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Paralegal Program Requirements

Program Criteria Packet

Admission into the Paralegal Programs requires additional criteria. Certificate applicants must provide evidence of an Associate’s Degree or a Bachelor’s Degree prior to acceptance. Associate Degree applicants must take the assessment or placement tests and test into English Composition I or provide evidence of prior completion of English Composition I prior to acceptance.

For information about the additional criteria required of Paralegal Program applicants please download the Paralegal Criteria Packet below:

The following information is important for students pursuing an Associates Degree or a Certificate in Paralegal Studies.

Paralegal Program Admissions Requirements:

Criteria Based:

  • The Paralegal Program is a criteria-based program. In addition to providing a high school transcript/diploma, or GED/HiSET completion and taking the assessment tests, students desiring to be admitted to the Paralegal Program must qualify to take English Composition I (or have already successfully completed it). The student’s placement in math does not affect admission to the program, but student must place in some level of math. Students who test below English Composition I will be placed in General Studies/Paralegal until they have reached the English Composition I level.

Program Options:

  • The Paralegal Program has three options:  Career Option, Transfer Option and Certificate Program. If a student believes that there is any possibility that he/she will transfer to a 4-year institution, he/she should choose the transfer option. If he/she already has a bachelor’s degree he/she should pursue a Paralegal Certificate. For more information about the available options, students should contact the Paralegal Coordinator.

Certificate Program Eligibility:

  • To be eligible for the Certificate Program a student must 1.) have a bachelor’s degree, or 2.) an associate of arts or an associate of science degree, or 3.) have already earned at least 36 liberal arts college credits in a minimum of four different disciplines with grades of C or better. Associate degrees in non-academic areas (such as an associate in applied science) must be evaluated for the 36 credits in a minimum of four different disciplines with a ‘C’ or better. Common disciplines include: Social and Behavioral Science, English, Foreign Language, Mathematics, Humanities, Science, and Fine Arts (with the exception of performance courses, for example no dance performance, guitar, piano, acting, etc.). Certain courses do NOT count toward the 36-credit requirement. They include: business courses, management and accounting courses, performance courses, technology and office skills courses including computer applications, criminal justice and related police science courses, real estate courses, occupational and vocational courses, counseling and guidance courses, english courses designed for those whose primary language is not english, and physical education courses. Students are responsible for ensuring that the Registrar’s Office at NECC receives an official transcript evidencing compliance with this requirement in order to be eligible for admission.


  • Interested students should consult with an advisor to apply.

Paralegal Coordinator:

  • The Paralegal Coordinator is available to answer questions. See contact information on the Faculty contact page.

Paralegal Program Course Requirements:

  • It is highly recommended that the student follow the sequence of courses recommended in the Academic Advising Handbook. It is important to take Introduction to Law and Introduction to Paralegalism as early as possible.
  • Paralegal electives are offered on a rotating basis.
  • Students must achieve a C or better in all paralegal (PAR) courses to earn credit toward graduation. Students who receive a C- or lower in a PAR course are given the opportunity to retake the course or take another PAR course to earn graduation credit.
  • There are certain restrictions on the humanities elective (required by the transfer option only) imposed by the American Bar Association. Courses deemed INELIGIBLE include Art, Dance, Graphic Design, Music & Theater. Please refer to Academic Advising Handbook for details.
  • Due to the dynamic nature of law, paralegal (PAR) courses have a six-year shelf life. Therefore, PAR courses taken more than six years prior to completing the program requirements must be re-taken unless the student can demonstrate proficiency in the topic area.
  • The granting of transfer credits for paralegal courses taken at other institutions is subject to meeting the requirements of the Paralegal Program Transfer Credit Policy.  
  • The program can be completed during the day, the evening, or a combination of both. Evening classes are located on the Haverhill Campus. Day courses are offered on the Lawrence Campus.
  • Certificate students are not subject to some of the pre-requisites to register for PAR courses. Please contact the Paralegal Program Coordinator to obtain a waiver. The Paralegal Practicum is offered during the day in the spring semester only.