How to Select a Paralegal Degree Program near Ehrenberg Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Ehrenberg AZ and start your journey that will lead to a fulfilling career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s essential that you find the right school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you require to achieve success. As you probably know, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more academic choices are becoming available, both at school and online. However with so many alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? Some prospective students begin by trying to find paralegal schools within driving range of their Ehrenberg homes. Of those options, they search for the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are very important considerations when choosing a school, they are not the only factors you must take into consideration. Things such as accreditation and the reputation of the school need to be taken into consideration as well. Later in this article we will review a list of questions that you should ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can examine and compare each one before making your choice. But first, let’s have a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the instructional choices that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?
Paralegals and legal assistants essentially both fill comparable job positions and responsibilities, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and are part of a separate job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants help attorneys in Ehrenberg AZ with a wide range of job functions, such as legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job functions are based upon the type of legal firm where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice may help with the logistics of a trial or delivering files to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is normally billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And just like lawyers, they must carry out their duties with a high degree of professionalism and adhere to a strict standard of professional ethics. As mentioned, their duties can be varied in support of the firms where they are employed, but a few of their routine activities can include:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on relevant laws and cases
- Composing correspondence and legal papers
- Filing legal papers with the court or opposing counsel
- Assisting attorneys get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the job of a Ehrenberg AZ paralegal can be involved and very challenging. However, what they are not legally permitted to do is offer legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not restricted to clerical or administrative functions more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the main support systems for attorneys. And because they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, attorneys have the ability to take on a much larger number of cases or clients than they could on their own.
Paralegal Training and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The quickest way to start your career in Ehrenberg AZ as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which can involve as little as six months to complete. A large number of entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more comprehensive education and may be obtained at numerous community colleges in two years. For an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered as well. Once you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you might choose to continue and get a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in Arizona to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help improve your employment opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. Some of the highly respected certifying organizations in the profession are:
- National Federation of Paralegal Associations
- American Alliance of Paralegals
- National Association of Legal Assistants
- National Association for Legal Professionals
By graduating with a certificate or degree from an accredited program (we will discuss the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 important first steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Ehrenberg AZ.
Online Paralegal Programs
Paralegal online programs have become more available and can be a good option for students in Ehrenberg AZ looking for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be particularly appealing to students who continue to work while earning a degree. As an additional benefit, online classes can sometimes be less expensive than on campus options. Even supplementary expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all online schools are accredited, which we will address in more detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps ensure that the education you obtain is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the program and school you are looking into are accredited by a reputable organization, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less supervised and formal setting, then obtaining your degree or certificate online could be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Degree Programs
Since you now you have a better idea regarding what paralegals do and what academic choices are offered, you can start the undertaking of assessing Ehrenberg AZ area schools. But because there are numerous programs available at community and junior colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you must find out what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is particularly true if you include all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like the majority of potential students, you will start by searching for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously covered, there are other crucial aspects to think about also, including accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over several of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are researching so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your ultimate choice.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you enroll in should be accredited by a respected organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it might also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will receive will be of the highest standard, but it will demonstrate to potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. Numerous Ehrenberg AZ law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited school. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are usually obtainable only for accredited schools.
What’s the Reputation of the School? Find out what the rankings and reputations are for the Ehrenberg AZ paralegal programs you are contemplating. This is of special importance if you are new to the profession with no prior experience, since employers will need to make a decision based on the quality of your training 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 quality of education and rankings as well. You can also contact some law practices that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask which schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even if a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the School Sponsor Internships? Internship programs provide students a chance to experience working in a law office or other legal establishment while remaining in school. They can also present an avenue for students to start creating contacts within the Ehrenberg AZ legal field. Ask if the paralegal schools you are assessing provide internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in a new field can be difficult without help. Ask if the paralegal schools you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? Because laws vary among states, it might be beneficial to choose a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you wish to practice after graduating. In addition, it will be necessary to cultivate relationships in the neighboring legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is even more justification to acquire your education in the area where you want to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most require an increased tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may need to first investigate those schools that are within your Ehrenberg AZ local region.
What is the Entire Cost? Paralegal programs can differ in price based on the credential obtained and the length of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expense for your education. Remember to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid might be accessible to help minimize some of the expense, so be sure to consult with the school’s financial aid department to find out what is offered in Ehrenberg AZ. Of course if you opt to attend an online program, a portion these additional expenses, such as for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Match your Schedule? A number of paralegal students keep working while getting their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Ehrenberg AZ, verify classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you choose makes available that option. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making-up classes missed due to work, illness or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Ehrenberg AZ?
Ehrenberg, also historically spelled "Ehrenburg" is a census-designated place (CDP) in La Paz County, Arizona, United States. The population was 1,470 at the 2010 census. Ehrenberg is named for its founder, Herman Ehrenberg.
Ehrenberg is located on the Colorado River, which forms the border with California, near the city of Blythe. It is situated close to Interstate 10, at the southern end of Parker Valley and next to the Palo Verde Valley.
In 1863, German mining engineer Herman Ehrenberg was hired to survey a new townsite along the Colorado River, approximately 6 miles (9.7 km) from La Paz, Arizona. The town, named Mineral City, began to grow in 1866, after a new landing was established there, supported by the steamboat captains of the George A. Johnson Company. Mineral City now attracted miners and many businessmen away from La Paz and by September 20, 1869 had grown large enough to win a post office. The same year it was renamed Ehrenberg.:96
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 12.2 square miles (32 km2), of which, 11.9 square miles (31 km2) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2) of it (2.13%) is water.
Select the Right Paralegal Certificate Program near Ehrenberg AZ
Enrolling in the ideal paralegal degree program is a crucial first step toward your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have covered in this article, you have the option of attending classes at school or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Ehrenberg residence. Paralegal academic programs are made available in various lengths and formats. Different kinds of private and public institutions provide paralegal training, including community and junior colleges, four year universities and colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal school will have a pronounced influence on your prospects for success in your new career. Given that there is a wide range in the quality of schools, choose wisely. Afford yourself the greatest possible chance to be successful in this rewarding profession. But irrespective of how you decide to obtain your education and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have provided you will have the ability to review each program and make your final decision. And with the ideal training you can realize your career objective to become a practicing paralegal in Ehrenberg AZ.
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