Paralegal/Legal Assisting

The SCF Paralegal/Legal Assisting Program is a voting member of the American Association for Paralegal Educators (AAfPE) and is considered by that organization to be substantially in compliance with American Bar Association (ABA) requirements for paralegal programs. SCF instructors have diverse legal experiences and are highly qualified and dedicated to ensuring that all students attain their maximum potential in their academic endeavors. For more information, click here to visit the AAfPE Educational Standards page.
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Paralegal Program

The Paralegal program at State College of Florida is not approved by the American Bar Association (ABA), but as a voting member of the American Association of Paralegal Education (AAfPE), it is considered by that organization to be in substantial compliance with the ABA guidelines for approval of paralegal programs. The courses are taught by attorneys and qualified paralegals. Many of our courses are project-oriented and offer hands-on experience.

AAfPE definition of Paralegals:  Paralegals perform substantive and procedural legal work as authorized by law, which work, in the absence of the paralegal, would be performed by an attorney. Paralegals have knowledge of the law gained through education, or education and work experience, which qualifies them to perform legal work. Paralegals adhere to recognized ethical standards and rules of professional responsibility.

Lawyers delegate many tasks to the paralegals who assist them with their work, which may include helping to prepare for real estate closings, interviews, hearings, mediation, trials and corporate meetings, and draft discovery, correspondence, and pleadings.

Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL) Statement: Paralegals work under the supervision of a licensed attorney and are not authorized to practice law in Florida.

Three paralegal/legal assisting options offered at SCF

There are many reasons why people choose legal training, and our students come from all walks of life. Some already have degrees and want to cross-train in order to perform legal functions in their careers, others want to become lawyers, and many want to be legal assistants or paralegals.

Advanced Technical Certificate

If you already hold a college degree and want to get certified as a paralegal, consider the  Advanced Technical Certificate (ATC). This is the most convenient of the programs offered, and it provides everything you need to sit for the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) Certified Legal Assistant (CLA)/Certified Paralegal (CP) examination. Because of your previous degree, you already have the general education courses recommended by the ABA and AAfPE. As a result, you only need to take PLA courses (law courses).

Associate in Science (A.S.) degree

If you don't have a degree and your goal is to get a paralegal degree and go to work, you will want the Associate in Science degree. The A.S. degree will prepare you for a paralegal/legal assisting career in a law office.  At the same time, it will also prepare you for the NALA CLA/CP exam.

Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree

If you want to continue law education, the Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree prepares you for transfer at the junior level to an accredited four-year college or university where you will be able to complete your bachelor's degree. The A.A. degree requires a minimum of 12 general education courses.

Additional materials about the program are available in the Social & Behavioral Sciences office, Building 9 at SCF Bradenton or by emailing .

Program Manager:

Suzanne Bechtol
SCF Bradenton Campus
Office Phone: 941-752-5359




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