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Paralegal Studies

Associate of Applied Science

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You be the judge: TCC’s Paralegal Studies program might be for you

Graduates are qualified to sit for the Certified Paralegal Exam

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If you have a passion for the law and don’t want to accrue massive debt in law school, consider becoming a paralegal.

Tidewater Community College’s Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies prepares you to work under the supervision of an attorney, where you’ll be prepared to work in general practice and litigation.

U.S. News and World Report ranks paralegal in the top 20 social service careers and in the top 100 of all careers. As a paralegal, you’ll conduct research, prepare documents and perform substantive legal tasks that benefit the client. Paralegals work in law offices, inside courtrooms and in other government and business settings.

The Paralegal Studies program is designed to prepare professional and ethical paralegals to work in diverse settings. Graduates will be able to competently assist attorneys in legal research, drafting of legal documents, and trial preparation in a variety of practice areas dependent upon selection of electives within the program.

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. 

TCC’s Paralegal Studies program is one of a select group of programs approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).

Certify your skills

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

View program curriculum
What does this program cost?

You can complete a 2-year associate degree for less than the cost of 1 year at a four-year college or university.

TCC's Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies consists of 4 semesters of full-time study, with classes held mainly on the Virginia Beach Campus.

If your schedule doesn't permit full-time attendance, you may also take classes part time.

Estimated Program Cost*:
67 credits x $185.35 per credit = $12,418.45 (not including textbooks and supplies)
*Based on Fall 2018 in-state tuition. Your actual cost may differ.

Where can you go?

Paralegals can find immediate employment after earning an Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies.

The degree is a professional/technical degree and is not designed for transfer to a law school. Students wishing to transfer to a four-year program are advised to contact the school to which they are interested in applying. 

Is this program for you?

Yes, if you:

  • are able to meet deadlines
  • are detail-oriented
  • are disciplined
  • love to do research

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

Learn from real-world experience: All program faculty have law degrees


Students encouraged to seek internships or cooperative education programs that can be applied for credit

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


Alum learned real-world skills in TCC's Paralegal Studies program


Meet Cynthia Pedigo, Program Head of Paralegal Studies


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