Find Paralegal Certificate Schools near Barstow CA 92311

How to Select a Paralegal College near Barstow California

Barstow CA paralegal working with attorneyBest Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Barstow CA and begin your journey that will lead to a gratifying career in legal services. However, it’s essential that you find the best school so that you will receive the extensive training that you need to be successful. As you most likely understand, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of academic alternatives are becoming available, both on campus and online. However with so many options to choose from, where does one start? Some prospective students begin by trying to find paralegal schools within driving distance of their Barstow homes. Of those options, they search for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are prime considerations when picking a college, they are not the only qualifiers you should consider. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the program should be taken into account as well. Later in this article we will review a list of concerns that you should ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare every one prior to making your selection. But first, let’s have a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the academic options that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.

What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?

Barstow CA law libraryParalegals and legal assistants for the most part both hold comparable job positions and responsibilities, just with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a different job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist lawyers in Barstow CA with a diverse array of job functions, such as maintaining client files, legal research, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job duties are relevant to the type of legal firm where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm may assist with the logistics of a trial or delivering files to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work is usually billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And the same as attorneys, they must perform with a high degree of professionalism and comply with a strict standard of professional ethics. As noted, their duties can be diverse in support of the practices where they are employed, but a few of their everyday tasks might include:

  • Researching and fact checking cases
  • Conducting research on applicable laws and cases
  • Composing correspondence and legal documents
  • Submitting legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
  • Helping attorneys prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
  • Organizing and managing legal documents, files and additional records

With all of their duties, the job of a Barstow CA paralegal can be involved and quite challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally authorized to do is offer legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not limited to administrative or clerical duties more apropos 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 are able to manage a much larger number of cases or clients than they could alone.

Paralegal Programs and Certification

law books and Barstow CA judge's gavelAs we previously covered, 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 means to launch your career in Barstow CA as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which can require as little as 6 months to complete. Most entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more expansive education and may be obtained at numerous community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered as well. When you have obtained either a certificate or degree, you may choose to proceed and earn a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in California to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help maximize your employment opportunities, but help establish you as a professional also. Some of the highly regarded 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 cover the benefits of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 important initial steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Barstow CA.

Paralegal Online Certificates

attending paralegal school online in Barstow CAParalegal online programs have become more common and can be a good option for those in Barstow CA searching for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be especially appealing to individuals who keep working while obtaining a degree. As an additional advantage, online schools can sometimes be less expensive than on campus options. Even ancillary expenditures for such items as study materials or commuting can be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all online programs are accredited, which we will cover in greater detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps ensure 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 highly regarded agency, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less structured and conventional setting, then earning your certificate or degree online could be the ideal option for you.

Things to Ask Paralegal Studies Programs

Once you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what academic options are available, you can start the undertaking of evaluating Barstow CA area schools. But because there are so many programs available at junior and community colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you need to find out what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is especially true if you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree 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 crucial factors to think about as well, for instance the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at 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 final decision.

Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you choose need to be accredited by a recognized organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will obtain will be of the highest standard, but it will show potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. A number of Barstow CA law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited school. Finally, financial aid and student loans are usually accessible only for accredited schools.

What’s the School’s Reputation? Learn what the rankings and reputations are for the Barstow CA paralegal schools you are looking at. This is of particular importance if you are new to the field with no prior experience, since employers will need to rely on the quality of your education exclusively. Confirming that the program you choose is accredited is a good first step. Checking school rating services, such as those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help verify school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also call some law firms that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask what schools they suggest. Remember that even when a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.

Does the School Sponsor Internships? Internship programs offer students an opportunity to experience working in a law practice or other legal operation while remaining in school. They can also offer a pathway for students to begin establishing contacts within the Barstow CA legal field. Find out if the paralegal schools you are evaluating offer internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing after graduation.

Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the paralegal schools you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with California legal services employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.

Where is the School’s Location? Because laws differ among states, it may be advantageous to choose a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you want to practice after graduation. In addition, it will be valuable to create relationships in the neighboring legal community, possibly by means of an internship program. This is even more justification to receive your education in the community where you desire to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many require an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might wish to initially investigate those colleges that are within your Barstow CA local region.

What is the Complete Expense? Paralegal programs can differ in price depending on the credential obtained and the amount of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only cost for your training. Remember to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance may be obtainable to help reduce part of the expense, so don’t forget to talk to the school’s financial aid office to find out what is offered in Barstow CA. Needless to say that if you choose to attend an online program, some of these supplementary costs, such as for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.

Do the Classes Match your Schedule? A number of paralegal students keep working while getting their training and must have flexibility in class scheduling. If you can just attend weekend or evening classes near Barstow CA, 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 choose offers that option. Finally, inquire what the protocol is for making-up missed classes because of sickness, work or family emergencies.

Considering Paralegal School in Barstow CA?

Barstow, California

Barstow is a major transportation center for the Inland Empire. Several major highways including Interstate 15, Interstate 40, California State Route 58, and U.S. Route 66 converge in the city. It is the site of a large rail classification yard, belonging to the BNSF Railway. The Union Pacific Railroad also runs through town using trackage rights on BNSF's main line to Daggett 10 miles (16 km) east, from where it heads to Salt Lake City and the BNSF heads to Chicago. Barstow is about 15 miles (24 km) from Yermo, 25 miles (40 km) from Victorville, 62 miles (100 km) from Baker, California and 111 miles (179 km) from Primm, Nevada. Barstow serves as a halfway point for drivers who travel between Los Angeles, California (120 miles (190 km) southwest) and Las Vegas, Nevada (150 miles (240 km) northeast).

The settlement of Barstow began in the late 1830s in the Mormon Corridor. Every fall and winter, as the weather cooled, the rain produced new grass growth and replenished the water sources in the Mojave Desert. People, goods and animal herds would move from New Mexico and later Utah to Los Angeles, along the Old Spanish Trail from Santa Fe, or after 1848, on the Mormon Road from Salt Lake City. Trains of freight wagons traveled back to Salt Lake City and other points in the interior. These travelers followed the course of the Mojave River, watering and camping at Fish Ponds on its south bank (west of Nebo Center) or 3.625 miles up river on the north bank, at a riverside grove of willows and cottonwoods, festooned with wild grapes, called Grapevines (later the site of North Barstow). In 1859, the Mojave Road followed a route was established from Los Angeles to Fort Mojave through Grapevines that linked eastward with the Beale Wagon Road across northern New Mexico Territory to Santa Fe.

Indian troubles with the Paiute, Mojave and Chemehuevi tribes followed and from 1860 Camp Cady, a U.S. Army post 20 miles (32 km) east of Barstow, was occupied sporadically until 1864, then permanently, by soldiers occupying other posts on the Mojave Road or patrolling in the region until 1871.[15] Trading posts were established at Grapevines and Fish Ponds that supplied travelers on the roads and increasingly the miners that came into the Mohave Desert after the end of hostilities with the native people.[16]

Barstow's roots also lie in the rich mining history of the Mojave Desert following the discovery of gold and silver in the Owens Valley and in mountains to the east in the 1860s and 1870s. Due to the influx of miners arriving in Calico and Daggett, railroads were constructed to transport goods and people. The Southern Pacific built a line from Mojave, California through Barstow to Needles in 1883. In 1884, ownership of the line from Needles to Mojave was transferred to the Santa Fe Railroad. Paving the major highways through Barstow led to further development of the city. Much of its economy depends on transportation. Before the advent of the interstate highway system, Barstow was an important stop on both Routes 66 and 91. The two routes met in downtown Barstow and continued west together to Los Angeles.

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Enroll in the Best Paralegal Program near Barstow CA

Selecting the ideal paralegal degree 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 participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Barstow home. Paralegal training programs are provided in many lengths and formats. Various kinds of public and private institutions offer paralegal training, including community and junior colleges, four-year universities and colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a pronounced impact on your prospects for success in your new profession. Considering that there is a wide range in the quality of programs, pick wisely. Give yourself the greatest possible opportunity to succeed in this fascinating profession. But irrespective of how you choose to acquire your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have provided you will be able to evaluate each program and make your ultimate decision. And with the ideal education you can achieve your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Barstow CA.

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