paralegal Studies Transfer
- Associate in Science, Liberal studies – Paralegal Studies Career
- Post-graduate Certificate in Paralegal Studies (for someone who already has a degree)
Is it possible to do the program part-time (days, evenings, online)?back to top
Yes. You may take classes in any format and at any location that works for you. We offer both day and evening classes in Lowell and Bedford. However, not all courses are offered at all times on both campuses due to scheduling constraints. A lot of our students work full time, so they will take one or two courses whenever they can or choose a combination of evening and online courses.
The ABA does not approve any paralegal program that is entirely online. At least 10 credit hours must be taken in the traditional, face-to-face format. It is possible to take up to 5 of our paralegal courses in our program entirely online. These are the only online paralegal courses that we offer:
LGL 101 Intro to Law (required, typically offered online Spring, Summer, Fall)
LGL 102 Business Law (elective, typically offered online Spring, Summer Fall)
PAR 102 Litigation (required, typically offered online in the Fall)
PAR 110 Legal Research and Writing I (required, typically offered online Spring only)
PAR 210 Legal Research and Writing II (required, typically offered online Fall only)
What is the time frame for completing the program?back to top
For the Post-graduate Certificate you need to take 27 credits or 9 paralegal courses.
For an Associate's degree you need to complete 60 credits or 20 courses, which include booth paralegal and general education courses such as English and Math.
The length of the program depends on whether you are working full time, part time, or not at all. A student who is not working can take 5 classes each semester and finish the post-graduate certificate in 2 semesters. You could finish an Associate Degree in 4 semesters. However, if you are working, you need to be realistic about your work load…most adults who are working full time take 1-2 classes each semester.
There is no time limit on completing the program.
What classes are offered? When are they offered?back to top
Everyone is required to take: Introduction to Law, Legal Research and Writing I and
II, Litigation, and Computer Applications for Paralegals. Career path students are
also required to take the Internship. The Program also requires legal specialty electives.
We offer classes on both the Bedford and Lowell campuses days and evenings depending on the semester. Intro, Legal Research and Writing I and II, and Litigation are also offered online. You do need to understand that not every elective is offered every semester. We rotate the electives between semesters and campuses. But the required courses are offered in some format every semester (fall and spring.)
Our summer course selection is limited; we generally only offer Introduction to Law
(online), Business Law (online), and occasionally Computer Applications for Paralegals.
This year, we are offering Introduction to Law (online) during the Wintersession, in January 2017.
Our internship course is a requirement for the A.S. degree – Career Option, and an elective for the Transfer option and the Certificate programs. You can do an internship in the courts, the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Center (the Law Center) on our Lowell campus, or at any law office or other legal placement that you find which meets our standards and agrees to supervise you.
Are classes offered during the summer?back to top
During the summer we offer only Intro to Law; Business Law; and sometimes Computer Applications for Paralegals. Depending on the course you might be able to take a course at another college and transfer it back to MCC. In most cases this would have to be from an ABA-approved paralegal program.
Can you suggest how many classes/which classes to take simultaneously?back to top
It depends on whether you are working full time, part time, or not at all. A student who is not working can take 5 courses and finish the post-graduate certificate in 2 semesters or an Associate’s Degree in 4 semesters. But if you are working, you need to be realistic about your work load…most adults working full time take 1 -2 courses.
A good idea is to start your paralegal courses with Intro to Law. Legal Research and Writing I and II should be taken in the Fall and Spring of the same year if possible. They are difficult courses and you should plan to take them when you know you will have time to devote to researching at one of the local law libraries.
You are ready for the Internship once you have taken Legal Research and Writing I.
Does the Certificate at MCC prepare me for Paralegal Certification?back to top
A certificate is not the same thing as certification. There is currently no requirement of certification in any state for paralegals. You can read more about voluntary exams which are offered by NFPA and NALA. Go to www.paralegals.org or www.nala.org
Note that these exams are not required, and paralegals do not have to pass an exam in order to work as a paralegal in any state (the way that attorneys have to pass the bar exam).
The American Bar Association also has a helpful article about paralegal certification: http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/paralegals/ls_prlgs_diff_bet_paralegal_certificate_certification.authcheckdam.pdf
Does Middlesex Community College have any type of Placement Assistance?back to top
MCC has a Career Services office which works with students on interviewing, resumes, and job search skills. The College runs Career fairs, and the Program hosts Paralegal Career Night each semester, which is an opportunity to meet and network with working paralegals. As for placing you into a position, the Program does not. The Department Chair maintains an email list of all alumni, and emails graduates with new jobs that are brought to our attention. We also highly recommend joining and becoming involved with professional paralegal associations as a student member, such as the Mass. Paralegal Association or the Paralegal Association of New Hampshire.
Are there any events where I could speak to paralegals?back to top
Once each semester we have a Panel Discussion, Paralegal Career Night, on the Bedford campus. If you want to speak with some current students, graduates, professors and practicing paralegals in person, it is a good event to attend. Contact the Department Chair for more information about this or other events.