Find Paralegal Certificate Schools near Hephzibah GA 30815

How to Select a Paralegal Degree Program near Hephzibah Georgia

Hephzibah GA paralegal working with attorneyCongratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Hephzibah GA and start your journey that will result in a satisfying profession in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s essential that you find the ideal school so that you will receive the extensive training that you require to be successful. As you probably understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more academic options are being offered, both at school and online. However with so many alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? Some potential students start by searching for paralegal schools within commuting range of their Hephzibah homes. Of those options, they look for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are prime considerations when choosing a college, they are not the only qualifiers you must take into consideration. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the school must be taken into account too. Later on in this article we will review a list of questions that you should ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can evaluate and compare each one prior to making your decision. 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?

Hephzibah GA law libraryParalegals and legal assistants for the most part both hold the same job roles and responsibilities, only with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a separate job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist lawyers in Hephzibah GA with a wide variety of job functions, such as legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job duties are relevant to the type of practice where they work. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm might help with the logistics of a trial 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 just like attorneys, they must conduct themselves with a high level of professionalism and follow a strict standard of professional ethics. As noted, their responsibilities can be varied in support of the firms where they work, but some of their day-to-day tasks might involve:

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

With all of their responsibilities, the role of a Hephzibah GA paralegal can be involved and rather demanding. However, what they are not legally authorized to do is offer legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But they are not confined to administrative or clerical duties more apropos 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, attorneys are able to manage a much larger number of cases or clients than they could alone.

Paralegal Training and Certification

law books and Hephzibah GA judge's gavelAs we discussed earlier, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the educational requirements and job prospects will be the same. The fastest way to launch your career in Hephzibah GA as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which can require as little as six months to accomplish. Most entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more expansive education and can be obtained at many community colleges in 2 years. For an even more comprehensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. When you have earned either a degree or a certificate, you might want to proceed and receive a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in Georgia to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help improve your job opportunities, but help establish you as a professional also. A few of the highly respected certifying agencies 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 program (we will address the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken two important initial steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Hephzibah GA.

Online Paralegal Schools

attending paralegal school online in Hephzibah GAOnline paralegal schools have become more popular and can be an excellent alternative for those in Hephzibah GA looking for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be especially attractive to individuals who keep working while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an added benefit, online schools can sometimes be less expensive than more traditional options. Even ancillary expenditures for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will address in more detail later. But at the very least 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 thinking about are accredited by a reputable agency, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less structured and conventional environment, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal choice for you.

What to Ask Paralegal Degree Programs

Since you now you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what academic options are offered, you can begin the process of assessing Hephzibah GA area schools. But because there are numerous programs available at community and junior colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you need to learn what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is particularly true if you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs also. If you are like most potential 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 issues to research as well, for instance the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over some of the questions you should be asking the programs you are investigating so that you can properly vet each one and make your ultimate decision.

Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you choose need to be accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it may also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will obtain will be of the highest quality, but it will demonstrate to potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Many Hephzibah GA law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited school. Finally, financial aid and student loans are typically obtainable only for accredited programs.

What’s the School’s Reputation? Research what the reputations and rankings are for the Hephzibah GA paralegal schools you are looking at. This is of specific importance if you are entering the profession with no prior work history, since employers will need to make a decision based on the caliber of your training exclusively. Confirming that the school you select is accredited is a good first step. Checking school rating reports, 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 several law firms that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask which schools they recommend. Bear in mind that even if a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an excellent reputation.

Does the School Provide Internships? Internship programs provide students an opportunity to experience working in a law office or other legal enterprise while remaining in school. They can also offer a pathway for students to start developing contacts within the Hephzibah GA legal field. Ask if the paralegal programs you are reviewing offer internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering after graduation.

Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the paralegal programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial 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 Located? Since laws differ among states, it might be advantageous to choose a paralegal school located in the state where you wish to work after graduating. In addition, it will be necessary to develop relationships in the local legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is all the more justification to acquire your education in the area where you want to practice. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most charge an increased tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may wish to initially look at those schools that are within your Hephzibah GA local region.

What is the Complete Expense? Paralegal schools can differ in cost based on the credential earned and the amount of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your training. Don’t forget to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance might be available to help reduce some of the cost, so don’t forget to contact the school’s financial aid department to find out what is available in Hephzibah GA. Needless to say that if you choose to attend an online school, a portion these supplementary expenses, for instance for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.

Do the Class Times Match your Schedule? A number of paralegal students continue working while receiving their training and require flexibility to schedule classes. If you can only attend weekend or evening classes near Hephzibah GA, make sure 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. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making-up classes missed because of sickness, work or family emergencies.

Considering Paralegal School in Hephzibah GA?

Hephzibah, Georgia

Hephzibah (/ˈhɛpzɪbə/) is a city in southern Richmond County, in the U.S. state of Georgia. It is part of the Augusta metropolitan area. The population was 4,011 at the 2010 census.[2] The name was taken from the Bible, where Hephzibah is a poetic name used by the Prophet Isaiah to refer to the City of Jerusalem in the Old Testament.

Hephzibah was originally named Brothersville, in honor of three brothers who settled near one another. In October 1860, a Baptist seminary was established in Brothersville by a group of Appling residents.[citation needed] They established the Hephzibah Baptist Church in 1862. The prominence of these new religious institutions in the area swayed the state of Georgia to rename the town Hephzibah in 1870.[3] In 1909, Walter A. Clark published a book of local history, named A Lost Arcadia - The Story of My Old Community, detailing the earliest days of Hephzibah.[4]

In 1996 the governments of the city of Augusta and Richmond County combined to form a consolidated government. The residents of Hephzibah and nearby Blythe voted to maintain their separate city governments prior to this action. Some municipal services in Hephzibah are provided by the consolidated Augusta-Richmond County, while water, fire, and police services are maintained by the city.

After years of slow decline, the retail economy in Hephzibah has increased substantially since 2010. New businesses are an IGA grocery store,[5]CrossFit gym, and a branch of the local chain restaurant Wife Saver, specializing in Southern food. The Wife Saver has since closed, but a new Dollar General was opened on Highway 88.

The location could not be found.

Find the Best Paralegal Degree Program near Hephzibah GA

Choosing the right paralegal degree program is a vital first step to guarantee your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have covered in this post, you have the option of attending classes at school or you can participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Hephzibah home. Paralegal training programs are offered in numerous lengths and formats. Several kinds of private and public institutions provide paralegal education, including community colleges, four-year universities and colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a pronounced impact on your prospects for success in your new career. Considering that there is a wide range in the quality of schools, choose carefully. Afford yourself the best possible chance to succeed in this fascinating profession. But regardless of how you choose to acquire your education and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have presented you will be able to review each program and make your final decision. And with the right training you can realize your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in Hephzibah GA.

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    Johnston And Smith LLP
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