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Legal Assistant


Legal assistant talking to attorneys and paralegals

Start your career in law with a Certificate in Legal Studies

Earning the TCC credential qualifies you for entry-level positions in general practice law firms or as a legal assistant

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U.S. News & World Report ranks paralegal in the top 20 social service careers and in the top 100 of all careers.

Tidewater Community College’s Certificate in Legal Assistant prepares you to work under the supervision of an attorney. You can specialize in general practice, litigation or a combination of both.

As a paralegal, you’ll conduct research, prepare documents and perform substantive legal tasks that benefit the client. Earning the TCC certificate qualifies you for entry-level positions in general practice law firms or as a legal assistant with a trial-work concentration dependent upon the elective you choose.

If you’re currently employed as a paralegal in general practice, consider upgrading your skills with our certificate.

Program note: Legal assistants and paralegals cannot give legal advice to members of the public. Most jurisdictions impose significant penalties for the unauthorized practice of law. This program is not intended to give legal advice to students or to educate or train students to give legal advice or otherwise engage in the unauthorized practice of law.

Go further

Apply all the credits from this program to TCC's Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies.

Certify your skills

Earn valuable industry credentials! Course work qualifies students to sit for one or more exams administered by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations and National Association of Legal Assistants

View program curriculum
What will this program cost?

TCC's Certificate in Legal Assistant consists of 3 semesters of part-time study, with classes held mainly on the Virginia Beach Campus.

Estimated Program Cost*:
35 credits x $185.35 per credit = $6,487.25 (not including textbooks and supplies)
*Based on Fall 2018 in-state tuition. Your actual cost may differ.

Where can you go?

Continue your education by applying your credits toward TCC’s Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies.

Is this program for you?

Yes, if you:

  • are able to meet deadlines
  • are detail-oriented
  • are disciplined
  • love to do research
What is the difference between earning a certificate and being certified?

A student can graduate from Tidewater Community College with a Legal Assistant certificate. This student has earned a certificate or has become certificated, but is not a certified legal assistant.

The only way to become certified is to take one of two exams offered by two different national paralegal organizations.

Many paralegals and legal assistants are choosing to take one of these exams in order to enhance their resumes and job seeking opportunities. For more information on the certification exams:

National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), also known as the “Certified Paralegal Exam”

National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), also known as the Paralegal CORE Competency Exam (PCCE) and the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (PACE)

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Veterans, transitioning military, spouses and dependents: TCC’s Center for Military and Veterans Education provides academic guidance and help in maximizing your GI Bill® and other educational benefits.

Learn more about the CMVE

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Tuition assistance such as financial aid, scholarships, work-study, grants and loans can help you save money and reduce college debt.

Learn more about paying for college

Just 35 credits! Complete this program in as few as 3 semesters.

Every legal administration class taught by a member of the legal profession

Program guided by an advisory committee of local judges, lawyers and paralegals


Alum learned real-world skills in TCC's paralegal program


Krista Fulton works as a lawyer for the City of Norfolk by day, and at night, she teaches at TCC


Prepare for exams offered by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations and National Association of Legal Assistants

* Salary estimate is provided for comparison purposes only and doesn’t constitute a promise of employment or earnings. Salaries were calculated based on related job codes and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.