How to Pick a Paralegal College near Clermont Georgia
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Clermont GA and start your journey that will lead to a gratifying profession in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s essential that you find the best school so that you will get the extensive training that you need to achieve success. As you most likely understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more educational choices are being offered, both at school and online. However with numerous options to choose from, where does one begin? Some prospective students begin by looking for paralegal schools within traveling distance of their Clermont residences. Of those alternatives, they look for the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are very important considerations when selecting a college, they are not the only factors you ought to consider. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the school need to be taken into account too. Later on in this article we will cover a list of questions that you need to ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare every one prior to making your choice. But first, let’s take a look at what a paralegal does and the instructional alternatives that are offered 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, just 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 assist lawyers in Clermont GA with a diverse array of job functions, including legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job functions are relevant to the type of legal firm where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm could assist with trial logistics or transferring files to court. In private firms, the work of a paralegal is normally billed by the hour as are the attorney’s. And the same as attorneys, they must conduct themselves with a high level of professionalism and abide by a strict code of professional ethics. As mentioned, their duties can be varied in support of the firms where they are employed, but a few of their everyday tasks might involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on applicable cases and laws
- Preparing correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
- Helping attorneys get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and managing legal documents, files and other records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a Clermont GA paralegal can be complicated and rather demanding. On the other hand, what they are not legally permitted to do is provide legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But paralegals are not restricted to clerical or administrative tasks more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, lawyers are able to take on a much larger volume of clients or cases than they could alone.
Paralegal Education and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The quickest way to start your career in Clermont GA as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which may require just six months to complete. Most entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more expansive education and can be acquired at many community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option as well. Once you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you may choose to proceed and receive a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in Georgia to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help maximize your job opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. 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 program (we will address the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two important initial steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Clermont GA.
Online Paralegal Degrees
Paralegal online schools have become more prevalent and can be an excellent option for those in Clermont GA searching for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online programs can be especially attractive to students who keep working while earning a certificate or degree. As an added advantage, online schools can sometimes be less expensive than on campus options. Even secondary expenses for such items as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all online schools are accredited, which we will discuss in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive is of the highest caliber. So check to make sure that the school and program you are looking into are accredited by a reputable agency, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less structured and formal setting, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Paralegal Degree Programs
Now that you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what educational choices are offered, you can start the process of assessing Clermont GA area schools. But since there are numerous programs offered at junior and community colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you must 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 degree and certificate programs also. If you are like the majority of potential students, you will start by searching for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other important issues to consider as well, including accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over several of the questions you need to 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 select need to be accredited by a reputable 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 targets distance or online training. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will get will be of the highest standard, but it will establish with potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Numerous Clermont GA law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited program. Finally, financial aid and student loans are usually obtainable only for accredited programs.
What’s the Reputation of the School? Find out what the rankings and reputations are for the Clermont GA paralegal programs you are contemplating. 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. Checking 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 contact several law offices that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask which schools they suggest. Bear in mind that even if a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could 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 operation while remaining in school. They can also provide a means for students to begin creating contacts within the Clermont GA legal community. Find out if the paralegal programs you are evaluating provide internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the paralegal programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Georgia legal services employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? Because laws differ from one state to another, it may be beneficial to enroll in a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you plan to practice after graduation. In addition, it will be necessary to develop relationships in the area legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is even more justification to receive your education in the area where you wish to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many charge an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might wish to first consider those colleges that are within your Clermont GA local area.
How Much is the Total Expense? Paralegal schools can vary in cost depending on the credential earned and the length of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only cost for your training. Remember to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance may be obtainable to help minimize some of the expense, so make sure to check with the school’s financial aid department to see what is available in Clermont GA. Needless to say that if you decide to attend an online program, a portion these additional expenses, such as for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Match your Schedule? A number of paralegal students continue working while receiving their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can only attend night or weekend classes near Clermont GA, make sure 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, find out what the process is for making-up missed classes due to sickness, work or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Clermont GA?
An early variant name was "Dip". A post office called Dip was established in 1892, and the name was changed to Clermont in 1905. The Georgia General Assembly incorporated the place in 1913 as the "Town of Clermont", with municipal corporate limits extending in a one-mile radius from the intersection of King and Main streets.
Clermont is located in northern Hall County at 34°28′38″N 83°46′27″W / 34.47722°N 83.77417°W / 34.47722; -83.77417 (34.477171, -83.774044).U.S. Route 129 passes through the town, leading north 9 miles (14 km) to Cleveland and south 15 miles (24 km) to Gainesville, the county seat.
As of the census of 2000, there were 419 people, 161 households, and 124 families residing in the town. The population density was 434.5 people per square mile (168.5/km²). There were 170 housing units at an average density of 176.3 per square mile (68.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.18% White, 0.95% African American, 1.43% Native American, 0.24% Asian, and 1.19% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.48% of the population.
There were 161 households out of which 34.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.4% were married couples living together, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.4% were non-families. 18.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 2.94.
Select the Right Paralegal College near Clermont GA
Enrolling in the ideal paralegal educational program is a crucial first step to guarantee your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have addressed in this article, you have the choice of attending classes on campus or you can attend them online in the comfort and privacy of your Clermont home. Paralegal academic programs are provided in various lengths and formats. Various types of public and private institutions make available paralegal training, including junior and community colleges, four year universities and colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a pronounced influence on your prospects for success in your new career. Given that there is a wide range in the quality of programs, pick wisely. Afford yourself the greatest possible chance to succeed in this rewarding profession. But no matter how you choose to obtain your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have provided you will be able to review each school and make your final decision. And with the appropriate education you can achieve your career objective to become a practicing paralegal in Clermont GA.
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