How to Find a Paralegal Degree Program near Page Arizona
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Page AZ and start your journey that will lead to a satisfying profession in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s essential that you locate the best school so that you will receive the extensive training that you require to be successful. As you most likely know, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more academic options are becoming available, both at school and online. However with so many options to choose from, where does one start? A number of potential students start by looking for paralegal schools within driving range of their Page residences. Of those alternatives, they search for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are necessary considerations when selecting a college, they are not the only factors you must take into consideration. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the school need to be taken into consideration as well. Later in this article we will review a list of questions that you must ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare each one before making your selection. But before we do, let’s have a look at what a paralegal does and the instructional alternatives that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?
Paralegals and legal assistants basically both hold the same job roles and functions, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a separate job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants help lawyers in Page AZ with a wide range of job functions, such as maintaining client files, legal research, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job duties are based upon the type of practice where they work. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice could assist with the logistics of a trial or transporting files to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work is usually billed by the hour as are the attorney’s. And just like attorneys, they must perform with a high degree 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 regular tasks can involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on pertinent laws and cases
- Preparing correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal papers with the court or opposing counsel
- Assisting attorneys prepare for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and managing legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their duties, the job of a Page AZ paralegal can be complicated and very challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally allowed to do is provide legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not confined to clerical or administrative tasks more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the right hand support systems for lawyers. And because they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, attorneys have the ability to manage a much larger number of cases or clients than they could on their own.
Paralegal Training and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The fastest way to begin your career in Page AZ as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which may involve as little as 6 months to accomplish. Most entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more comprehensive education and may be obtained at many community colleges in 2 years. For an even more comprehensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are available also. Once you have acquired either a certificate or degree, you may choose to continue and earn a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in Arizona to practice as a paralegal, certification can not only help maximize 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 address the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two essential first steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Page AZ.
Paralegal Online Certificates
Paralegal online schools have become more common and can be a good option for those in Page AZ looking for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be particularly attractive to students who keep working while earning a degree. As an added benefit, online classes can in some cases be less expensive than more traditional options. Even supplementary expenditures for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will cover in more detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps ensure that the training you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make sure that the program and school you are thinking about are accredited by a respected organization, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less supervised and conventional environment, then obtaining your certificate or degree online could be the ideal option for you.
Things to Ask Paralegal Degree Programs
Once you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what educational choices are available, you can begin the process of evaluating Page AZ area schools. But since there are numerous programs available at junior and community colleges, as well as vocational and trade schools, you must know what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is particularly true when you include all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like most prospective students, you will begin by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously covered, there are other important aspects to think about as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at several of the questions you need to be asking the programs you are investigating so that you can effectively vet each one and make your ultimate selection.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you select need to be accredited by a recognized organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance training. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will get will be of the highest standard, but it will show future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. A number of Page AZ law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited school. Also, financial aid and student loans are often offered only for accredited schools.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Research what the reputations and rankings are for the Page AZ paralegal programs you are contemplating. This is of particular importance if you are entering the profession with no previous experience, since employers will need to rely on the caliber of your training exclusively. Confirming that the school you choose is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating services, including those furnished 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. Remember that even when a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the Program Sponsor Internships? Internship programs offer students an opportunity to experience working in a law office or other legal enterprise while remaining in school. They can also offer a means for students to begin developing contacts within the Page AZ legal community. Find out if the paralegal programs you are considering offer internship programs, particularly 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 getting that initial job in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Find out 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 indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? Because laws vary from state to state, it may be beneficial to select a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you plan to work after graduation. In addition, it will be valuable to establish relationships in the area legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is even more justification to acquire your education in the community where you wish to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most charge a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may wish to initially look at those schools that are within your Page AZ local region.
How Much is the Total Cost? Paralegal schools can differ in cost depending on the credential obtained and the amount of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only expense for your education. Don’t forget to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid might be obtainable to help offset some of the expense, so be sure to check with the school’s financial aid department to find out what is available in Page AZ. Naturally if you decide to attend an online program, a portion these additional costs, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? A number of paralegal students continue working while obtaining their training and require flexibility in class scheduling. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Page AZ, make certain classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select makes available that option. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making-up classes missed because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Page AZ?
Unlike other cities in the area, Page was founded in 1957 as a housing community for workers and their families during the construction of nearby Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River. Its 17-square-mile (44 km2) site was obtained in a land exchange with the Navajo Nation. The city is perched atop Manson Mesa at an elevation of 4,300 feet (1,300 m) above sea level and 600 feet (180 m) above Lake Powell.
After the dam was completed in the 1960s, and was officially incorporated (March 1, 1975), the city grew steadily to today's population of over 7,000. Because of the new roads and bridge built for use during construction, it has become the gateway to the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Lake Powell, attracting more than 3 million visitors per year. Page is also the home of two of the largest electrical generation units in the western United States. Glen Canyon Dam has a 1,288,000-kilowatt capacity when fully online. The other power plant to the southeast is the Navajo Generating Station, a coal-fired steam plant with an output capability of 2,250,000 kilowatts.
Page is located at 36°54′51″N 111°27′35″W / 36.91417°N 111.45972°W / 36.91417; -111.45972 (36.914296, -111.459717). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 16.6 square miles (43 km2), of which 16.6 square miles (43 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2), or 0.12%, is water.
Page has an arid climate (Köppen BWk) with hot, very dry summers and chilly winters with very little snow. It is located in the southern edge of the Great Basin Desert on the Colorado Plateau. It is very dry due to being in the rainshadow of the mountains of California and too far north to get consistent North American Monsoons.
Select the Right Paralegal Training near Page AZ
Enrolling in the right paralegal training program is an essential first step to guarantee your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have covered in this post, you have the choice of attending classes on campus or you can participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Page residence. Paralegal training programs are made available in many lengths and formats. Various types of public and private 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 profound impact on your opportunities for success in your new career. Since there is a broad range in the quality of schools, pick wisely. Afford yourself the best possible chance to succeed in this exciting profession. But irrespective of how you choose to acquire your education 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 goal to become a practicing paralegal in Page AZ.
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