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Roane State Community College

Paralegal Studies Program
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Online degrees available. Online education gives you flexibility to take classes that fit your schedule.Online degrees available. Online education gives you flexibility to take classes that fit your schedule.

Paralegal Studies Program


A paralegal is a person, qualified by education, training or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible. (American Bar Association) 
Successful completion of the two-year Paralegal Studies Program results in an Associate of Applied Science degree. Paralegals, also known as legal assistants, work under the direct supervision of attorneys, but may not provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law. Paralegals assist attorneys in virtually every facet of the practice of law. The paralegal studies program is designed to prepare students to be proficient in paralegal duties and responsibilities. Students who complete this curriculum will be able to apply basic legal concepts and become familiar with Tennessee’s court system and its substantive and procedural laws. Competency objectives include skills in legal ethics, research, writing, problem-solving, and communication. Students will participate in an internship for practical experience.

Roane State’s Paralegal Studies program supports the general principles of ethical legal practice, professional responsibility, and the prohibition against the unauthorized practice of law by non-lawyers (including paralegals).


The program is based at the main campus in Harriman. However, paralegal studies courses are taught at most RSCC campuses via the Interactive Distance Education classrooms, where students in different locations can take the same course through live video.

ABA Approval

The A.A.S. Paralegal Studies Program is Approved by the American Bar Association.

Work Settings and Salaries

Many paralegals work in private law firms, including small, rural law offices, as well as large, metropolitan law firms. Paralegals are also employed in title offices, courthouses, governmental agencies and corporations. Wherever attorneys are employed, paralegals are often employed.

The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts above average growth for paralegal jobs. In a recent survey,, a career website, ranked paralegal assistant among the top 50 jobs in the country based on physical demands, work environment, income, stress and hiring outlook.

Salaries for paralegals may vary depending on where and for whom they work. Many paralegals in small law offices earn an hourly wage, while most paralegals in larger law offices, government and other offices earn a salary. The mean salary for paralegals in the Roane State service area is around $32,500. With experience, many paralegals in East Tennessee have an earning potential of $40,000 or more.

Credentialing Requirements

Paralegals are not licensed in the State of Tennessee. Certification is available through professional organizations such as the National Association for Legal Assistants (NALA) and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations. Graduates of this program will be eligible to sit for the National Association of Legal Assistants certified legal assistant exam.

Program Goals

The primary goal is to educate students to become career paralegals that can perform effectively in a variety of legal settings and can adapt to changes in the legal environment and law practice.

The overall program goal is to prepare student for careers as paralegals working under the supervision of lawyers in the public and private sector.

The program is designed to provide students with the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes they need to become competent and ethical professional paralegals working in the delivery of legal services.

Program Objectives

Upon completion of the program, graduates should be able to:

  1. Enter the profession as an effective paralegal
  2. Prepare legal documents
  3. Perform legal research
  4. Apply principles of legal ethics
  5. Work as a successful member of a team
  6. Satisfactory Completion of exit exam

Professional Organizations

American Association for Paralegal Educators

The National Association of Legal Assistants

Tennessee Paralegal Association

Smoky Mountain Paralegal Association

Advisory Committee

Member Profession
Angela Anderson Clerk and Master 9th Judicial District (Other)
Nick Armes, Esq. Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee & the Cumberlands (Faculty)
Karen Brunner RSCC (School Administrator)
Bob Creswell Ron Berry Insurance (General Public Member)
J. Polk Cooley, Esq. 1926-2019 Cooley, McFarland, Raby & Reynolds (Practicing Attorney)
Carol Duncan Law Office of Robert Wilkinson (Private Sector Paralegal)
Diane Fitzhugh Cooley, McFarland, Raby & Reynolds (Manager of Paralegals)
Susan Hyder, Esq. Patton & Hyder, PLLC (Practicing Attorney)
Bill Jones, Esq. Assistant Public Defender 8th Judicial District (Practicing Attorney)
Melanie Lane, Esq. Romer & Lane, PLLC (Practicing Attorney)
Cynthia Miller Legal Aid of East Tennessee (Public Sector Paralegal)
William Paul Phillips, Esq. General counsel for the Elgin Children’s Foundation (Practicing Attorney)
Amanda Randolph Cooley, McFarland, Raby & Reynolds (Private Sector Paralegal)
Chancellor Frank Williams, II Chancellor 9th Judicial District (Other; Practicing Attorney)


Tracey V Williams • (865) 354-3000 ext. 4987 • Click name for email address

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