Find Paralegal Certificate Schools near Chickamauga GA 30707

How to Select a Paralegal School near Chickamauga Georgia

Chickamauga GA paralegal working with attorneyCongratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Chickamauga GA and begin your journey that will result in a satisfying career 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 probably understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of academic alternatives are becoming available, both on campus and online. But with so many alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? Many prospective students start by searching for paralegal schools within traveling distance of their Chickamauga homes. Of those choices, they search for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important considerations when selecting a school, they are not the only qualifiers you must take into consideration. Things such as accreditation and the reputation of the program ought to be considered too. Later on in this post we will review a list of questions that you must ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can examine and compare each one before making your selection. But before we do, let’s take a look at what a paralegal does and the instructional options that are offered to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.

What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?

Chickamauga GA law libraryParalegals and legal assistants for the most part both hold comparable job positions and functions, just with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and are part of a separate job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants help attorneys in Chickamauga GA with a wide range of job duties, including maintaining client files, legal research, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their specific job duties are relevant to the type of practice where they work. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice could assist with the logistics of a trial or transporting documents to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is typically billed by the hour as are the lawyer’s. And the same as attorneys, they must carry out their duties with a high degree of professionalism and adhere to a strict code of professional ethics. As stated, their responsibilities can be wide ranging in support of the firms where they are employed, but a few of their everyday activities might involve:

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

With all of their duties, the role of a Chickamauga GA paralegal can be complex and rather demanding. However, what they are not legally authorized to do is give legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not limited to administrative or clerical functions more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the right hand support systems for lawyers. And because they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, attorneys are able to handle a much larger number of clients or cases than they could otherwise.

Paralegal Education and Certification

law books and Chickamauga GA judge's gavelAs 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 educational requirements and opportunities will be the same. The fastest way to launch your career in Chickamauga GA as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which may take as little as 6 months to accomplish. Most entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more comprehensive education and can be obtained at numerous community colleges in two years. For an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option as well. When you have obtained either a certificate or degree, you might choose to continue and get a certification. Although it is not a mandatory requirement in Georgia to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help boost your employment opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. A few of the highly respected 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 address the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 essential initial steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Chickamauga GA.

Paralegal Online Programs

attending paralegal school online in Chickamauga GAOnline paralegal programs have become more popular and may be an excellent option for those in Chickamauga GA searching for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be especially attractive to students who continue to work while earning a degree. As an additional benefit, online schools can sometimes be less expensive than on campus options. Even supplementary expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated. One caveat, not all online schools are accredited, which we will discuss in more detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps guarantee that the education you obtain is of the highest quality. So check to make certain that the school and program you are considering are accredited by a reputable agency, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less supervised and conventional environment, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.

Questions to Ask Paralegal Colleges

Since you now you have a better idea regarding what paralegals do and what academic options are offered, you can start the process of assessing Chickamauga GA area schools. But because there are numerous programs offered at junior and community colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you need to know what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is particularly true when you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree 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 critical issues to research also, including the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at some of the questions you should be asking the programs you are researching so that you can effectively vet each one and make your final selection.

Is the Paralegal School and Program Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you pick should be accredited by a respected accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it might also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online training. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will obtain will be of the highest standard, but it will demonstrate to future employers that you are a qualified professional also. Numerous Chickamauga GA law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited school. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are typically offered only for accredited schools.

What’s the Reputation of the Program? Investigate what the reputations and rankings are for the Chickamauga GA paralegal programs you are considering. This is of particular importance if you are entering the profession with no previous work history, since employers will have to make a decision based on the quality of your training exclusively. Verifying that the program you choose is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating services, such as those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine 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 recommend. Remember that even though a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an excellent reputation.

Does the Program Sponsor Internships? Internship programs provide students an opportunity to experience working in a law office or other legal operation while remaining in school. They can also provide a means for students to begin establishing contacts within the Chickamauga GA legal field. Find out if the paralegal schools you are assessing provide internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing upon graduation.

Is Job Placement Help available? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the paralegal schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Georgia legal services employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.

Where is the School Located? Since laws differ among states, it may be advantageous to choose a paralegal school located in the state where you wish to practice after graduating. In addition, it will be valuable to build relationships in the local legal community, possibly by means of an internship program. This is all the more reason to acquire your education in the area where you choose to practice. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most charge a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might want to first investigate those schools that are within your Chickamauga GA local area.

How Much is the Entire Expense? Paralegal schools can differ in price depending on the credential received and the length of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your training. Remember to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid might be accessible to help offset part of the expense, so be sure to check with the school’s financial aid department to find out what is available in Chickamauga GA. Needless to say that if you choose to attend an online program, a portion these supplementary costs, for instance for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.

Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students keep working while obtaining their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can just attend weekend or evening classes near Chickamauga GA, make sure classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you enroll in provides that option. Last, inquire what the process is for making-up missed classes due to work, illness or family obligations.

Considering Paralegal School in Chickamauga GA?

Chickamauga, Georgia

Before the 1800s, the Chickamauga-Cherokee settled around Chickamauga Creek, where they farmed and hunted the lands. They stayed there until their forced exodus during the Trail of Tears (1838). In the early to mid-19th century, the present town of Chickamauga was a large plantation in the rolling hills of north Georgia. When the Cherokee Nation was divided into districts and courts in 1820, Crawfish Springs was made the capital of the new Chickamauga District. After the Cherokee removal, the first court in Walker County was held there in the former Cherokee courthouse. The local post office was Crawfish Springs.[4]

During the War of 1812, 500 Cherokee warriors from the area fought alongside General Andrew Jackson at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, against the Creek Indians, who were aligned with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The battle ended in a victory for the Americans.

The Lee and Gordon families greatly influenced Chickamauga's post-Cherokee history. In 1836 Gwinnett County native James Gordon established a plantation at Crawfish Springs and built a grist mill two miles east of town, on Chickamauga Creek. Lee and Gordon's Mill, which contained the area's first general store, was situated near a blacksmith shop and stagecoach stop. From 1840 to 1847, Gordon built his Doric-columned brick house (known today as the Gordon-Lee Mansion), which overlooks Crawfish Springs.[5]

The area was settled by many other farm families and life was busy and fruitful in the fertile valleys, until even this remote part of the South was visited by the sounds of cannon and guns during the American Civil War. The Battle of Chickamauga, named for nearby Chickamauga Creek, was fought on September 19–20, 1863. It involved more than 150,000 soldiers of the Northern and Southern armies. Before the battle, Union Gen. William Rosecrans put his headquarters at the Gordon Lee Mansion. During the battle, wounded and injured soldiers were cared for in the home and nearby buildings. Many Union doctors remained behind to care for their patients after the Southern victory. Parched soldiers of both sides drank from the town's namesake springs.[6]

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Select the Best Paralegal Degree Program near Chickamauga GA

Enrolling in the right paralegal training program is an important first step toward your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have discussed in this article, you have the choice of attending classes on campus or you can participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Chickamauga residence. Paralegal education programs are provided in numerous formats and lengths. Various types 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 choice of a paralegal program will have a profound influence on your opportunities for success in your new career. Since there is a broad range in the quality of schools, choose wisely. Afford yourself the best possible opportunity to be successful in this rewarding profession. But regardless of how you choose to acquire your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will be able to examine each program and make your final selection. And with the appropriate training you can accomplish your career objective to become a practicing paralegal in Chickamauga GA.

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