How to Find a Paralegal Certificate Program near Seligman Arizona
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Seligman AZ and begin your journey that will lead to a rewarding profession in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s important that you find the right school so that you will receive the extensive training that you need to be successful. As you probably know, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more academic options are becoming available, both on campus and online. But with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? A number of prospective students start by searching for paralegal schools within driving distance of their Seligman residences. Of those alternatives, they look for the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are necessary considerations when picking a school, they are not the only factors you should consider. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the school should be taken into account as well. Later on in this post we will cover a list of questions that you ought to ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can evaluate and compare every one before making your selection. But first, let’s have a look at what a paralegal does and the educational choices that are offered 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 the same job positions and responsibilities, 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 help lawyers in Seligman AZ with a diverse array of job duties, including legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job duties are relevant to the type of practice where they work. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm may assist with trial logistics or transferring documents to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is normally billed by the hour as are the attorney’s. And the same as attorneys, they must perform with a high degree of professionalism and abide by a strict code of professional ethics. As noted, their duties can be wide ranging in support of the firms where they are employed, but some of their everyday tasks might involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on related laws and cases
- Drafting correspondence and legal documents
- Filing legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Assisting lawyers get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal documents, files and other records
With all of their responsibilities, the job of a Seligman AZ paralegal can be complex and quite demanding. However, what they are not legally allowed to do is give legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not restricted to clerical or administrative functions more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the main support systems for lawyers. And because they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, lawyers have the ability to handle a much larger volume of clients or cases than they could alone.
Paralegal Education 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 requirements and job prospects will be the same. The fastest way to begin your career in Seligman AZ as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which may involve as little as 6 months to complete. Many entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more comprehensive education and may be acquired at many community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. Once you have earned either a degree or a certificate, you might choose to continue and get a certification. Although it is not a mandatory requirement in Arizona to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help increase your career opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. Some of the highly regarded certifying organizations 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 school (we will address the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken 2 essential first steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Seligman AZ.
Paralegal Online Schools
Online paralegal programs have become more prevalent and may be a good alternative for those in Seligman AZ looking for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online schools can be especially appealing to those who keep working while obtaining a degree. As an added benefit, online schools can sometimes be less costly than on campus options. Even supplementary expenditures for such things as commuting or study materials can be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all online schools are accredited, which we will cover in greater detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest caliber. So check to make certain that the school and program you are looking into are accredited by a highly regarded organization, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less supervised and formal environment, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Paralegal Programs
Since you now you have a better idea regarding what paralegals do and what training choices are offered, you can begin the process of assessing Seligman AZ area schools. But because there are so many programs accessible at community and junior colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you need to know what questions to ask so that you can compare 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 potential students, you will begin by searching for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously covered, there are other important factors to research as well, such as accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s take a look at some of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are researching so that you can properly vet each one and make your final choice.
Is the Paralegal School and Program Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you pick need to be accredited by a recognized accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it may also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will receive will be of the highest quality, but it will show potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. A number of Seligman AZ law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited school. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are often accessible only for accredited programs.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Learn what the reputations and rankings are for the Seligman AZ paralegal schools you are considering. This is of particular importance if you are new to the field with no prior work history, since employers will need to make a decision based on the quality of your education exclusively. Verifying that the program you choose is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating reports, including 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 what schools they recommend. Bear in mind that even though a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the Program Offer Internships? Internship programs offer students an opportunity to experience working in a law practice or other legal establishment while remaining in school. They can also provide an avenue for students to start developing contacts within the Seligman AZ legal community. Find out if the paralegal programs you are considering offer internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the paralegal schools you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Campus Located? Because laws differ among states, it might be advantageous to choose a paralegal school located in the state where you wish to work after graduation. Also, it will be valuable to establish relationships in the neighboring legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is even more justification to obtain your education in the community where you choose to practice. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many charge a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may wish to initially look at those colleges that are within your Seligman AZ local region.
What is the Total Expense? Paralegal programs can vary in price depending on the credential received and the length of training furnished. 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 as well. Financial assistance may be available to help offset some of the cost, so make sure to talk to the school’s financial aid department to see what is available in Seligman AZ. Naturally if you opt to attend an online school, some of these added costs, for instance for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Match your Schedule? Many paralegal students continue working while obtaining their training and must have flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Seligman AZ, make certain classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make certain that the program you enroll in provides that option. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making-up classes missed because of work, illness or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Seligman AZ?
Seligman is located at 35°19′42″N 112°52′27″W / 35.32833°N 112.87417°W / 35.32833; -112.87417 (35.328199, −112.874303), at 5,240 feet (1,600 m) in elevation, alongside the Big Chino Wash, in a northern section of Chino Valley. The wash is a major tributary of the Verde River. Seligman is a popular stopping point along Historic U.S. Route 66.
Originally, Seligman was called "Prescott Junction", because it was the railroad stop on the Santa Fe mainline junction with the Prescott and Arizona Central Railway Company feeder line running to Prescott, in the Arizona Territory. The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (AT&SF) had reached it in 1882. In 1886 it was renamed Seligman, after Jesse Seligman, one of the founders of J.W. Seligman Co. of New York, who helped finance the railroad lines in the area. The original feeder line to Prescott was replaced in 1891 by the Santa Fe, Prescott and Phoenix Railway with the Santa Fe mainline junction at Ash Fork instead.
Because of its flat land Seligman became a large switching yard consisting of many tracks, and served as a large livestock shipping center for the areas ranchers. It was also a terminal point for changing train crews between Winslow and Needles, who used overnight cottages in the town.
The "Havasu House" was a Fred Harvey Company Harvey House hotel and restaurant in Seligman, serving the Santa Fe Railway and local residents. It was named "Havasu" after the native Havasupai tribe of the area. Adjacent to it was the Santa Fe Depot and Reading Room. The Havasu Harvey House opened in 1905, closed in 1954, and was demolished in 2008.
Find the Right Paralegal College near Seligman AZ
Choosing the ideal paralegal degree program is an essential 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 attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Seligman residence. Paralegal training programs are offered in many lengths and formats. Various kinds of public and private institutions make available paralegal education, including community colleges, four year universities and colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal school will have a pronounced influence on your prospects for success in your new profession. Since there is a wide range in the quality of programs, choose carefully. Give yourself the greatest possible chance to be successful in this exciting profession. But irrespective of how you elect to acquire your education and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have presented you will have the ability to assess each school and make your final selection. And with the right training you can achieve your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Seligman AZ.
Other Cool Cities in Arizona