Paralegal Studies Program - Southwestern Illinois College


The purpose of the Paralegal Program is to prepare students for gainful employment in law firms or law related fields by utilizing a technology-based curriculum that emphasizes writing and research skills, as well as critical thinking skills. We also emphasize practical applications which the students can expect to encounter in the workplace, recognizing the need to remain current in technology utilized in the legal field. By assessing student performance, the program ensures that paralegal graduates will possess the skills required by the legal community to meet its employment needs. In addition, the program fosters a commitment to lifelong learning as a critical component to career success.

Paralegals (or Legal Assistants) provide support to lawyers by assisting with research and preparing court documents.  They often meet with clients and serve as the point of contact between the lawyer and client.  They can investigate facts, conduct legal research, and help attorneys prepare cases for trial.  Paralegals can also draft documents such as contracts and wills, under the supervision of the attorney.

Courses in the Paralegal Studies program are taught by licensed attorneys, judges, and practicing paralegals.  Students can take courses in person or online.


A graduate of the Paralegal Studies program is prepared to begin or continue their career as a paralegal or legal assistant.  Most find gainful employment in law firms, although some choose to pursue careers with government agencies, corporations, or other legal settings.

For those who wish to continue their education beyond the Associate Degree, we offer articulation agreements with Southern Illinois University Carbondale and Webster University in St. Louis.  This allows student to enter their bachelor’s programs in Paralegal Studies with junior status.

Students who are planning to apply to law school may pursue a bachelor’s degree in any discipline, but should choose courses that require critical thinking, verbal and written communication skills, math and accounting skills, and knowledge of technology. Admission to law school requires that the applicant take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT).


Anyone who has completed an associate or bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college may earn an Associate in Applied Science degree in Paralegal Studies by completing at least 30 semester credits of program-related coursework.

A plan of specific courses required for the degree will be dependent on the previous degree obtained by the accelerated degree candidate. It will be necessary to meet with the program coordinator to determine the exact courses required for degree completion. To learn more about the Accelerated Degree option, contact the program coordinator at 618-235-2700, ext. 5494.


Melody Schroer Program Coordinator

Melody Schroer, J.D.
(618) 222-5494

For more information, please fill out the contact form.