Find Paralegal Certificate Schools near Cochran GA 31014

How to Pick a Paralegal Certificate Program near Cochran Georgia

Cochran GA paralegal working with attorneyBest Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Cochran GA and begin your journey that will result in a satisfying career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s crucial that you locate the right school so that you will receive the extensive training that you need 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 options are becoming available, both at school and online. However with so many alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? A number of prospective students start by looking for paralegal schools within commuting range of their Cochran residences. Of those choices, they search for the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are necessary considerations when choosing a school, they are not the only factors you need to take into consideration. Things such as accreditation and the reputation of the school should be considered also. Later on in this post we will review a list of concerns that you must ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can evaluate and compare each one prior to making your choice. But before we do, let’s take a look at what a paralegal does and the educational choices that are offered to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.

What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?

Cochran GA law libraryParalegals and legal assistants for the most part both fill the same job positions and functions, only with different titles. On the other hand, 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 attorneys in Cochran GA with a diverse array of job duties, including maintaining client files, legal research, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job duties are relevant to the type of practice where they work. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm could help with trial logistics or transferring documents to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is usually billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And just like lawyers, they must conduct themselves with a high level of professionalism and abide by a strict code of professional ethics. As noted, their responsibilities can be diverse in support of the practices where they are employed, but a few of their day-to-day tasks might include:

  • Researching and fact checking cases
  • Conducting research on related cases and laws
  • Preparing correspondence and legal papers
  • Submitting legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
  • Assisting attorneys get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
  • Organizing and preserving legal documents, files and additional records

With all of their responsibilities, the job of a Cochran GA paralegal can be complex and very challenging. However, what they are not legally allowed to do is provide legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But they are not confined to clerical or administrative duties more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the main support systems for lawyers. And because they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, lawyers have the ability to handle a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could on their own.

Paralegal Training and Certification

law books and Cochran GA judge's gavelAs we discussed earlier, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the academic prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The fastest means to launch your career in Cochran GA as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which can require as little as 6 months to complete. Most entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more extensive education and can be obtained at many community colleges in 2 years. For an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option also. Once you have acquired either a certificate or degree, you might want to continue and receive a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in Georgia 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 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 school (we will cover the advantages of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken 2 essential first steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Cochran GA.

Online Paralegal Certificates

attending paralegal school online in Cochran GAParalegal online schools have become more prevalent and may be an excellent option for individuals in Cochran GA searching for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be especially appealing to students who keep working while obtaining a degree. As an additional benefit, online programs can in some cases be less costly than more traditional options. Even secondary expenditures for such items as commuting or study materials can be minimized or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet programs 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 caliber. So check to make sure that the program and school you are looking into are accredited by a respected agency, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less supervised and formal environment, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the ideal option for you.

What to Ask Paralegal Programs

Once you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what training options are available, you can begin the undertaking of assessing Cochran GA 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 know what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is particularly true when you include all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs also. If you are like most potential students, you will start by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already discussed, there are other significant aspects to think about as well, such as accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over a few of the questions you should be asking the schools you are investigating so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your ultimate selection.

Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you select should be accredited by a respected accrediting agency 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 targets distance or online education. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will obtain will be of the highest standard, but it will show future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Numerous Cochran GA law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited program. Also, financial assistance and student loans are usually available only for accredited schools.

What’s the Reputation of the School? Research what the rankings and reputations are for the Cochran GA paralegal programs you are looking at. This is of specific importance if you are new to the profession with no prior experience, since employers will have to rely on the quality of your education exclusively. Checking that the school you choose is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating reports, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm 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 recommend. Keep in mind that even though a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.

Does the School Sponsor Internships? Internship programs provide students an opportunity to experience working in a law firm or other legal operation while still in school. They can also offer an avenue for students to start establishing contacts within the Cochran GA legal field. Find out if the paralegal programs you are considering provide internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing after graduation.

Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the paralegal schools you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent 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 in demand.

Where is the Campus Located? Since laws differ from one state to another, it might be advantageous to enroll in a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you want to work after graduating. Also, it will be valuable to cultivate relationships in the area legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is all the more reason to obtain your education in the community where you wish to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many charge a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might want to initially look at those colleges that are within your Cochran GA local area.

How Much is the Entire Expense? Paralegal programs can differ in cost based on the credential obtained and the amount of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your training. Don’t forget to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid may be accessible to help reduce part of the expense, so be sure to consult with the school’s financial aid office to see what is offered in Cochran GA. Naturally if you choose to attend an online program, a portion these supplementary expenses, such as for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.

Do the Classes Accommodate your Schedule? Many paralegal students keep working while obtaining their training and require flexibility in class scheduling. If you can solely attend weekend or evening classes near Cochran GA, verify classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, confirm that the school you choose provides that option. Last, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Considering Paralegal School in Cochran GA?

Cochran, Georgia

Cochran is named for Judge Arthur E. Cochran and was incorporated on March 19, 1869. Judge Cochran was largely instrumental in developing this section of Georgia through his work as president of the Macon and Brunswick Railroad, now the Southern Railway. Once known as Dykesboro, Cochran was settled by B. B. Dykes, who owned the site on which the town is built. The earliest settlers located here to work in the turpentine industry.

Cochran is home to Bleckley County High School and Middle Georgia State University. Three properties in Cochran are listed on the National Register of Historic Places: the Bleckley County Courthouse in Courthouse Square, the Cochran Municipal Building and School at the junction of Dykes and Second streets, and Hillcrest at 706 Beech Street.

Cochran, originally known as Dykesboro, was settled in the 1850s by B. B. Dykes. It was renamed Cochran in 1869 after Arthur Cochran, a railroad official who brought the Macon and Brunswick Railroad to town. In 1912, Cochran was designated seat of the newly formed Bleckley County.[6]

Cochran operates under a Mayor-Council system of government, with the day-to-day business being handled by a city manager. The city manager is Richard Newburn. The Mayor is Billy Yeomans. The Police Chief is Christopher S. Coley, and the fire chief is Glenn A. Lord.

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Choose the Ideal Paralegal Program near Cochran GA

Selecting the best paralegal educational program is a crucial 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 attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Cochran residence. Paralegal academic programs are made available in many formats and lengths. Several types of public and private institutions make available paralegal training, including junior and community colleges, four year colleges and universities, as well as vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a profound influence on your opportunities for success in your new profession. Considering that there is a broad range in the quality of schools, choose carefully. Give yourself the best possible chance to succeed in this rewarding profession. But regardless of how you elect to obtain your education 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 final selection. And with the ideal education you can realize your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Cochran GA.

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