Find Paralegal Certificate Schools near Ellenwood GA 30294

How to Select a Paralegal Degree Program near Ellenwood Georgia

Ellenwood GA paralegal working with attorneyBest Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Ellenwood GA and start your journey that will lead to a gratifying career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s crucial that you find the best school so that you will get the comprehensive training that you require to succeed. As you most likely understand, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more academic options are being offered, both on campus and online. However with numerous options to choose from, where does one start? Some potential students begin by looking for paralegal schools within commuting distance of their Ellenwood residences. Of those options, they try to find the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are necessary considerations when selecting a college, they are not the only qualifiers you ought to take into consideration. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the program must be taken into account as well. Later in this post we will review a list of questions that you must ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can examine and compare every one before making your choice. But first, let’s take a look at what a paralegal does and the academic choices that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.

What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?

Ellenwood GA law libraryParalegals and legal assistants for the most part both hold the same job roles and functions, only with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and are part of a different job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist lawyers in Ellenwood GA with a wide range of job duties, such as maintaining client files, legal research, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job functions are based upon the type of practice where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm might help with trial logistics or transporting files to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is typically 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 comply with a strict code of professional ethics. As noted, their duties can be diverse in support of the firms where they work, but a few of their everyday tasks may involve:

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

With all of their duties, the role of a Ellenwood GA paralegal can be complicated and quite demanding. However, what they are not legally permitted to do is give legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But they are not restricted to administrative or clerical duties more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the main support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, attorneys are able to handle a much larger volume of clients or cases than they could alone.

Paralegal Training and Certification

law books and Ellenwood GA judge's gavelAs we discussed earlier, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The quickest means to start your career in Ellenwood GA as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which may take just six months to complete. Most entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more extensive education and can be acquired at numerous community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more comprehensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are available also. After you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you might want to proceed and get a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Georgia to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help maximize your career opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. Some 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 discuss the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 important first steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Ellenwood GA.

Paralegal Online Classes

attending paralegal school online in Ellenwood GAParalegal online programs have become more common and may be a good alternative for individuals in Ellenwood GA searching for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be especially attractive to those who keep working while earning a certificate or degree. As an added benefit, online programs can in some cases be less expensive than more traditional options. Even ancillary expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all online schools are accredited, which we will cover in greater detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest caliber. So check to make certain that the school and program you are thinking about are accredited by a highly regarded agency, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less supervised and conventional setting, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.

Questions to Ask Paralegal Studies Programs

Once you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what educational choices are offered, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating Ellenwood GA area schools. But because there are so many programs offered at community and junior colleges, as well as vocational and trade schools, you must learn what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is especially true if you include all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs also. If you are like most prospective 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 important factors to think about also, including the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over a few of the questions you need to be asking the programs you are investigating so that you can properly vet each one and make your ultimate choice.

Is the Paralegal Program and School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you enroll in need to be accredited by a respected organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will get will be of the highest standard, but it will demonstrate to potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Numerous Ellenwood GA law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited program. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are often offered only for accredited programs.

What’s the Reputation of the Program? Investigate what the reputations and rankings are for the Ellenwood GA paralegal schools you are contemplating. This is of specific importance if you are new to the field with no prior experience, since employers will need to rely on the caliber of your training exclusively. Checking that the program you pick is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating reports, 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 call several law practices that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask which schools they recommend. Keep in mind that even if a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an outstanding reputation.

Does the School Sponsor 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 provide a pathway for students to start creating contacts within the Ellenwood GA legal community. Ask if the paralegal programs you are assessing provide internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing upon graduation.

Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the paralegal programs 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 sizable networks and great relationships with Georgia legal services employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and in demand.

Where is the School’s Location? Considering that laws differ from one state to another, it may be a good idea to enroll in a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you want to practice after graduation. Also, it will be necessary to develop relationships in the local legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is even more justification to acquire your education in the community where you desire to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most charge a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may need to initially consider those schools that are within your Ellenwood GA local region.

How Much is the Entire Cost? Paralegal schools can differ in cost based on the credential received and the amount of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your education. Remember to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance might be accessible to help offset part of the expense, so don’t forget to check with the school’s financial aid department to find out what is available in Ellenwood GA. Of course if you opt to attend an online program, some of these supplementary expenses, such as for commuting, might be decreased 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 only attend night or weekend classes near Ellenwood 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 enroll in provides that option. Finally, find out what the process is for making-up classes missed as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.

Considering Paralegal School in Ellenwood GA?

Ellenwood, Georgia

Ellenwood is an unincorporated community in Clayton, Henry, Rockdale County and DeKalb counties in the U.S. state of Georgia. The community is a southeast suburb of Atlanta and is located along Interstate 675 and GA state route 42

The location could not be found.

Choose the Ideal Paralegal Degree Program near Ellenwood GA

Enrolling in the best paralegal educational program is an essential first step toward your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have covered in this post, you have the choice of attending classes at school or you can attend them online in the comfort and privacy of your Ellenwood home. Paralegal training programs are provided in various formats and lengths. Various kinds of public and private institutions make available paralegal education, 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 pronounced impact on your opportunities for success in your new career. Since there is a wide range in the quality of programs, choose carefully. Give yourself the best possible chance to be successful in this exciting profession. But no matter how you choose to receive your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have provided you will have the ability to review each program and make your ultimate selection. And with the right education you can achieve your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Ellenwood GA.

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