Paralegal Frequently Asked Questions

Program Information

How long will it take to complete the associate in science (AS) paralegal degree?
It depends on the number of credits taken each semester and if awarded transfer credits from previous colleges. A student may attend full-time (taking 12 or more credits each semester) or part-time (taking less than 12 credits each semester) selecting courses of interest or job needs, as well as, course availability. Please remember one 3-credit course is like working 10 hours a week so plan accordingly.

Upon completion of course work can I sit for an industry certification exam?
It depends if you have the necessary credentials required for certification. Paralegal certifications are awarded by professional associations and have specific course and/or experience requirements. For more information regarding industry related paralegal certifications, visit NALS, Association for Legal Professionals [LINK to: http://www.nals.org] and National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) [LINK to: http://nala.org].

Who do I talk with if I have more questions about the paralegal program?
Contact an advisor or the paralegal program coordinator.

Courses and Credits

Can I receive paralegal credits for work experience? I worked in the legal field for several years.
It depends, contact the paralegal program coordinator to learn how your work experience might apply to paralegal courses.

Can the associate in science (AS) paralegal degree be completed online?
No, not all required courses are offered online.

Are paralegal courses (LAW) offered during the summer?
Selected LAW courses are normally offered during the summer. The Class Availability [LINK to: https://www.sis.hawaii.edu/uhdad/avail.classes?i=KAP] site lists summer session courses.

Can I take paralegal (LAW) courses at another University of Hawai`i community college?
No, the paralegal (LAW) courses are specific to Kapi`olani Community College, however most of the University of Hawai`i community colleges’ general education courses are transferable. Contact an advisor before taking a course elsewhere.

Do the paralegal LAW courses apply to law schools?
No, Kapi’olani CC’s LAW courses do not apply to any law school. Many students thinking of law school, however, take the paralegal program courses first to be better prepared for the rigors of law school and to obtain some legal background. The LAW courses however, may transfer to another paralegal program. Contact an advisor for more information.

Cooperative Education (Internship)

What is LAW 293P Cooperative Paralegal Education?
The cooperative education class is a required course that integrates classroom learning with supervised practical work experience. The course provides the student with the opportunity to build upon, apply, and assess the concepts developed through course work in the legal environment.

I already work in the legal environment. Do I still have to take the cooperative education class?
Yes, the class is required for the associate in science (AS) paralegal degree. Students currently employed in a paralegal related position may be able to use their positions for cooperative education. Contact the paralegal program coordinator to learn how your current position may be applicable.

Tell me more about the LAW 293P Cooperative Paralegal Education requirement.
The class meets approximately one hour per week and requires 144 hours of work in the legal environment. Students are responsible for securing their own cooperative education positions. Employers with cooperative education positions often contact the instructor to solicit resumes and interview students. If a student cannot secure a cooperative education position, the instructor will take reasonable efforts to find a position for the student. Students working full-time have found creative ways to meet this requirement by taking time off work or doing the cooperative education work on the weekends and evenings. Individual circumstances should be discussed with the instructor. More information is available at the LAW 293P course description page.

Graduation and Transfer

I want a bachelor’s degree after I complete the associate in science (AS) paralegal degree; what are my options?
Kapi`olani CC has an articulation agreement with the University of Hawai`i-West Oahu for students who complete the associate in science (AS) paralegal degree and want to pursue a bachelor of arts in public administration with concentration in general public administration or justice administration. Contact an advisor for more information.

Are there professional paralegal organizations that students and graduates may join?
Yes, in Hawai`i there are several organizations that students and graduates are encouraged to join. A few are the:

Do you have job placement services for students?
No, unfortunately the campus does not have job placement services. Students and graduates may use the University of Hawai`i Student Employment and Cooperative Education (SECE) and the State of Hawai`i HireNet-Hawai`i free services to seek employment. Many professional organizations have job placement as a membership benefit.

How much can I earn in the legal field?
The amount you can earn in the legal field depends on many factors including but not limited to job requirements, education, experience, job location, etc. Visit O*NET OnLine to learn more. to learn more.