How to Find a Paralegal Studies Program near Tallassee Alabama
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Tallassee AL and begin your journey that will lead to a fulfilling career in legal services. However, it’s crucial that you locate the best school so that you will get the extensive training that you need to succeed. As you most likely understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more academic alternatives are becoming available, both on campus and online. But with so many alternatives to choose from, where does one start? A number of prospective students begin by trying to find paralegal schools within driving range of their Tallassee homes. Of those choices, they try to find the program with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are prime considerations when selecting a college, they are not the only factors you need to consider. Things such as accreditation and the reputation of the school ought to be taken into consideration also. Later in this post we will review a list of concerns that you must ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can examine and compare each one before making your decision. But first, let’s take a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the academic options that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?
Paralegals and legal assistants for the most part both hold comparable job positions and functions, only with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and belong to a different job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist attorneys in Tallassee AL with a diverse array of job duties, such as maintaining client files, legal research, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job functions are based upon the type of legal firm where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm could help with the logistics of a trial or transporting documents to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is usually billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And just like attorneys, they must carry out their duties with a high level of professionalism and follow a strict standard of professional ethics. As stated, their duties can be diverse in support of the firms where they are employed, but some of their day-to-day tasks might involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Researching pertinent cases and laws
- Preparing correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal papers with the court or opposing counsel
- Helping lawyers prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a Tallassee AL paralegal can be complex and quite demanding. On the other hand, what they are not legally allowed to do is give legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But they are not limited to administrative or clerical duties more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, attorneys are able to take on a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Education and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic requirements and job prospects will be the same. The quickest way to start your career in Tallassee AL as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which may involve just six months to complete. Most entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more comprehensive education and can be earned at many community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. Once you have obtained either a degree or a certificate, you might choose to continue and obtain a certification. Although it is not a mandatory requirement in Alabama to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help boost your job opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. Some of the highly regarded certifying agencies in the field are:
- National Federation of Paralegal Associations
- American Alliance of Paralegals
- National Association of Legal Assistants
- National Association for Legal Professionals
By graduating with a degree or certificate from an accredited program (we will discuss the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two important first steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Tallassee AL.
Paralegal Online Training
Paralegal online programs have become more common and can be a good option for individuals in Tallassee AL searching for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be especially attractive to those who keep working while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, online schools can in some cases be less costly than more traditional options. Even secondary expenses for such items as study materials or commuting can be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will cover in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest caliber. So check to make sure that the program and school you are thinking about are accredited by a highly regarded organization, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less structured and formal setting, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Paralegal Colleges
Now that you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what educational options are available, you can begin the process of assessing Tallassee AL area schools. But considering that there are numerous programs offered at community and junior colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you must find out what questions to ask so that you can compare each one. This is especially true if you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs as well. If you are like many potential students, you will start by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already discussed, there are other crucial issues to consider as well, for instance accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s take a look at a few of the questions you should be asking the schools you are investigating so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your final selection.
Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you enroll in need to be accredited by a recognized accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online training. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will obtain will be of the highest quality, but it will establish with future employers that you are a qualified professional also. Many Tallassee AL law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited program. Also, financial assistance and student loans are typically obtainable only for accredited schools.
What’s the Reputation of the School? Learn what the reputations and rankings are for the Tallassee AL paralegal schools you are looking at. This is of special importance if you are new to the profession with no prior experience, since employers will have to make a decision based on the quality of your education exclusively. Verifying that the school you choose is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating reports, such as those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also call some law firms that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask which schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even though a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the Program Offer Internships? Internship programs provide students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal establishment while still in school. They can also present a means for students to start creating contacts within the Tallassee AL legal community. Ask if the paralegal schools you are assessing provide internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the paralegal programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama legal services employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School’s Location? Because laws differ from one state to another, it might be a good idea to choose a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you wish to work after graduating. In addition, it will be important to cultivate relationships in the area legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is even more justification to receive your education in the community where you wish to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many charge an increased tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may wish to initially investigate those colleges that are within your Tallassee AL local region.
What is the Complete Expense? Paralegal programs can vary in cost depending on the credential received and the amount of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only cost for your education. Don’t forget to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance may be available to help reduce some of the cost, so don’t forget to contact the school’s financial aid office to find out what is available in Tallassee AL. Of course if you decide to attend an online school, a portion these supplementary costs, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Fit your Schedule? Many paralegal students continue working while obtaining their training and must have flexibility in class scheduling. If you can just attend weekend or evening classes near Tallassee AL, make sure classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make sure that the program you select makes available that option. Last, find out what the procedure is for making up missed classes because of sickness, work or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Tallassee AL?
Tallassee (pronounced |ˈtæːləsi|) is a city on the Tallapoosa River, located in both Elmore and Tallapoosa counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. At the 2010 census the population was 4,819. It is home to a major hydroelectric power plant at Thurlow Dam operated by Alabama Power Company.
The historic Creek peoples in this area are believed to have descended from the Mississippian culture, which flourished throughout the Mississippi and Ohio river valleys and the Southeast from about 1000 to 1450. They were mound builders, who created massive earthwork mounds as structures for political and religious purposes. They relied greatly on fishing and riverway trading at their major sites (c.f. Moundville, Tuscaloosa).
Talisi was a town of the Coosa Province of the Mississippian culture; it was visited in 1540 by Hernando de Soto and his expedition through the Southeast. Later it was occupied by the historic Creek people. The Tallassee area was the location of the Creek capital city, Tuckabatchee, as well as the location of the seven sacred plates.
Tensions first broke out as a civil war among the Creek, but US forces also got involved. Trying to intercept a Red Sticks party who were bringing back arms thought to be purchased from the Spanish in Florida, United States Army forces attacked the Creek at the Battle of Burnt Corn. The Creek band ultimately defeated the soldiers. In retaliation, the next month the Red Sticks attacked Fort Mims, about 35 miles north of Mobile, Alabama, killing most of the more than 500 settlers and mixed-race Lower Creek who had taken refuge there.
Enroll in the Best Paralegal College near Tallassee AL
Selecting the right paralegal training program is a crucial first step to guarantee your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have addressed in this post, you have the choice of attending classes on-campus or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Tallassee residence. Paralegal academic programs are offered in numerous lengths and formats. Different types of private and public institutions offer paralegal education, including community colleges, four year colleges and universities, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a pronounced influence on your opportunities for success in your new career. Since there is a broad range in the quality of programs, pick wisely. Afford yourself the greatest possible opportunity to succeed in this exciting profession. But irrespective of how you elect to obtain your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will be able to examine each program and make your ultimate decision. And with the ideal education you can realize your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Tallassee AL.
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