How to Pick a Paralegal Degree Program near Franklin Springs Georgia
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Franklin Springs GA and begin your journey that will lead to a fulfilling career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s essential that you locate the ideal school so that you will get the extensive training that you require to achieve success. As you probably understand, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more educational alternatives are being offered, both at school and online. But with numerous options to choose from, where does one start? Many prospective students begin by searching for paralegal schools within commuting range of their Franklin Springs residences. Of those alternatives, they try to find the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are very important considerations when choosing a college, they are not the only factors you should consider. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the school must be taken into consideration also. Later on in this article we will cover a list of questions that you ought to ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can examine and compare each one prior to making your choice. But before we do, let’s take a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the academic options that are available 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 functions, just 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 assist attorneys in Franklin Springs GA with a wide variety of job functions, including legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job functions are based upon the type of practice where they are employed. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm may assist with the logistics of a trial or transporting documents to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is typically billed by the hour as are the lawyer’s. And just like lawyers, they must perform with a high level of professionalism and comply with a strict code of professional ethics. As stated, their responsibilities can be varied in support of the practices where they are employed, but a few of their regular tasks may include:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Researching applicable laws and cases
- Composing correspondence and legal documents
- Filing legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Assisting attorneys prepare 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 Franklin Springs GA paralegal can be involved and very demanding. However, what they are not legally allowed to do is offer legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not restricted to administrative or clerical tasks more apropos 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 preparation and ground work, lawyers are able to handle a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the educational prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The fastest way to start your career in Franklin Springs GA as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which may involve as little as six months to accomplish. A large number of entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more comprehensive education and may be acquired at numerous community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option as well. When you have earned either a degree or a certificate, you might want to continue and obtain a certification. Although it is not a mandatory requirement in Georgia to practice as a paralegal, certification can not only help boost your job opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. A few of the highly regarded 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 cover the benefits of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken two crucial first steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Franklin Springs GA.
Paralegal Online Schools
Online paralegal schools have become more available and can be a good option for those in Franklin Springs GA looking for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online schools can be particularly attractive to individuals who keep working while earning a certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, online classes can in some cases be less costly than more traditional options. Even supplementary expenditures for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated. One caveat, not all online programs are accredited, which we will cover in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the education you obtain is of the highest quality. So check to make certain that the school and program you are reviewing are accredited by a respected organization, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less structured and conventional setting, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.
Things to Ask Paralegal Colleges
Once you have a better idea regarding what paralegals do and what academic choices are offered, you can begin the undertaking of assessing Franklin Springs GA area schools. But considering that there are so many programs offered at community and junior colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you need to 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 commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already discussed, there are other crucial issues to consider as well, for instance accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over some of the questions you should be asking the schools you are investigating so that you can properly vet each one and make your final selection.
Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you enroll in need to be accredited by a highly regarded 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 focuses on online or distance training. 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 also. A number of Franklin Springs GA law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited school. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are often obtainable only for accredited programs.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Research what the rankings and reputations are for the Franklin Springs GA paralegal schools you are looking at. This is of specific importance if you are new to the profession with no previous work history, since employers will have to rely on the quality of your training exclusively. Verifying that the school you choose is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating services, such as those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also call a few law offices that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask which schools they suggest. Bear in mind that even when a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the School Provide Internships? Internship programs offer students an opportunity to experience working in a law firm or other legal establishment while still in school. They can also provide a pathway for students to begin establishing contacts within the Franklin Springs GA legal field. Find out if the paralegal programs you are considering offer internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the paralegal programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid 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 students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School’s Location? Considering that laws differ among states, it may be a good idea to select a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you want to work after graduating. Also, it will be important to establish relationships in the local legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is all the more reason to receive your education in the area where you desire to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most require a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may wish to initially investigate those colleges that are within your Franklin Springs GA local area.
What is the Entire Cost? Paralegal programs can vary in price depending on the credential received and the amount of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only expense for your education. Don’t forget to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid may be obtainable to help reduce part of the expense, so don’t forget to consult with the school’s financial aid office to find out what is offered in Franklin Springs GA. Of course if you decide to attend an online program, some of these added expenses, for instance for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Accommodate your Schedule? A number of paralegal students keep working while getting their training and require flexibility in class scheduling. If you can just attend weekend or evening classes near Franklin Springs GA, verify classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, confirm that the school you enroll in offers that option. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed as a result of sickness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Franklin Springs GA?
Franklin Springs, Georgia
Franklin Springs is located in southeastern Franklin County at 34°17′5″N 83°8′36″W / 34.28472°N 83.14333°W / 34.28472; -83.14333 (34.284598, -83.143402). It is bordered to the east by Royston. U.S. Route 29 passes through the center of the city, leading east 2 miles (3 km) to the center of Royston and southwest 28 miles (45 km) to Athens. Carnesville, the Franklin County seat, is 9 miles (14 km) to the northwest via Georgia State Route 145.
As of the census of 2000, there were 762 people, 208 households, and 133 families residing in the city. The population density was 363.6 people per square mile (140.1/km²). There were 227 housing units at an average density of 108.3/sq mi (41.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 89.90% White, 6.82% African American, 1.71% Asian, 0.92% from other races, and 0.66% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.44% of the population.
There were 208 households out of which 23.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.2% were married couples living together, 4.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.6% were non-families. 30.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 2.93.
In the city, the population was spread out with 11.2% under the age of 18, 44.1% from 18 to 24, 13.3% from 25 to 44, 16.5% from 45 to 64, and 15.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 22 years. For every 100 females there were 76.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.8 males.
Enroll in the Ideal Paralegal Certificate Program near Franklin Springs GA
Selecting the best paralegal educational program is a vital first step toward your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have addressed in this post, you have the option of attending classes at school or you can attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Franklin Springs residence. Paralegal academic programs are made available in numerous formats and lengths. Several kinds of private and public institutions provide paralegal education, including community and junior colleges, four year universities and colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a profound influence on your prospects for success in your new career. Since there is a wide range in the quality of schools, pick carefully. Give yourself the greatest possible chance to succeed in this rewarding profession. But irrespective of how you choose to acquire your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have provided you will have the ability to assess each school and make your ultimate selection. And with the ideal education you can accomplish your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in Franklin Springs GA.
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