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Paralegal Degrees in Clearwater, FL with Course Descriptions

Sep 10, 2018

The Clearwater, FL, area has six colleges that offer paralegal programs. Learn about the programs, admission info and program requirements for three schools within 30 miles of downtown Clearwater to make an informed education decision.

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Clearwater Paralegal Schools

Aspiring paralegals in Clearwater, FL, don't have to travel far to find schools with paralegal training programs. This article discusses three schools, which are all fairly close to the downtown area. The article also features a table comparing school statistics, as well as a short section highlighting another school option.

  • St. Petersburg College, which is five miles from downtown, offers accredited academic options at several levels. It provides associate's and bachelor's degree programs in paralegal studies, as well as a post-baccalaureate certificate program in paralegal studies.
  • Located 20 miles from downtown Clearwater in Tampa, Hillsborough Community College awards an advanced technical certificate in paralegal/legal assisting and an associate's degree in paralegal studies.
  • Pasco-Hernando Community College is 26 miles from downtown and offers an associate's degree in paralegal studies.

Comparison of Schools

Choosing the right college can often be a tough decision. The table below makes it easy to compare important school information, such as enrollment numbers, tuition rates, acceptance rates and more.

St. Petersburg College Hillsborough Community College Pasco-Hernando State College
School Type 4-year; public 2-year; public 4-year; public
Total Enrollment (2017) 29,548* 27,626* 11,947*
Campus Setting Small city Large city Large suburb
Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $3,352 in-state; $11,607 out-of-state* $2,506 in-state; $9,111 out-of-state* $3,155 in-state; $12,032 out-of-state*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017) 72%* 76%* 73%*
Acceptance Rate (2017) N/A - Open admissions N/A - Open admissions N/A - Open admissions
Retention Rate (2017) N/A 63% for full-time students; 49% for part-time students* N/A
Graduation Rate 29% (12% transfer-out rate) (for those who began their studies in 2011)* 30% (13% transfer-out rate) (for those who began their studies in 2014)* 32% (11% transfer-out rate) (for those who began their studies in 2011)*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

St. Petersburg College

St. Petersburg College was the first community college in the state to offer bachelor's degree programs and is one of 15 state colleges. The Law, Public Policy and Service department offers programs in paralegal studies, public safety and public policy and administration. The paralegal studies associate's degree, bachelor's degree and certificate programs help individuals prepare for voluntary certification through the National Association of Legal Assistants.

Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies

Courses in this 64-credit program cover fundamental methods for paralegals, such as researching databases, interviewing clients and preparing legal documents. Professional and ethical responsibilities are stressed. Students can choose to specialize in areas involving real estate, family law, civil litigation, criminal litigation, corporations and estate and guardianship administration.

Bachelor of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies

The paralegal studies bachelor's degree program is for students who have earned an associate's degree and want to take additional general education and professional courses in the field. Courses in U.S. and international law build upon the foundation established in the associate's degree program. Electives offer students an opportunity to learn about insurance law, bankruptcy, healthcare law, environmental law and criminal law. Students are also required to complete a capstone course. Evening classes are available to accommodate working students. The curriculum is taught by sitting judges and licensed attorneys.

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Paralegal Studies

Bachelor's degree holders who are interested in pursuing a career as a paralegal may enroll in a 1-year certificate program to gain the necessary skills to work in the field. Students in the program learn about law office management, legal research and writing, civil litigation and advanced legal research. The program culminates in community service and capstone projects, in which students apply legal theories and research methods to contemporary cases.

Hillsborough Community College

Students at Hillsborough Community College can pursue both certificate and associate's degree programs that will prepare them for careers or continuing education opportunities. The paralegal certificate program is offered at the Ybor campus. Students enrolled at this campus can also enroll in programs involving criminal justice, office administration, music, dance, fire science and art.

Advanced Technical Certificate in Paralegal/Legal Assisting

The advanced technical certificate program in paralegal/legal assisting provides students with an overview of legal procedures, as well as an introduction to legal research and writing. It is designed for those students who already have a bachelor's degree. Students are required to complete 21 credits to earn the credential and have an opportunity to take courses in bankruptcy, business and family law.

Associate in Science in Paralegal Studies

This degree program requires 64 credit hours of coursework. Students take classes in legal writing, research and litigation procedures. They also study civil procedure, contract law, tort law and family law as part of the core curriculum and can choose from electives in an area of interest, such as criminal litigation and property transactions.

Pasco-Hernando State College

Pasco-Hernando State College offers over 30 programs that will prepare students for careers, including ones in business, healthcare and law. Students who graduate with an Associate of Arts degree can enroll in a Florida public university as a junior. Public service careers are available in paralegal studies, human services, criminal justice, corrections and law enforcement.

Associate in Science in Paralegal Studies

The paralegal studies associate's degree program can be completed in two years. The program is 64 credit hours and consists of courses in business law, civil procedure, torts, family law, legal research and writing, law office management and evidence and trial practice. Students are required to participate in an internship.

Other School Options

The State College of Florida - Manatee-Sarasota sits 37 miles from Clearwater and offers a certificate and associate's degree in paralegal/legal assisting.

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