Guilford Technical Community College Now Offers Post-Bachelor’s Paralegal Certificate Program

Published on: November 1, 2018
GTCC now offers two pathways for individuals interested in entering the paralegal profession, a post-bachelor’s certificate program and a two-year degree program. Pictured here are students in the Paralegal Technology program and Pam Hollern (far left) who directs the program at GTCC.

JAMESTOWN, N.C. – Guilford Technical Community College has expanded its Paralegal Technology Program to include a post-bachelor’s paralegal certificate. The new program allows qualifying students to meet the educational requirements for the North Carolina paralegal certification exam after just one semester (18 credit hours) of paralegal courses.

“The certificate program is ideal for someone who graduated with a general liberal arts degree and is interested in entering the legal profession. They gain very specific, tangible skills and then take the state exam. This accelerated pathway allows students to get into the workforce sooner,” says Pamela Hollern, director of the Paralegal Technology program at GTCC.

Rebekah Canter is among the nine students in the inaugural certificate class that began with the fall 2018 semester. After earning her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, she needed the technical skills to prepare her for a career as a paralegal.

“I like studying and analyzing the law, but I didn’t really want to become a lawyer,” she says. “The certificate is convenient and a smart choice. The courses give you the practical skills and knowledge that you’ll need to be a paralegal. It will help me get the job I want.” 

North Carolina was one of the first states to require a paralegal exam. Individuals pursuing the paralegal profession must complete a certified educational program that is approved by the North Carolina Bar Association. GTCC offers two pathways to meet the requirement with its certificate program and a two-year degree program. Both curriculums prepare individuals to work under the supervision of attorneys in performing routine legal tasks and assisting with substantive legal work.

GTCC’s Paralegal Technology Program also received approval earlier this year by the American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE), the nation’s largest and continuously operating organization dedicated to promoting quality paralegal and legal studies education. To obtain AAfPE approval, Hollern led the yearlong effort to demonstrate GTCC’s curriculum, instructors, assessment processes, etc. met certain qualification standards established by the American Bar Association.

“The approval serves as public recognition that we have a quality program that is in substantial compliance with all the standards of the American Bar Association,” says Hollern.

Hollern, who was appointed director over the college’s Paralegal Technology Program in August, is making sure GTCC students have opportunities outside the classroom to apply their knowledge. Under her leadership, the Paralegal Student Association has been revamped and an honors society has been established.

“It’s one more thing that will set our students apart from other job candidates,” she explains. “Students are able to demonstrate their dedication to the program. It shows they have gone above and beyond.”

Rebekah Robinson serves as president of the Paralegal Student Association at GTCC and has focused the club’s efforts on community involvement, volunteer, internships and networking opportunities. Earlier this year, the club participated with area colleges and universities in the NC Bar Feeding Frenzy, a food drive spearheaded by the NC Bar Association’s young lawyers division. The students have also volunteered their time to support Family Services with domestic violence cases.

“We continuously look for ways we can impact the community both in general and with our legal knowledge,” says Robinson. “Networking is also a huge benefit of being in the club. Most jobs you have to know someone, especially in the legal profession.”

Registration for the spring 2019 semester begins Nov. 12. For more information about the Paralegal Technology certificate and degree programs, contact Pamela Hollern at

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