How to Choose a Paralegal Certificate Program near Berkeley California
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Berkeley CA and begin your journey that will result in a satisfying career in legal services. However, it’s important that you locate the ideal school so that you will get the comprehensive training that you require to achieve success. As you most likely know, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of academic options are becoming available, both on campus and online. But with so many alternatives to choose from, where does one start? Some prospective students start by searching for paralegal schools within commuting distance of their Berkeley residences. Of those alternatives, they search for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important considerations when picking a college, they are not the only factors you should take into consideration. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the school must be taken into consideration as well. Later on in this post we will cover a list of concerns that you must ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare each one before making your decision. But first, let’s take a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the academic 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 for the most part both fill the same job positions and responsibilities, only with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a separate job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist lawyers in Berkeley CA with a wide variety of job duties, including legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job functions are based upon the type of legal firm where they work. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice could help with trial logistics or transporting files to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is normally billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And the same as attorneys, they must carry out their duties with a high degree of professionalism and abide by a strict standard of professional ethics. As mentioned, their duties can be diverse in support of the firms where they are employed, but a few of their everyday activities may include:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on relevant laws and cases
- Preparing correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
- Assisting lawyers get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal files, documents and other records
With all of their duties, the role of a Berkeley CA paralegal can be involved and quite challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally authorized to do is provide legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But paralegals are not limited to clerical or administrative tasks more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the main support systems for lawyers. And since they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, lawyers have the ability to handle a much larger number of clients or cases than they could alone.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The quickest means to start your career in Berkeley CA as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which may involve just six months to accomplish. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more comprehensive education and may be acquired at many community colleges in 2 years. For an even more extensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option as well. When you have obtained either a degree or a certificate, you might want to continue and obtain a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in California to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help improve your job opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional also. A few 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 certificate or degree from an accredited school (we will address the advantages of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two crucial initial steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Berkeley CA.
Online Paralegal Degrees
Paralegal online programs have become more available and can be a good alternative for students in Berkeley CA looking for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online schools can be especially appealing to those who continue to work while obtaining a degree. As an additional benefit, online schools can sometimes be less costly than more traditional options. Even ancillary expenditures for such things as commuting or study materials can be minimized or eliminated. One caveat, not all online programs are accredited, which we will address in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the training you obtain is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the school and program you are considering are accredited by a reputable agency, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less supervised and formal setting, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Paralegal Schools
Once you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what academic options are offered, you can start the undertaking of assessing Berkeley CA area schools. But because there are numerous programs available at junior and community colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools, you must learn what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is especially true if you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs also. If you are like most potential students, you will begin by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other crucial aspects to think about as well, including accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over some of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are investigating so that you can effectively 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 respected organization 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 focuses on 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 demonstrate to future employers that you are a qualified professional also. Many Berkeley CA law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited school. Also, financial assistance and student loans are often accessible only for accredited programs.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Investigate what the reputations and rankings are for the Berkeley CA paralegal programs you are looking at. This is of special importance if you are entering the profession with no prior work history, since employers will have to make a decision based on the caliber of your training exclusively. Confirming that the school you select is accredited is a good first step. Checking 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 have an interest in working for after graduating and ask which schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even though a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the Program Offer Internships? Internship programs provide students an opportunity to experience working in a law firm or other legal establishment while remaining in school. They can also provide a means for students to begin creating contacts within the Berkeley CA legal community. Find out if the paralegal programs you are considering provide internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the paralegal schools you are assessing 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 great relationships with California legal services employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? Considering that laws vary from one state to another, it may be a good idea to enroll in a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you plan to work after graduating. Also, it will be valuable to cultivate relationships in the local legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is all the more reason to acquire your education in the area where you desire to practice. 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 first consider those colleges that are within your Berkeley CA local area.
What is the Total Expense? Paralegal schools can differ in cost depending on the credential received and the length of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expense for your education. Don’t forget to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance might be accessible to help offset part of the cost, so don’t forget to consult with the school’s financial aid department to see what is offered in Berkeley CA. Naturally if you choose to attend an online school, some of these additional costs, for instance for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students continue working while obtaining their training and need flexibility to schedule classes. If you can just attend night or weekend classes near Berkeley CA, make sure classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part time basis, confirm that the school you select provides that option. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making-up missed classes because of sickness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Berkeley CA?
Berkeley (/ˈbɜːrkli/ BURK-lee) is a city on the east shore of San Francisco Bay in northern Alameda County, California. It is named after the 18th-century Irish bishop and philosopher George Berkeley. It borders the cities of Oakland and Emeryville to the south and the city of Albany and the unincorporated community of Kensington to the north. Its eastern border with Contra Costa County generally follows the ridge of the Berkeley Hills. The 2010 census recorded a population of 112,580.
Berkeley is home to the oldest campus in the University of California system, the University of California, Berkeley, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which is managed and operated by the University. It also has the Graduate Theological Union, one of the largest religious studies institutions in the world. Berkeley is one of the most socially liberal cities in the United States.
The site of today's City of Berkeley was the territory of the Chochenyo/Huchiun band of the Ohlone people when the first Europeans arrived. Evidence of their existence in the area include pits in rock formations, which they used to grind acorns, and a shellmound, now mostly leveled and covered up, along the shoreline of San Francisco Bay at the mouth of Strawberry Creek. Other artifacts were discovered in the 1950s in the downtown area during remodeling of a commercial building, near the upper course of the creek.
The first people of European descent (most of whom were of mixed race and born in America) arrived with the De Anza Expedition in 1776. Today, this is noted by signage on Interstate 80, which runs along the San Francisco Bay shoreline of Berkeley. The De Anza Expedition led to establishment of the Spanish Presidio of San Francisco at the entrance to San Francisco Bay (the Golden Gate). Luis Peralta was among the soldiers at the Presidio. For his services to the King of Spain, he was granted a vast stretch of land on the east shore of San Francisco Bay (the contra costa, "opposite shore") for a ranch, including that portion that now comprises the City of Berkeley.
Enroll in the Right Paralegal School near Berkeley CA
Enrolling in the right paralegal educational program is an essential first step toward your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have covered in this article, you have the option of attending classes at school or you can participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Berkeley residence. Paralegal education programs are offered in many formats and lengths. Different kinds of private and public institutions offer paralegal education, including community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal program 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 carefully. Give yourself the greatest possible chance to be successful in this rewarding profession. But irrespective of how you decide to receive your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will have the ability to assess each program and make your final decision. And with the appropriate training you can achieve your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in Berkeley CA.
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Paralegal Specialist Certificate | National University
Generally, any course completed for any one Paralegal Specialist Certificate need not be repeated and will apply towards other Paralegal Specialist Certificates. Each certificate is tailored to include training in substantive legal analysis, drafting legal documents, and understanding procedural matters.
Paralegal Certificate Program - University of California, San Diego
Complete an ABA-Approved Paralegal Certificate in just 12 weeks live online. ... Credit from other University of California ABA approved programs is accepted (credit from other schools is accepted only by special permission). However, nine courses must be taken through UC San Diego Division of Extended Studies, regardless of whether the ...
Paralegal Studies Certificate Program | UCLA Extension
Approved by the American Bar Association, the Paralegal Studies Certificate prepares students for a career as a professional paralegal in a law firm, businesses, government, or nonprofit organization. The program fulfills educational requirements to work as a paralegal in California and is taught by UCLA School of Law-approved instructors.
Certificate Program in Paralegal Studies | UC Berkeley Extension
LAW X407 Paralegal California Procedures ... The UC Berkeley Extension online Certificate Program in Paralegal Studies is in compliance with California Business and Professions Code 6450 through 6456 regulatory standards for paralegal education. ... The University of California, Berkeley, is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and ...
How to Become a Paralegal in California
California Paralegal Certification Basic Paralegal Certification Requirements. Certification: A certificate from a program approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) or a certificate from a regionally accredited institution that had at least 24 credit hours focused on legal courses.; Age: 18 or older.; Licensure: There is no specific paralegal license in California.
Paralegal Studies | California State University, East Bay
Area of study: Certificate in Paralegal Studies. Ideal for: Anyone interested in working with attorneys in all areas of civil and criminal law as a paralegal and who wish to meet the educational requirements dictated by California Law. Current paralegals who seek to differentiate themselves with an ABA-approved Paralegal Studies Certificate.
Best Ultrasound Technician Schools in California – 2022
Accreditation: CAAHEP Program Type: Certificate Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) is one of the top-ranked community colleges in the country and winner of the Aspen Prize. This ultrasound technician school in California is spread over 74-acres and provides interactive classrooms, dedicated faculty and excellent support services for students.
ABA Approved Paralegal Programs by State and School
Paralegal Certificate Accelerated Program (post-bac) Paralegal Certificate Part-Time Program (post-associate) 9500 Gilman Drive, #0170P La Jolla, CA 92093-0172 Director: Julia M. Dunlap Telephone: 858.534.8164 Fax: 858.534.8130 paralegal.ucsd.edu. University of California, Santa Barbara Extension. Paralegal Certificate Program (post-associate)
CLS by BARBRI - Legal Studies Online
Job-ready Paralegal Certificate Course© starts at just $1,895 Learn about the law with the most affordable, flexible, and effective continuing education courses ... Course Finder Quiz. Find a course. The next online session begins August 22, 2022. Enroll Now! Our partner schools. We work with over 150 accredited colleges and universities ...
Paralegal Certificates - CLS by BARBRI
Earn your paralegal certificate online and be job-ready for a variety of in-demand roles in the legal field upon completion of our courses. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, paralegal careers are expected to grow much faster than the average — at a rate of 12% through 2030.