Find Paralegal Certificate Schools near Hazlehurst GA 31539

How to Select a Paralegal Training Program near Hazlehurst Georgia

Hazlehurst GA paralegal working with attorneyCongratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Hazlehurst GA and begin your journey that will result in a satisfying profession in legal services. However, it’s essential that you locate the ideal school so that you will receive the extensive training that you require to achieve success. As you most likely know, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of academic choices are being offered, both at school and online. But with numerous options to choose from, where does one begin? Some prospective students start by looking for paralegal schools within driving range of their Hazlehurst homes. Of those alternatives, they look for the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important considerations when picking a school, they are not the only factors you must take into consideration. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the school should be considered as well. Later in this article we will review a list of concerns that you should ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare each one before making your decision. But before we do, let’s take 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?

Hazlehurst GA law libraryParalegals and legal assistants for the most part both fill the same job positions and functions, just with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and belong to a different job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants help lawyers in Hazlehurst GA with a wide variety of job duties, including legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job duties are based upon the type of legal firm where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice may help with trial logistics or transporting files to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work is usually billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And just like lawyers, they must carry out their duties with a high degree of professionalism and follow a strict standard of professional ethics. As noted, their responsibilities can be varied in support of the practices where they are employed, but some of their regular activities might involve:

  • Researching and fact checking cases
  • Conducting research on relevant laws and cases
  • Drafting correspondence and legal documents
  • Submitting legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
  • Helping attorneys get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
  • Organizing and managing legal documents, files and additional records

With all of their responsibilities, the role of a Hazlehurst GA paralegal can be complicated and quite demanding. On the other hand, what they are not legally authorized to do is give legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But they are not limited to clerical or administrative 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 ground work and preparation, lawyers are able to take on a much larger number of cases or clients than they could alone.

Paralegal Training and Certification

law books and Hazlehurst GA judge's gavelAs we previously covered, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the academic requirements and job prospects will be the same. The quickest way to launch your career in Hazlehurst GA as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which can require as little as six months to accomplish. Most entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more comprehensive education and may be acquired at many community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered as well. After you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you might want 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 boost your career opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional also. Some of the highly respected certifying organizations 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 program (we will address the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken 2 important initial steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Hazlehurst GA.

Paralegal Online Classes

attending paralegal school online in Hazlehurst GAOnline paralegal schools have become more available and can be a good option for students in Hazlehurst GA searching for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online schools can be particularly appealing to those who continue to work while earning a degree. As an added benefit, online programs can in some cases be less expensive than on campus options. Even secondary expenditures for such things as commuting or study materials can be minimized or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will cover in greater detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the education you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make sure that the program and school you are considering are accredited by a reputable organization, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less supervised and formal environment, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.

Things to Ask Paralegal Studies Programs

Since you now you have a better idea regarding what paralegals do and what training options are offered, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating Hazlehurst GA area schools. But because there are numerous programs available at junior and community colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you need to know what questions to ask so that you can compare each one. This is especially true when you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like the majority of prospective students, you will start by searching for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously covered, there are other critical issues to research as well, for instance the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over several of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are researching so that you can properly vet each one and make your ultimate selection.

Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will receive will be of the highest standard, but it will show future employers that you are a qualified professional also. A number of Hazlehurst GA law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited school. Also, financial assistance and student loans are usually available only for accredited programs.

What’s the Reputation of the School? Research what the rankings and reputations are for the Hazlehurst GA paralegal programs you are considering. This is of specific importance if you are entering the field with no prior work history, since employers will need to make a decision based on the caliber of your education exclusively. Verifying that the program you choose is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating reports, including those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call some law practices that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask what schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even when a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an outstanding 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 offer an avenue for students to begin creating contacts within the Hazlehurst GA legal community. Find out if the paralegal schools you are reviewing offer internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing after graduation.

Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the paralegal schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Georgia legal services employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.

Where is the School Located? Because laws vary among states, it might be a good idea to choose a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you want to practice after graduation. In addition, it will be valuable to build relationships in the local legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is even more reason to receive your education in the community where you wish to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most require a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might need to first consider those schools that are within your Hazlehurst GA local area.

What is the Total Expense? Paralegal programs can vary in price depending on the credential earned and the length of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your education. Don’t forget to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance might be obtainable to help offset part of the expense, so be sure to consult with the school’s financial aid office to see what is offered in Hazlehurst GA. Naturally if you decide to attend an online program, a portion these additional costs, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.

Do the Class Times Accommodate your Schedule? A number of paralegal students continue working while getting their training and require flexibility in class scheduling. If you can just attend night or weekend classes near Hazlehurst GA, verify classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the program you select makes available that option. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making-up classes missed as a result of sickness, work or family obligations.

Considering Paralegal School in Hazlehurst GA?

Hazlehurst, Georgia

At the census[2] of 2000, there were 3,787 people, 1,513 households, and 1,039 families residing in the city. There were 1,810 housing units. The racial makeup of the city was 68.55% White, 27.67% African American, 0.42% Native American, 0.74% Asian, 1.66% from other races, and 0.95% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.43% of the population.

There were 1,513 households out of which 30.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them; 44.7% were married couples living together; 19.8% had a female householder with no husband present; and 31.3% were non-families. 28.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.95.

In the city, the population was spread out with 26.2% under the age of 18, 9.1% from 18 to 24, 24.0% from 25 to 44, 24.8% from 45 to 64, and 16.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 85.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $24,306, and the median income for a family was $27,890. Males had a median income of $27,436 versus $18,304 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,996. About 21.1% of families and 26.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 40.0% under age 18 and 25.7% age 65 or over.

The location could not be found.

Select the Right Paralegal Program near Hazlehurst GA

Choosing the best paralegal training program is an essential first step toward your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have discussed in this post, you have the option of attending classes on campus or you can attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Hazlehurst home. Paralegal education programs are offered in many lengths and formats. Different types of private and public institutions provide paralegal education, including community and junior colleges, four year universities and colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a profound influence on your opportunities for success in your new career. Since there is a wide range in the quality of programs, choose wisely. Afford yourself the greatest possible chance to be successful in this fascinating profession. But regardless of how you choose to receive your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have provided you will be able to evaluate each program and make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate education you can realize your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Hazlehurst GA.

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