Find Paralegal Certificate Schools near Hartwell GA 30643

How to Pick a Paralegal Studies Program near Hartwell Georgia

Hartwell GA paralegal working with attorneyBest Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Hartwell GA and start your journey that will lead to a fulfilling career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s essential that you find the best school so that you will get the extensive training that you need to achieve success. As you probably understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more educational options are being offered, both on campus and online. But with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one start? Some prospective students start by looking for paralegal schools within driving distance of their Hartwell homes. Of those choices, they search 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 qualifiers you must take into consideration. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the program must be taken into account as well. Later in this article we will cover a list of concerns that you ought to ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can examine and compare each one prior to making your decision. But before we do, let’s have a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the instructional alternatives that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.

What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?

Hartwell GA law libraryParalegals and legal assistants basically 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 category. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist attorneys in Hartwell GA with a diverse array of job functions, such as legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job functions are relevant to the type of practice where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice could assist with trial logistics or transferring files to court. In private firms, the work of a paralegal is normally billed by the hour as are the attorney’s. And just like attorneys, they must conduct themselves with a high level of professionalism and adhere to a strict code of professional ethics. As noted, their duties can be wide ranging in support of the practices where they are employed, but a few of their routine activities may include:

  • Investigating and fact checking cases
  • Conducting research on related laws and cases
  • Drafting correspondence and legal papers
  • Filing legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
  • Assisting attorneys get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
  • Organizing and preserving legal documents, files and other records

With all of their duties, the role of a Hartwell GA paralegal can be complicated and quite demanding. On the other hand, what they are not legally allowed to do is offer legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not confined to administrative or clerical duties more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the right hand support systems for lawyers. And because they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, lawyers have the ability to manage a much larger number of clients or cases than they could alone.

Paralegal Training and Certification

law books and Hartwell GA judge's gavelAs we previously covered, paralegals are basically 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 launch your career in Hartwell GA as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which can involve as little as 6 months to accomplish. Most entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more extensive education and may be acquired at many community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more comprehensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are available also. Once you have obtained either a certificate or degree, you might want to proceed and get a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in Georgia to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help improve your employment opportunities, but help substantiate 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 degree or certificate from an accredited school (we will address the benefits of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 important first steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Hartwell GA.

Paralegal Online Degrees

attending paralegal school online in Hartwell GAParalegal online programs have become more prevalent and can be a good option for those in Hartwell GA looking for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online schools can be particularly appealing to those who continue to work while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an added advantage, online schools can often be less expensive than more traditional options. Even ancillary expenditures for such items as study materials or commuting can be minimized or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet schools are accredited, which we will cover in greater detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the training you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make sure that the school and program you are thinking about are accredited by a respected agency, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less structured and formal environment, then earning your degree or certificate online could be the right choice for you.

What to Ask Paralegal Colleges

Now that you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what training options are offered, you can begin the process of assessing Hartwell GA area schools. But because there are so many programs offered at junior and community colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you must learn what questions to ask in order to compare each one. This is particularly true if you include 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 commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already discussed, there are other significant aspects to think about also, for instance the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at several of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are researching so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your final decision.

Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will get will be of the highest quality, but it will show potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Numerous Hartwell GA law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited school. Also, financial aid and student loans are often available only for accredited schools.

What’s the School’s Reputation? Research what the rankings and reputations are for the Hartwell GA paralegal programs you are considering. This is of particular importance if you are new to the field with no previous experience, since employers will have to rely on the quality of your training exclusively. Confirming that the school you pick is accredited is a good first step. Checking 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 contact some law offices that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask which schools they recommend. Keep in mind that even though a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an exceptional reputation.

Does the School Offer Internships? Internship programs provide students a chance to experience working in a law firm or other legal establishment while still in school. They can also provide a means for students to begin developing contacts within the Hartwell GA legal field. Ask if the paralegal schools you are assessing provide internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering after graduation.

Is Job Placement Help available? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting 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 an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Georgia legal services employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and sought after.

Where is the School Located? Because laws differ from one state to another, it may be advantageous to select a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you plan to work after graduating. In addition, it will be valuable to build relationships in the area legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is even more reason to receive your education in the area where you wish to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many charge a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may need to initially look at those schools that are within your Hartwell GA local area.

What is the Total Cost? Paralegal schools can differ in price based on the credential earned and the amount of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expense for your training. Don’t forget to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance might be available to help offset part of the expense, so make sure to check with the school’s financial aid office to find out what is available in Hartwell GA. Of course if you opt to attend an online program, a portion these supplementary costs, for instance for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.

Do the Class Times Accommodate your Schedule? Many paralegal students keep working while obtaining their training and need flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend weekend or evening classes near Hartwell GA, verify classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make sure that the program you select provides that option. Last, ask what the procedure is for making-up missed classes as a result of work, illness or family obligations.

Considering Paralegal School in Hartwell GA?

Hartwell, Georgia

Hartwell is located in central Hart County at 34°21′10″N 82°55′52″W / 34.35278°N 82.93111°W / 34.35278; -82.93111 (34.352738, -82.931161).[7] It sits 4 miles (6 km) southwest of Lake Hartwell, which acquired its name from the city. Hartwell is in the Piedmont region of Georgia, or the Upland South, and lies 30 miles (48 km) southeast of the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains at Toccoa.

U.S. Route 29 passes through the center of Hartwell, leading east 7 miles (11 km) to the South Carolina border at Hartwell Dam on the Savannah River, and southwest 12 miles (19 km) to Royston. Anderson, South Carolina, is 23 miles (37 km) to the northeast via US 29, and Athens, Georgia, is 43 miles (69 km) to the southwest. Georgia State Route 51 also passes through Hartwell, leading north 7 miles (11 km) to Reed Creek and west 9 miles (14 km) to Bowersville.

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 4,469 people. There were 2,266 housing units. The racial makeup of the city was 61.33% White, 34.53% African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.62% Asian, 0% Pacific Islander, 0.33% from other races, and 1.77% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.07% of the population.

The median income for a household in the city was $29,128 and the median income for a family was $45,909. The per capita income for the city was $18,937. About 15.4% of families and 23.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.5% of those under age 18 and 20.6% of those age 65 or over.

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Choose the Right Paralegal Program near Hartwell GA

Selecting the ideal paralegal training program is a crucial first step toward your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have addressed in this article, you have the choice of attending classes on campus or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Hartwell home. Paralegal education programs are made available in numerous lengths and formats. Various kinds of private and public institutions make available paralegal education, including community and junior colleges, four-year colleges and universities, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal school will have a profound impact on your opportunities for success in your new career. Given that there is a broad range in the quality of programs, pick carefully. Give yourself the best possible chance to be successful in this exciting profession. But irrespective of how you decide to receive your education and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have provided you will be able to review each program and make your ultimate decision. And with the appropriate education you can achieve your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Hartwell GA.

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