West Valley College Paralegal Program

               An ABA-Approved Paralegal Program

Frequently Asked Questions About The Program

1. What do I need to do to apply to the Program?

The Paralegal Program is part of the California Community College system; you do not have to apply to the program. If you have a high school diploma or its equivalent, you need only register with the college and enroll in Paralegal courses.

2. How much does it cost?

Information about the cost of classes (most classes are 3 units, see the wvc fees page ›) and the application process is available on West Valley's web site, www.westvalley.edu ›. The cost of textbooks can vary but expect to spend $60.00 - $120.00 per class. For help with financial issues, contact Financial Aid at 408-741-2024 or the financial aid webpages ›.

3. How many courses do I need to take to earn a certificate?

If you already have a degree (Associate degree or higher), you need only take the 10 required Paralegal courses and 12 units in Paralegal electives. (40.5 units) Most elective courses are 3 units. Those who do not have a degree must take these courses and the general education courses required to earn an A.S. degree. (25 units) To determine whether your degree from another college or university is acceptable by the College, you should contact the Counseling Department at 408-741-2009 or counseling services ›.

4. How long does it take to graduate?

How long it takes to complete the program is up to you. The program is designed for completion in 4 semesters if a student already has a degree and can attend full-time. Some students take less time by also taking courses during summer and winter sessions. However, many of our students take 4 or more years to complete the program because they are also working full-time and/or raising a family. If you already have a degree and want to know how long it will take to complete the program, just calculate how many of the 14 paralegal courses you can take each semester. If you do not have a degree, you should consult with Counseling to create an education plan for both paralegal and general education courses.

5. How long are the semesters and sessions?

Fall and Spring semesters are 16 weeks long. Fall generally begins the Monday before Labor Day. Spring generally begins the last Monday in January. Check the current schedules for the actual dates. Winter Session is the 4 weeks of January, classes meet 4 nights a week, Monday through Thursday. Paralegal courses in Summer Session are either 4 or 6 weeks long beginning in June. Classes in summer meet either 3 or 4 days a week.

6. Do you have day and/or evening classes?

We have both day and evening classes. The day classes meet once a week for 3 hours each day. The evening classes meet once a week (M T W or Th only) for 3 hours. Most evening classes begin between 6:00 - 6:30 p.m. Our Fall & Spring semesters are 16 weeks.7. Do you have any on-line courses?We currently have no on-line courses. We plan to offer our first on-line course, Para 25 - Ethics, in Winter 2009, if approved by the College and the ABA.

8. When can I check which classes are scheduled for the next semester or session?

Every year, the schedule of classes for Spring semester and Winter session is available on-line in November. The schedule for Summer session and Fall Semester is available in April. Paper versions of the schedules are available a few weeks after the on-line schedules are posted.

9. How can I check on-line for classes?

You can check for class offerings by going to West Valley's home page, and linking to WVCPortal. You can see a complete list of courses offered by clicking on Search for Sections (no login required).
  Fill in the appropriate boxes with
  TERM = Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter

10. What courses should I take first?

Students who have no prior law office experience should enroll in Para 19 (Introduction to Paralegal Studies) and/or Para 21 (Introduction to American Law). They are the two introductory courses that support all our other courses. Take a look at our suggested sequence of classes.

11. How can I find out more about the Program before enrolling in courses?

There are two Orientation sessions for new and prospective students before every Fall and Spring semesters. Orientations are on the Wednesday before classes start. More information is posted on the Career Programs Events web page or contact the Program Chair or Career Programs Center.

12. Is West Valley's Program ABA approved?

West Valley's Paralegal Program has maintained the approval of the American Bar Association since 1996. Approval by the ABA assures students and Bay Area employers that the program meets the requirements for paralegal education under California law (California Business & Professions Code section 6450 et seq.).

13. Where is West Valley and/or where are the Paralegal courses taught?

The Paralegal Program is part of the Applied Arts and Sciences Division. Most courses are taught in the AAS Building. Maps for getting to WVC and to help you get around campus can be found on the maps page ›.


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