How to Select a Paralegal School near Hoschton Georgia
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Hoschton GA and begin your journey that will result in a rewarding career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s essential that you find the right school so that you will get the extensive training that you require to achieve success. As you probably know, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more academic choices are being offered, both on campus and online. But with numerous options to choose from, where does one start? Many prospective students start by searching for paralegal schools within commuting distance of their Hoschton homes. Of those choices, they search for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are necessary considerations when picking a school, they are not the only qualifiers you should take into consideration. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the program should be considered also. Later in this post we will review a list of concerns that you must ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare each one before making your choice. But before we do, let’s have a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the academic options that are offered to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?
Paralegals and legal assistants essentially both fill the same job positions and responsibilities, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a separate job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants help lawyers in Hoschton GA with a wide range of job functions, including legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job functions are relevant to 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 transferring documents to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is typically billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And just like attorneys, they must carry out their duties with a high degree of professionalism and adhere to a strict code of professional ethics. As mentioned, their duties can be varied in support of the practices where they are employed, but some of their day-to-day tasks 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 lawyers get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal files, documents and other records
With all of their responsibilities, the job of a Hoschton GA paralegal can be complicated and rather demanding. On the other hand, what they are not legally permitted to do is offer legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not confined to administrative or clerical functions more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the right hand support systems for lawyers. And because they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, lawyers are able to manage a much larger number of clients or cases than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Training and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are essentially 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 fastest means to start your career in Hoschton GA as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which may take just 6 months to accomplish. Most entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more comprehensive education and can be earned at many 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 certificate or degree, you might choose to proceed and earn a certification. Although it is not a mandatory requirement in Georgia to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help boost your job opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. 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 cover the benefits of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 crucial initial steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Hoschton GA.
Online Paralegal Programs
Online paralegal programs have become more common and may be a good option for students in Hoschton GA searching for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online schools can be particularly appealing to individuals who continue to work while obtaining a degree. As an additional advantage, online programs can sometimes be less costly than on campus options. Even ancillary expenses for such things as study materials or commuting can be minimized or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will cover in greater detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps ensure that the education you obtain is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the school and program you are thinking about are accredited by a highly regarded agency, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less supervised and formal setting, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Paralegal Studies Programs
Since you now you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what educational options are offered, you can start the process of evaluating Hoschton GA area schools. But since there are so many programs offered at junior and community colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you must know what questions to ask in order to compare each one. This is particularly true if you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs as well. If you are like most prospective students, you will start by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously covered, there are other crucial factors to consider also, for instance the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over some of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are considering so that you can properly vet each one and make your final choice.
Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you choose need to be accredited by a reputable organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will get will be of the highest quality, but it will demonstrate to potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. Numerous Hoschton GA law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited school. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are typically accessible only for accredited schools.
What’s the Reputation of the Program? Learn what the reputations and rankings are for the Hoschton GA paralegal schools you are considering. This is of particular importance if you are new to the profession with no prior work history, since employers will need to rely on the quality of your training exclusively. Confirming that the program you select is accredited is a good first step. Checking school rating reports, including those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help verify school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also contact several law practices that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask what schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even when a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the School Provide Internships? Internship programs offer students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal operation while still in school. They can also offer a means for students to begin establishing contacts within the Hoschton GA legal field. Ask if the paralegal programs you are assessing offer internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the paralegal schools you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Georgia legal services employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Campus Located? Considering that laws differ among states, it may be advantageous to select a paralegal school located in the state where you want to work after graduation. In addition, it will be necessary to create relationships in the local legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is all the more reason to obtain your education in the community where you choose to practice. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most require an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may wish to first look at those colleges that are within your Hoschton GA local area.
What is the Entire Expense? Paralegal schools can differ in cost depending on the credential received and the length of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only cost for your education. Remember to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance may be accessible to help reduce some of the expense, so be sure to talk to the school’s financial aid office to see what is available in Hoschton GA. Of course if you decide to attend an online school, a portion these additional costs, for instance for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Match your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students keep working while getting their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can just attend night or weekend classes near Hoschton GA, verify classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make sure that the school you choose provides that option. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up missed classes because of sickness, work or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Hoschton GA?
Hoschton is located in western Jackson County at 34°05′46″N 83°45′40″W / 34.096164°N 83.761083°W / 34.096164; -83.761083. It is bordered to the north by the city of Braselton. Georgia State Route 53 runs through the center of town, leading northwest 12 miles (19 km) to Oakwood and south 9 miles (14 km) to Winder. Jefferson, the county seat, is 12 miles (19 km) to the east, and Atlanta is 50 miles (80 km) to the southwest.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Hoschton has a total area of 2.6 square miles (6.7 km2), of which 0.02 square miles (0.05 km2), or 0.79%, are water. Water bodies in Hoschton drain west and east into tributaries of the Mulberry River, part of the Oconee River watershed.
The Hoschton ZIP code 30548 goes well beyond the city limits, and results in the post office delivering mail into four counties: Jackson, Gwinnett, Hall, and Barrow. Hoschton's ZIP code is used within about 40% of the Braselton town limits.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,070 people, 388 households, and 304 families residing in the city. The population density was 437.2 people per square mile (168.6/km²). There were 404 housing units at an average density of 165.1 per square mile (63.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.36% White, 4.86% African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.09% Asian, 0.28% from other races, and 1.21% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.40% of the population. As of July 2009 the population is estimated at 1,612.
Enroll in the Right Paralegal Training near Hoschton GA
Choosing the right paralegal degree program is an important first step to guarantee your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have addressed in this post, you have the option of attending classes at school or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Hoschton home. Paralegal education programs are offered in numerous lengths and formats. Various kinds of public and private institutions make available paralegal training, including community and junior colleges, four-year colleges and universities, as well as vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a profound impact on your opportunities for success in your new profession. Considering that there is a broad range in the quality of programs, choose carefully. Afford yourself the best possible chance to succeed in this fascinating profession. But no matter how you decide to receive your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will have the ability to examine each program and make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate training you can realize your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in Hoschton GA.
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