How to Find a Paralegal Training Program near Edison Georgia
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Edison GA and start your journey that will result in a rewarding profession in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s crucial that you find the ideal school so that you will receive the extensive 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 increasingly more academic alternatives are becoming available, both on campus and online. But with so many options to choose from, where does one start? Many potential students begin by searching for paralegal schools within commuting range of their Edison homes. Of those alternatives, they search for the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are prime considerations when choosing a college, they are not the only factors you must take into consideration. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the school ought to be considered too. Later in this post we will review a list of questions that you need to ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can examine and compare each one before making your decision. But before we do, let’s have a look at what a paralegal does and the academic choices 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 comparable job roles and responsibilities, only with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a separate job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist attorneys in Edison GA with a wide variety of job functions, including legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job duties are based upon the type of practice where they are employed. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice may assist with the logistics of a trial or transferring files to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work is usually billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And the same as attorneys, they must perform with a high level of professionalism and abide by a strict code of professional ethics. As stated, their duties can be diverse in support of the practices where they work, but a few of their day-to-day activities might include:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on applicable laws and cases
- Composing correspondence and legal papers
- Filing legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
- Assisting attorneys get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and managing legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their duties, the role of a Edison GA paralegal can be complicated and quite challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally allowed to do is provide legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not restricted to administrative or clerical functions more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the main support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, lawyers are able to manage a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Training and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the academic prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The fastest way to launch your career in Edison GA as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which can require as little as six months to complete. Most entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more extensive education and can be acquired at many community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. Once you have earned either a degree or a certificate, you might choose to continue and receive a certification. Although it is not a mandatory requirement in Georgia to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help increase your employment opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional also. 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 degree or certificate from an accredited school (we will address the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two essential first steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Edison GA.
Paralegal Online Programs
Online paralegal schools have become more common and can be a good option for those in Edison GA searching for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online programs can be especially appealing to students who continue to work while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an added advantage, online programs can often be less expensive than more traditional options. Even secondary expenditures for such things as commuting or study materials can be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all online programs are accredited, which we will discuss in greater detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the education you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make certain that the school and program you are looking into are accredited by a highly regarded agency, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less supervised and formal setting, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.
Things to Ask Paralegal Schools
Now that you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what academic options are available, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating Edison GA area schools. But since there are so many programs available at junior and community colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools, you need to know what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is especially true if you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs also. 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 discussed, there are other critical aspects to think about as well, for instance accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s take a look at several of the questions you should be asking the programs you are researching so that you can properly vet each one and make your ultimate decision.
Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it can also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will receive will be of the highest quality, but it will demonstrate to potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. A number of Edison GA law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited school. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are typically accessible only for accredited programs.
What’s the Reputation of the Program? Investigate what the rankings and reputations are for the Edison GA paralegal schools you are looking at. This is of particular importance if you are new to the profession with no prior experience, since employers will have to make a decision based on the quality of your education exclusively. Checking that the school you pick is accredited is a good first step. Checking school rating services, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help verify school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call a few law offices that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask which schools they suggest. Remember that even when a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an excellent reputation.
Does the Program Offer Internships? Internship programs provide students a chance to experience working in a law office or other legal establishment while still in school. They can also present an avenue for students to start creating contacts within the Edison GA legal community. Ask if the paralegal programs you are assessing offer internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without support. Ask if the paralegal programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Georgia legal services employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? Considering that laws differ from state to state, it might be beneficial to choose a paralegal school located in the state where you want to practice after graduation. Also, it will be important to cultivate relationships in the local legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is even more reason to obtain your education in the area where you desire to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most charge an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may need to initially investigate those colleges that are within your Edison GA local area.
How Much is the Total Expense? Paralegal schools can differ in price depending on the credential obtained and the amount of training furnished. However, 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 as well. Financial assistance may be available to help offset part of the expense, so make sure to contact the school’s financial aid department to find out what is available in Edison GA. Of course if you choose to attend an online school, some of these additional costs, such as for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Accommodate your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students continue working while obtaining their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can only attend weekend or evening classes near Edison GA, verify classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make certain that the school you select provides that option. Finally, inquire what the process is for making-up missed classes due to sickness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Edison GA?
Edison is a city in Calhoun County, Georgia, United States. The population was 1,531 at the 2010 census. The Edison Commercial Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Edison is located in northwestern Calhoun County at 31°33′39″N 84°44′17″W / 31.56083°N 84.73806°W / 31.56083; -84.73806 (31.560891, -84.737984). It is 40 miles (64 km) west of Albany and 20 miles (32 km) east of the Alabama line at Fort Gaines.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,340 people, 512 households, and 334 families residing in the city. The population density was 575.9 people per square mile (222.1/km²). There were 584 housing units at an average density of 251.0 per square mile (96.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 31.94% White, 67.69% African American, and 0.37% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.27% of the population.
There were 512 households out of which 31.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.2% were married couples living together, 28.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.6% were non-families. 32.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.13.
Find the Right Paralegal School near Edison GA
Selecting the right paralegal degree program is an important 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 on-campus or you can attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Edison home. Paralegal education programs are offered in many formats and lengths. Different kinds of private and public institutions offer paralegal training, including community and junior colleges, four year universities and colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal school will have a pronounced impact on your prospects for success in your new profession. Given that there is a wide range in the quality of schools, choose carefully. Afford yourself the greatest possible chance to be successful in this exciting profession. But regardless of how you choose to acquire your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have provided you will have the ability to assess each program and make your ultimate decision. And with the right training you can accomplish your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Edison GA.
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