How to Select a Paralegal Training Program near Gordon Georgia
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Gordon GA and begin your journey that will lead to a gratifying profession in legal services. However, it’s essential that you locate the ideal school so that you will get the comprehensive training that you require to succeed. As you most likely know, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of educational choices are becoming available, both on campus and online. But with so many options to choose from, where does one begin? Some prospective students start by searching for paralegal schools within driving distance of their Gordon homes. Of those alternatives, they look for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are very important considerations when choosing a school, they are not the only factors you ought to consider. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the school must be considered also. Later on in this article we will cover a list of concerns that you must ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare every one before making your decision. But first, let’s have a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the academic alternatives 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 positions and responsibilities, just with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and are part of a separate job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist attorneys in Gordon 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 based upon the type of legal firm where they are employed. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice might assist with trial logistics or delivering files to court. In private firms, the work of a paralegal is normally billed by the hour as are the lawyer’s. And the same as attorneys, they must conduct themselves with a high level of professionalism and abide by a strict standard of professional ethics. As mentioned, their duties can be diverse in support of the firms where they are employed, but a few of their everyday tasks might involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on related cases and laws
- Composing correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
- Helping attorneys prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and managing legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the job of a Gordon GA paralegal can be complex and quite demanding. 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 proceeding. But they are not confined to administrative or clerical duties more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the main support systems for lawyers. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, lawyers have the ability to handle a much larger number of cases or clients than they could alone.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the educational requirements and opportunities will be the same. The quickest means to start your career in Gordon GA as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which can take as little as 6 months to accomplish. Most entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more expansive education and may be obtained at numerous community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered as well. Once you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you might want to proceed and obtain a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Georgia to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help boost your job opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional also. Some of the highly regarded certifying agencies 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 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 Gordon GA.
Online Paralegal Degrees
Paralegal online programs have become more prevalent and can be an excellent option for those in Gordon GA looking for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be particularly appealing to those who continue to work while earning a certificate or degree. As an additional advantage, online classes can in some cases be less expensive than on campus options. Even supplementary expenditures for such things as commuting or study materials can be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all online schools are accredited, which we will address in more detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the program and school you are reviewing are accredited by a respected organization, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less structured and conventional setting, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Paralegal Colleges
Now that you have a better idea regarding what paralegals do and what academic choices are offered, you can begin the process of assessing Gordon GA area schools. But considering that there are numerous programs offered at community and junior colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you need to learn what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is particularly true when you include all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs also. If you are like many potential students, you will begin by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously covered, there are other significant aspects to research as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over several of the questions you should be asking the programs you are considering so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your final choice.
Is the Paralegal Program and School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you select need to be accredited by a reputable accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance training. 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. Many Gordon GA law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited program. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are often accessible only for accredited programs.
What’s the Reputation of the Program? Research what the reputations and rankings are for the Gordon GA paralegal schools you are looking at. This is of particular importance if you are entering the field with no previous work history, since employers will need to make a decision based on the quality of your education exclusively. Confirming that the program you pick is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating services, such as those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also call several law offices that you may be interested in working for after graduating 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 Program Offer Internships? Internship programs give students an opportunity to experience working in a law practice or other legal enterprise while still in school. They can also present a pathway for students to start creating contacts within the Gordon GA legal field. Find out if the paralegal schools you are reviewing provide internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in a new field can be difficult without help. Ask if the paralegal programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Georgia legal services employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? Because laws differ from state to state, it might be advantageous to enroll in a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you plan 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 wish to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many charge a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might need to initially investigate those schools that are within your Gordon GA local area.
What is the Entire Cost? Paralegal schools can vary in price depending on the credential obtained and the amount of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expense for your education. Remember to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance may be accessible to help minimize some of the expense, so don’t forget to contact the school’s financial aid department to see what is available in Gordon GA. Needless to say that if you decide to attend an online school, a portion these added costs, for instance for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Match your Schedule? A number of paralegal students keep working while getting their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can only attend night or weekend classes near Gordon GA, verify classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you select makes available that option. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making-up missed classes because of sickness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Gordon GA?
Fort Gordon, formerly known as Camp Gordon, is a United States Army installation established in October 1941. It is the current home of the United States Army Signal Corps , United States Army Cyber Corps, and Cyber Center of Excellence. It was once the home of The Provost Marshal General School and Civil Affairs School. The fort is located next to Augusta, Georgia to the southwest of the city. The main component of the post is the Advanced Individual Training for Signal Corps military occupational specialities. In 1966–68 the Army's Signal Officer Candidate School (located at Fort Monmouth during World War II and the Korean War) graduated over 2,200 Signal officers. Signals Intelligence has become more visible and comprises more and more of the fort's duties.
The United States Army established many war-training camps during World War I. Chamblee, northeast of Atlanta, was selected for one of the state's largest army cantonments. It was named Camp Gordon in honor of John Brown Gordon, who was a major general in the Confederate army, a Georgia governor, a U.S. senator, and a businessman. The camp opened in July 1917, becoming a training site and home of the famous 82nd Airborne Division. The division was composed of men from several different states, but men from Georgia made up almost half its number. This camp was in operation until the sale of real estate and buildings was ordered in 1920. It was abandoned in September 1921. During WWI the US Army Camp Hancock was located in Augusta, Georgia in the general vicinity of the current Daniel Field. Camp Hancock was the home of the 28th Infantry Division from Pennsylvania. Camp Hancock was abandoned and turned over to a caretaker detachment March 27, 1919. From 1919 until 1941, there was no army installation named Camp Gordon in existence, nor was there an installation located near Augusta, Georgia. 
Camp Gordon was approved as the name for a WWII division training camp which began construction in July 1941. The U.S. War Department approved a contract to construct facilities on a new training area near Augusta, in Richmond County, Georgia that had been selected several months earlier. A groundbreaking and flag-raising ceremony took place in October. In response to the attack on Pearl Harbor Colonel Herbert W. Schmidt, camp commander, moved his small staff from his temporary office in the Augusta post office building to the unfinished headquarters building at Camp Gordon on 9 December 1941 and the 4th Infantry Division began to establish operations there.
The post was home to three divisions during the war: the 4th Infantry, the 26th Infantry, and the 10th Armored. From October 1943 to January 1945 Camp Gordon served as an internment camp for foreign prisoners of war. From May 1945 until April 1946 the U.S. Army Personnel and Separation Center processed nearly 86,000 personnel for discharge from the Army.
Find the Best Paralegal College near Gordon GA
Choosing the best paralegal degree program is an important first step to guarantee your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have discussed 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 Gordon home. Paralegal academic programs are provided in various formats and lengths. Several kinds of public and private institutions offer paralegal education, including community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a pronounced impact on your opportunities for success in your new profession. Considering that there is a wide range in the quality of programs, pick carefully. Afford yourself the best possible chance to succeed in this rewarding profession. But regardless of how you choose to obtain your education and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have presented you will have the ability to review each school and make your final selection. And with the appropriate education you can achieve your career objective to become a practicing paralegal in Gordon GA.
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