Approved by the American Bar Association
Paralegal Program

Paralegal Program

Although lawyers assume ultimate responsibility for legal work, paralegals provide the legal profession with a cost-effective alternative to discover, produce, and compile the legal work. A paralegal is not a legal secretary, but instead a vital, educated member of a legal services team. Paralegal employment is expected to grow much faster than average for at least the next decade. Paralegals, also known as Legal Assistants, work closely with attorneys to assist in:

  • Performing legal and factual research.
  • Drafting documents for filing with courts and agencies.
  • Drafting contracts, mortgages, and all manner of legal agreements.
  • Organizing trial documents, evidence, preparing witnesses & assisting at trials.
  • Performing closings and title examinations.
  • As well as many other substantial legal tasks.

A paralegal is not licensed to practice law but performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible. A paralegal is bound to the same ethical principles as a lawyer.

Did you know

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2020, the paralegal profession is expected to grow at 12% annually, faster than the average for all careers.  Paralegal has a national median annual wage of $52,920. Paralegal Jobs also typically include benefit packages including health insurance, vacation, and retirement accounts. However, salary and benefits do vary depending on skills, experience, education, and firm size. Industry surveys find that paralegals with 4-6 years' experience typically earn $54,500 to $78,750. Formally trained paralegals with strong computer and database management skills should have the best job prospects.

Law firms also are attempting to reduce billing costs as clients push for less expensive legal services. Due to their lower billing rates to clients, paralegals can be a less costly alternative to lawyers, performing a wide variety of tasks once done by entry-level lawyers. This should cause an increase in demand for paralegals and legal assistants. 


This program is offered on the Orchard Ridge campus. Some classes are offered online, but typically in a syncronous format. Supporting courses may be taken on all campuses and online.


  1. If you are not already an OCC student, apply using the button below. 
    • When asked for your Degree or Program, Choose PLG.APP 
  2. If you are already an OCC student, Login in to My OCC and change your Degree or Program to PLG.APP
  3. Contact the Paralegal Coordinator by email ( for final admission to this restricted program

See also: Paralegal Frequently Asked Questions 



Students who have not already earned a bachelor degree may earn an Associate's Degree in the Paralegal Program.

  • Work as a Paralegal. You can begin your career immediately upon graduation.
  • Transfer and Complete Your Bachelor Degree. Ask about our transfer agreements with Eastern Michigan University and Madonna University which allow you to complete your Bachelor Degree in 1 additional year.
  • Go on to Law School. While most law schools require a bachelor degree, the practical legal education from our paralegal program will give you marketable skills that surpass any other pre-law major.

Degree Program

Program Plan


Use your existing skills in an exciting new legal career. You already have valuable skills, education, and experience. Don't abandon them - put them to work in the legal field! Primarily designed for professionals interested in switching careers, this program requires that you have earned a bachelor degree from an accredited four-year institution. Transcripts showing the degree, or for foreign students degree equivalency, may be submitted after admission.

This program is specifically designed to give you the essential skills to be a professional paralegal in the shortest possible time. It consists of six core courses, one elective, and three supporting courses over three terms in a specific sequence. Day students typically complete the program in 9 months; night students in 12 months. Those not able to attend full time may follow the same sequence at an appropriate pace for their own schedule.

Certificate Program

Program Plan