Find Paralegal Certificate Schools near East Ellijay GA 30539

How to Select a Paralegal Certificate Program near East Ellijay Georgia

East Ellijay GA paralegal working with attorneyCongratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near East Ellijay GA and start your journey that will lead to a fulfilling career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s essential that you locate the right school so that you will get the comprehensive training that you need to achieve success. As you most likely know, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more educational options are being offered, both at school and online. But with so many alternatives to choose from, where does one start? A number of prospective students begin by looking for paralegal schools within commuting distance of their East Ellijay residences. Of those options, they look for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important considerations when choosing a school, they are not the only qualifiers you must take into consideration. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the program must be taken into consideration too. Later in this post we will review a list of concerns that you must ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare each one prior to making your selection. But before we do, let’s take a look at what a paralegal does and the academic options that are offered to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.

What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?

East Ellijay GA law libraryParalegals and legal assistants for the most part both fill comparable job positions and functions, only with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and are part of a different job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist lawyers in East Ellijay GA with a diverse array of job duties, such as legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their specific job duties are relevant to the type of legal firm where they are employed. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice may assist with the logistics of a trial or transferring documents to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work is usually billed by the hour as are the lawyer’s. And the same as attorneys, they must carry out their duties with a high level of professionalism and comply with a strict standard of professional ethics. As mentioned, their responsibilities can be varied in support of the firms where they work, but a few of their day-to-day tasks can include:

  • Researching and fact checking cases
  • Conducting research on relevant laws and cases
  • Composing correspondence and legal papers
  • Filing legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
  • Helping lawyers prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
  • Organizing and maintaining legal files, documents and additional records

With all of their duties, the job of a East Ellijay GA paralegal can be complex and rather challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally authorized to do is provide legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not confined to clerical or administrative functions more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly 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 manage a much larger number of clients or cases than they could on their own.

Paralegal Education and Certification

law books and East Ellijay GA judge's gavelAs we discussed earlier, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic requirements and opportunities will be the same. The quickest means to begin your career in East Ellijay GA as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which may take as little as six months to complete. A large number of entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more comprehensive education and can be acquired at many community colleges in 2 years. For an even more comprehensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are available also. After you have earned either a certificate or degree, you may want to proceed and earn a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in Georgia to practice as a paralegal, certification can not only help boost your employment opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. Some 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 certificate or degree from an accredited program (we will discuss the benefits of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 essential initial steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in East Ellijay GA.

Online Paralegal Certificates

attending paralegal school online in East Ellijay GAOnline paralegal programs have become more common and may be an excellent alternative for students in East Ellijay GA looking for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online programs can be particularly attractive to individuals who keep working while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an additional advantage, online schools can sometimes be less costly than more traditional options. Even ancillary expenses for such items as commuting or study materials can be minimized or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will address in greater detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make certain that the program and school you are considering are accredited by a reputable organization, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less supervised and formal environment, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal choice for you.

Things to Ask Paralegal Schools

Since you now you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what educational options are offered, you can start the undertaking of assessing East Ellijay GA area schools. But considering that there are so many programs offered at junior and community colleges, as well as vocational and trade schools, you must know what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is particularly true when you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like many potential students, you will start by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other critical aspects to research also, for instance the reputation and accreditation 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 thoroughly vet each one and make your ultimate choice.

Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you choose need to be accredited by a highly regarded 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 online or distance training. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will obtain will be of the highest quality, but it will show future employers that you are a qualified professional also. Many East Ellijay GA law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited program. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are typically offered only for accredited schools.

What’s the School’s Reputation? Find out what the reputations and rankings are for the East Ellijay GA paralegal schools you are looking at. This is of specific importance if you are new to the profession with no previous experience, 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 an excellent first step. Checking school rating reports, such as those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also contact some law firms that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask what schools they suggest. Bear in mind that even though a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an excellent reputation.

Does the School Offer Internships? Internship programs give students an opportunity to experience working in a law firm or other legal enterprise while attending school. They can also present an avenue for students to start developing contacts within the East Ellijay GA 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 entering upon graduation.

Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new field can be difficult without support. Ask if the paralegal schools you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Georgia legal services employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.

Where is the Campus Located? Since laws vary from state to state, it may be a good idea to choose a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you wish to work after graduating. Also, it will be important to establish relationships in the area legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is all the more justification to receive your education in the area where you want to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many require a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may want to initially look at those schools that are within your East Ellijay GA local area.

How Much is the Total Cost? Paralegal schools can vary in cost depending on the credential obtained and the length of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only cost for your education. Don’t forget to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid might be accessible to help reduce part of the cost, so make sure to contact the school’s financial aid office to see what is offered in East Ellijay GA. Of course if you decide to attend an online school, some of these added costs, such as for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.

Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? Many paralegal students keep working while getting their training and need flexibility to schedule classes. If you can only attend weekend or evening classes near East Ellijay GA, make certain classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make sure that the school you enroll in offers that option. Finally, ask what the process is for making-up missed classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Considering Paralegal School in East Ellijay GA?

East Ellijay, Georgia

As its name suggests, it is just east of Ellijay, the site of a Cherokee settlement, one of several with the name. In the Cherokee language the name is properly rendered Elatseyi (abbreviated to "Elatse"), which can be translated as "green verdant earth", suggesting fresh-springing vegetation. It was variously spelled "Ellijay", "Elejoy", and "Allagae". In addition to the Cherokee town in Georgia, there were Cherokee towns of this name on the Keowee River in South Carolina, on the Little Tennessee River at Ellijay Creek in North Carolina, and on Ellejoy Creek of the Little River near present-day Maryville, Tennessee.

East Ellijay is located in central Gilmer County at 34°41′5″N 84°28′21″W / 34.68472°N 84.47250°W / 34.68472; -84.47250 (34.684668, -84.472434).[5] It is bordered to the north and west by the city of Ellijay.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.4 square miles (8.8 km2), all land. Georgia State Route 5/515, a four-lane bypass of Ellijay, runs the length of East Ellijay from north to south. U.S. Route 76 follows Routes 5/515 in the northern half of East Ellijay. The city of Blue Ridge is 15 miles (24 km) to the northeast, Jasper is 19 miles (31 km) to the south, and Chatsworth is 25 miles (40 km) to the west. Georgia State Route 52 runs southeast from East Ellijay 38 miles (61 km) to Dahlonega.

At the 2000 census,[2] there were 707 people, 251 households and 159 families residing in the city. The population density was 357.6 per square mile (137.9/km²). There were 265 housing units at an average density of 134.0 per square mile (51.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 68.60% White, 2.26% Native American, 2.97% Pacific Islander, 22.35% from other races, and 3.82% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 33.38% of the population.

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Choose the Best Paralegal School near East Ellijay GA

Enrolling in the right paralegal training program is an essential first step to guarantee your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have addressed in this article, you have the choice of attending classes at school or you can attend them online in the comfort and privacy of your East Ellijay home. Paralegal education programs are provided in numerous formats and lengths. Different types of public and private institutions offer paralegal training, including community and junior colleges, four year universities and colleges, as well as vocational and trade schools. Your choice of a paralegal school will have a profound influence on your opportunities for success in your new career. Given that there is a wide range in the quality of schools, choose carefully. Afford yourself the best possible opportunity to be successful in this fascinating profession. But regardless of how you elect to obtain your education 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 selection. And with the appropriate education you can accomplish your career objective to become a successful paralegal in East Ellijay GA.

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