Find Paralegal Certificate Schools near Prescott AZ 86301

How to Pick a Paralegal Training Program near Prescott Arizona

Prescott AZ paralegal working with attorneyBest Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Prescott AZ and begin your journey that will result in a gratifying career in legal services. However, it’s crucial that you find the best school so that you will get the extensive training that you need 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 educational alternatives are being offered, both on campus and online. But with numerous options to choose from, where does one begin? Some potential students begin by looking for paralegal schools within driving distance of their Prescott residences. Of those choices, they search for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are very important considerations when choosing a college, they are not the only qualifiers you ought to consider. Things such as accreditation and the reputation of the program must be taken into account too. Later in this article we will review a list of concerns that you ought to 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 what a paralegal does and the educational options that are offered to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.

What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?

Prescott AZ law libraryParalegals and legal assistants basically both fill comparable job roles and functions, just with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and are part of a different job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist attorneys in Prescott AZ with a diverse array of job duties, such as legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job functions are relevant to the type of legal firm where they are employed. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice could help with the logistics of a trial or transferring files to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work is normally billed by the hour as are the lawyer’s. And the same as lawyers, they must perform with a high degree of professionalism and comply with a strict code of professional ethics. As stated, their responsibilities can be varied in support of the practices where they are employed, but some of their regular activities can involve:

  • Investigating and fact checking cases
  • Conducting research on relevant laws and cases
  • Drafting correspondence and legal documents
  • Submitting legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
  • Helping lawyers prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
  • Organizing and managing legal documents, files and additional records

With all of their duties, the role of a Prescott AZ paralegal can be complicated and quite demanding. 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 proceeding. But paralegals are not restricted to administrative or clerical tasks more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the main support systems for lawyers. And because they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, attorneys have the ability to manage a much larger number of clients or cases than they could on their own.

Paralegal Training and Certification

law books and Prescott AZ judge's gavelAs we previously covered, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the educational prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The fastest way to begin your career in Prescott AZ as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which may involve as little as 6 months to complete. A large number of entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more expansive education and can be obtained at many community colleges in 2 years. For an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered as well. After you have obtained either a degree or a certificate, you may choose to continue and receive a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in Arizona to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help maximize your employment opportunities, but help establish you as a professional also. A few 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 degree or certificate from an accredited program (we will discuss the advantages 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 Prescott AZ.

Online Paralegal Certificates

attending paralegal school online in Prescott AZParalegal online programs have become more popular and can be a good alternative for students in Prescott AZ searching for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be especially attractive to individuals who keep working while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an added advantage, online programs can often be less costly than more traditional options. Even secondary expenditures for such items as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all online programs are accredited, which we will cover in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest caliber. So check to make certain that the program and school you are considering are accredited by a reputable organization, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less supervised and formal environment, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.

What to Ask Paralegal Schools

Once you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what academic options are offered, you can begin the undertaking of assessing Prescott AZ area schools. But since there are so many programs accessible at junior and community colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools, you need to learn what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is particularly true if you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like the majority of prospective students, you will start by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other critical factors to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over some of the questions you should be asking the schools you are investigating so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your ultimate selection.

Is the Paralegal Program and School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance training. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will receive will be of the highest standard, but it will show potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. Many Prescott AZ law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited school. Also, financial assistance and student loans are usually accessible only for accredited programs.

What’s the School’s Reputation? Investigate what the rankings and reputations are for the Prescott AZ paralegal programs you are considering. This is of special importance if you are entering the field with no previous work history, since employers will need to make a decision based on the quality of your training exclusively. Checking that the program you choose is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating services, 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 contact some law offices that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask which schools they recommend. Bear in mind that even when a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an excellent reputation.

Does the Program Sponsor Internships? Internship programs offer students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal establishment while attending school. They can also offer a pathway for students to start developing contacts within the Prescott AZ legal field. Ask if the paralegal programs you are considering offer internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering upon graduation.

Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that first job in a new field can be difficult without help. Ask if the paralegal programs you are considering 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 Arizona legal services employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.

Where is the School’s Location? Considering that laws vary from one state to another, it might be a good idea to choose a paralegal school located in the state where you plan to practice after graduation. Also, it will be necessary to establish relationships in the area legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is even more reason to acquire your education in the area where you desire to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many charge an increased tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might need to first look at those schools that are within your Prescott AZ local region.

What is the Entire Cost? Paralegal programs can differ in price based on the credential earned and the length of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only expense for your education. Remember to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid may be obtainable to help offset part of the expense, so make sure to consult with the school’s financial aid department to find out what is offered in Prescott AZ. Naturally if you decide to attend an online school, a portion these additional costs, such as for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.

Do the Classes Match your Schedule? A number of paralegal students keep working while receiving their training and must have flexibility in class scheduling. If you can only attend night or weekend classes near Prescott AZ, verify classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the program you choose offers that option. Finally, find out what the process is for making-up missed classes because of sickness, work or family emergencies.

Considering Paralegal School in Prescott AZ?

Prescott, Arizona

Prescott (/ˈprɛskət/ PRES-kət; Yavapai: ʼWi:kwatha Ksikʼita) is a city in Yavapai County, Arizona, United States. According to the 2010 Census, the population of the city is 39,843.[3] The city is the county seat of Yavapai County.[5] In 1864 Prescott was designated as the capital of the Arizona Territory, replacing the temporary capital at Fort Whipple.[6] The Territorial Capital was moved to Tucson in 1867. Prescott again became the Territorial Capital in 1877, until Phoenix became the capital in 1889.

The towns of Prescott Valley, 7 miles (11 km) east; Chino Valley, 16 miles (26 km) north; Dewey-Humboldt, 13 miles (21 km) east, and Prescott, together comprise what is locally known as the "Quad-City" area.[citation needed] This also sometimes refers to central Yavapai County in general, which would include the towns of: Mayer, Paulden, Wilhoit, and Williamson Valley. Combined with these smaller communities the area had a population of 103,260 as of 2007[update]. Prescott is the center of the Prescott Metropolitan Area, defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as all of Yavapai County.

Arizona Territorial Governor John Noble Goodwin selected the original site of Prescott following his first tour of the new territory. Goodwin replaced Governor John A. Gurley, appointed by Abraham Lincoln, but died before taking office. Downtown streets in Prescott are named in honor of each of them. Goodwin selected a site 20 miles (32 km) south of the temporary capital on the east side of Granite Creek near a number of mining camps. The territorial capital was later moved to the new site along with Fort Whipple, with the new town named in honor of historian William H. Prescott during a public meeting on May 30, 1864.[6] Robert W. Groom surveyed the new community, and an initial auction sold 73 lots on June 4, 1864. By July 4, 1864, a total of 232 lots had been sold within the new community.[8] Prescott was officially incorporated in 1881.[1]

Prescott served as capital of Arizona Territory until November 1, 1867, when the capital was moved to Tucson by act of the 4th Arizona Territorial Legislature.[9] The capital was returned to Prescott in 1877 by the 9th Arizona Territorial Legislature.[10] The capital was finally moved to Phoenix on February 4, 1889, by the 15th Arizona Territorial Legislature.[11]

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Choose the Right Paralegal Training near Prescott AZ

Choosing the ideal paralegal educational program is a crucial first step toward your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have addressed in this post, you have the choice of attending classes at school or you can attend them online in the comfort and privacy of your Prescott residence. Paralegal education programs are made available in numerous lengths and formats. Several kinds of public and private institutions make available paralegal education, including community and junior colleges, four-year colleges and universities, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal school will have a pronounced influence on your opportunities for success in your new profession. Given that there is a broad range in the quality of programs, pick wisely. Give yourself the best possible opportunity to succeed in this fascinating profession. But irrespective of how you elect to receive your education and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have provided you will have the ability to evaluate each program and make your final selection. And with the right education you can accomplish your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Prescott AZ.

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