How to Choose a Paralegal Studies Program near Youngtown Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Youngtown AZ and begin your journey that will lead to a gratifying profession in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s important that you find the right school so that you will get the comprehensive training that you require to succeed. As you most likely know, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more academic alternatives are being offered, both on campus and online. But with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one start? A number of prospective students begin by searching for paralegal schools within commuting distance of their Youngtown residences. Of those choices, they try to find the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are prime considerations when choosing a school, they are not the only factors you need to consider. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the program need to be taken into account too. Later in this article we will cover a list of concerns that you should ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can evaluate and compare each one prior to making your choice. But first, let’s take 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 basically both hold the same job positions and functions, just 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 classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants help attorneys in Youngtown AZ with a diverse array of job functions, such as legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job duties are relevant to the type of legal firm where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice might assist with trial logistics or delivering documents to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is typically billed by the hour as are the lawyer’s. And just like attorneys, they must perform with a high level of professionalism and comply with a strict standard of professional ethics. As stated, their responsibilities can be varied in support of the firms where they work, but a few of their daily activities can include:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on applicable cases and laws
- Composing correspondence and legal documents
- Submitting legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
- Assisting attorneys prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal documents, files and other records
With all of their duties, the job of a Youngtown AZ paralegal can be complicated and quite challenging. However, what they are not legally allowed to do is provide legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not limited to clerical or administrative functions more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And because they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, attorneys are able to handle a much larger number of clients or cases than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Training and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the academic prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The fastest means to begin your career in Youngtown AZ as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which may require as little as 6 months to accomplish. A large number of entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more extensive education and can be earned at numerous community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more comprehensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered as well. After you have obtained either a degree or a certificate, you may choose to continue and obtain a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Arizona to practice as a paralegal, certification can not only help boost your employment opportunities, but help substantiate 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 school (we will discuss the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two crucial first steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Youngtown AZ.
Online Paralegal Classes
Online paralegal schools have become more popular and can be an excellent option for those in Youngtown AZ searching for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online schools can be especially attractive to those who continue to work while earning a degree. As an additional advantage, online classes can often be less costly than on campus options. Even ancillary expenses for such items as commuting or study materials can be minimized or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet schools are accredited, which we will cover in greater detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the education you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make certain that the school and program you are looking into are accredited by a reputable agency, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less structured and formal environment, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Paralegal Schools
Since you now you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what academic options are offered, you can begin the undertaking of assessing Youngtown AZ area schools. But since there are numerous programs available at junior and community colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you need to learn what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is particularly true when you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like most prospective students, you will start by searching for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other crucial factors to think about as well, including accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over a few 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 school and program that you choose need to be accredited by a respected accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it may also receive 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 get will be of the highest standard, but it will show potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. A number of Youngtown AZ law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited school. Finally, financial aid and student loans are often accessible only for accredited programs.
What’s the Reputation of the School? Learn what the reputations and rankings are for the Youngtown AZ paralegal programs you are contemplating. This is of particular importance if you are new to the profession with no prior experience, since employers will have to rely on the quality of your education exclusively. Verifying that the program you select is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking 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 a few law firms that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask which schools they recommend. Keep in mind that even when a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an excellent reputation.
Does the Program Provide Internships? Internship programs give 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 creating contacts within the Youngtown AZ legal field. Find out if the paralegal schools you are reviewing provide internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering after graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new field can be challenging without support. Find out if the paralegal schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Campus Located? Since laws vary among states, it may be advantageous to select a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you plan to practice after graduating. In addition, it will be important to create relationships in the local legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is all the more reason to obtain your education in the area where you choose to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most require a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might wish to initially consider those colleges that are within your Youngtown AZ local region.
How Much is the Entire Cost? Paralegal schools can differ in price based on the credential received and the length of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only expense for your training. Don’t forget to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance might be available to help minimize some of the expense, so make sure to consult with the school’s financial aid office to see what is available in Youngtown AZ. Naturally if you opt to attend an online school, a portion these supplementary expenses, for instance for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Match your Schedule? Many paralegal students keep working while obtaining their training and require flexibility to schedule classes. If you can just attend weekend or evening classes near Youngtown AZ, 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. Finally, inquire what the protocol is for making up classes missed as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Youngtown AZ?
In 1954, two developers bought 320 acres (1.3 km2) of farmland and built the United States' first planned community dedicated exclusively to retirees. Designed by Ben Schleifer, the community was ironically named Youngtown. In 1996, the town, citing its age restrictions, denied extending the stay of a 16-year-old child to live in the community. In response, Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods investigated and determined that the age ordinance was unenforceable. In response, Youngtown repealed the age restrictions in 1999.
Youngtown is located at 33°35′41″N 112°17′56″W / 33.59472°N 112.29889°W / 33.59472; -112.29889 (33.594603, −112.298776), on the east bank of the Agua Fria River, just south of US 60. It is bordered on the west by El Mirage and on the east by the much larger retirement community of Sun City.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,010 people, 1,641 households, and 746 families residing in the town. The population density was 2,296.1 people per square mile (887.2/km²). There were 1,783 housing units at an average density of 1,360.1 per square mile (525.5/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 88.90% White, 1.36% Black or African American, 0.50% Native American, 0.60% Asian, 0.27% Pacific Islander, 7.24% from other races, and 1.13% from two or more races. 12.72% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 1,641 households out of which 7.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.5% were married couples living together, 8.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 54.5% were non-families. 50.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 36.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.74 and the average family size was 2.48.
Enroll in the Ideal Paralegal School near Youngtown AZ
Choosing the right paralegal training program is an essential first step to guarantee your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have addressed in this post, you have the option of attending classes on-campus or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Youngtown residence. Paralegal academic programs are offered in many formats and lengths. Different kinds of public and private institutions offer paralegal training, including junior and community colleges, four year universities and colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your choice of a paralegal school 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, choose wisely. Afford yourself the greatest possible opportunity to succeed in this exciting profession. But regardless of how you choose to obtain your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will be able to evaluate each program and make your final decision. And with the ideal training you can realize your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in Youngtown AZ.
Other Cool Cities in Arizona
Business Results 1 - 10 of 227