How to Choose a Paralegal School near Castro Valley California
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Castro Valley CA and start your journey that will result in a fulfilling profession in legal services. However, it’s crucial that you find the ideal school so that you will get the comprehensive training that you require to achieve success. As you probably understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more educational choices are becoming available, both on campus and online. However with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one start? A number of prospective students begin by trying to find paralegal schools within driving distance of their Castro Valley homes. Of those choices, they try to find the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are necessary considerations when picking a college, they are not the only factors you ought to take into consideration. Things such as accreditation and the reputation of the school must be taken into account too. Later in this post we will cover a list of concerns that you must ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare each one prior to making your selection. But first, let’s take a look at what a paralegal does and the academic 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 fill 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 separate job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants help lawyers in Castro Valley CA with a diverse array of job duties, including maintaining client files, legal research, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their specific job duties are based upon the type of legal firm where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm might help with the logistics of a trial or delivering documents to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is usually billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And just like attorneys, they must carry out their duties with a high level of professionalism and abide by a strict standard of professional ethics. As noted, their duties can be varied in support of the practices where they are employed, but a few of their daily activities may involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on related laws and cases
- Preparing correspondence and legal papers
- 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 responsibilities, the job of a Castro Valley CA paralegal can be complex and rather demanding. On the other hand, what they are not legally authorized to do is give legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal action. But they are not restricted to clerical or administrative functions more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the main support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, attorneys are able to manage a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could on their own.
Paralegal Education and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the educational prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The fastest means to begin your career in Castro Valley CA as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which may involve as little as six months to accomplish. Many entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more extensive education and can be obtained at many community colleges in two years. For an even more comprehensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. When you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you might want to proceed and receive a certification. Although it is not a mandatory requirement in California to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help maximize your job opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional also. A few of the highly respected 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 program (we will discuss 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 Castro Valley CA.
Online Paralegal Certificates
Online paralegal programs have become more available and can be a good alternative for students in Castro Valley CA searching for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online schools can be especially attractive to students who continue to work while earning a certificate or degree. As an additional advantage, online schools can in some cases be less expensive than on campus options. Even secondary expenditures for such things as study materials or commuting can be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will cover in greater detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure 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 organization, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less structured and conventional setting, then obtaining your degree or certificate online could be the ideal option for you.
Things to Ask Paralegal Colleges
Once you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what academic options are offered, you can start the process of assessing Castro Valley CA area schools. But considering that there are numerous programs offered at community and junior colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you need to find out what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is especially true when you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like many prospective students, you will begin by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already discussed, there are other crucial issues to research 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 programs you are considering so that you can properly vet each one and make your ultimate decision.
Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you pick should be accredited by a respected organization 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 training. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will receive will be of the highest standard, but it will demonstrate to potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Numerous Castro Valley CA law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited school. Finally, financial aid and student loans are typically offered only for accredited programs.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Research what the rankings and reputations are for the Castro Valley CA paralegal schools you are considering. This is of special importance if you are new to the field with no prior work history, since employers will have to rely on the caliber of your training exclusively. Verifying that the program you pick is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating services, such as those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help verify school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also call several law firms that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask which schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even when a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the School 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 provide an avenue for students to begin creating contacts within the Castro Valley CA legal community. Find out if the paralegal programs you are considering provide internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in a new profession can be challenging without help. Ask if the paralegal schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with California legal services employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? Since laws differ among states, it might be a good idea to enroll in a paralegal school located in the state where you want to work after graduation. Also, it will be important to create relationships in the neighboring legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is even more reason to receive your education in the community where you wish to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most charge an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might need to first look at those schools that are within your Castro Valley CA local region.
How Much is the Complete Cost? Paralegal programs can vary in price based on the credential obtained and the amount of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your education. Don’t forget to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid might be accessible to help minimize some of the cost, so be sure to talk to the school’s financial aid department to find out what is available in Castro Valley CA. Of course if you opt to attend an online school, some of these added expenses, such as for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Fit your Schedule? A number of paralegal students keep working while getting their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can only attend night or weekend classes near Castro Valley CA, verify classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part time basis, confirm that the program you enroll in offers that option. Finally, inquire what the process is for making up classes missed as a result of sickness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Castro Valley CA?
Castro Valley, California
Castro Valley is a census-designated place (CDP) in Alameda County, California, United States. As of the 2000 census, it is the fifth most populous unincorporated area in California[better source needed] and the twenty-third most populous in the United States. The population was 61,388 at the 2010 census.
With the arrival of Europeans, Castro Valley was part of the land granted to Mission San Jose in 1797. The area Castro Valley now occupies was part of the extensive colony of New Spain in what was the state of Alta California.
Castro Valley was part of the original 28,000 acre (110 km²) land grant given to Castro in 1840, called Rancho San Lorenzo. This land grant included Hayward, San Lorenzo, and Castro Valley, including Crow Canyon, Cull Canyon, and Palomares Canyons. Castro had a gambling habit and had to sell off portions of his land to pay gambling debts. The last of his holding was sold in a sheriff's sale in 1864 to Faxon Atherton for $400,000.
Atherton (after whom the city of Atherton is named) in turn began selling off his portion in smaller parcels. Two gentlemen named Cull (the namesake of Cull Canyon) and Luce bought some 2,400 acres (10 km²) and began running a steam-operated saw mill in Redwood Canyon. The Jensen brothers also bought land from Atherton in 1867.
Enroll in the Best Paralegal Program near Castro Valley CA
Choosing the best paralegal training program is an essential first step to guarantee your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have covered in this post, you have the option of attending classes at school or you can attend them online in the comfort and privacy of your Castro Valley residence. Paralegal training programs are made available in numerous formats and lengths. Various types of private and public institutions make available paralegal education, including community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your choice of a paralegal school will have a profound impact on your opportunities for success in your new profession. Considering that there is a wide range in the quality of schools, pick carefully. Afford yourself the greatest possible opportunity to succeed in this rewarding profession. But no matter how you decide to receive your education and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will be able to review each school and make your final decision. And with the ideal education you can achieve your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Castro Valley CA.
Other Cool Cities in California
Business Results 1 - 10 of 1600
Bing: California Paralegal Certificate Schools Search results
12 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.
Paralegal Online Program- Degree Overview | Penn Foster
Graduates of our accredited Paralegal Associate Degree qualify to sit for certification through the National Association of Legal Assistants Certified Paralegal exam. Becoming a NALA Certified Paralegal means you have successfully passed a rigorous examination of the knowledge necessary to be an effective paralegal.