How to Find a Paralegal Training Program near Kennesaw Georgia
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Kennesaw GA and start your journey that will lead to a satisfying career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s important that you locate the best school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you need to be successful. As you probably know, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more educational options are becoming available, both at school and online. However with so many alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? Many prospective students start by searching for paralegal schools within traveling distance of their Kennesaw residences. Of those choices, they look for the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are very important considerations when selecting a school, they are not the only factors you ought to consider. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the program ought to be taken into consideration too. Later on in this article we will review a list of concerns that you should ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare each one prior to making your choice. But first, let’s have a look at what a paralegal does and the educational 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 for the most part both hold the same job positions and functions, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and belong to a separate job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants help attorneys in Kennesaw GA with a diverse array of job functions, such as legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job duties are based upon the type of practice where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice may help with trial logistics or transporting documents to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work is usually billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And the same as lawyers, they must conduct themselves with a high degree of professionalism and follow a strict standard of professional ethics. As noted, their duties can be diverse in support of the firms where they are employed, but some of their daily tasks can include:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Researching related laws and cases
- Preparing correspondence and legal documents
- Filing 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 job of a Kennesaw GA paralegal can be involved and quite challenging. However, what they are not legally allowed to do is give legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not confined to administrative or clerical duties more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And because they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, lawyers are able to handle a much larger volume of clients or cases than they could alone.
Paralegal Training and Certification
As 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 academic requirements and opportunities will be the same. The quickest way to launch your career in Kennesaw GA as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which can involve just six months to accomplish. A large number of entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more comprehensive education and may be earned at numerous community colleges in two years. For an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option as well. When you have obtained either a degree or a certificate, you might choose to continue and obtain a certification. Although it is not a mandatory requirement in Georgia to practice as a paralegal, certification can not only help maximize your career opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. A few of the highly regarded 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 school (we will discuss the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 essential initial steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Kennesaw GA.
Online Paralegal Training
Online paralegal programs have become more available and may be an excellent alternative for those in Kennesaw GA looking for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online programs can be especially appealing to those who continue to work while obtaining a degree. As an added benefit, online schools can often be less expensive than on campus options. Even supplementary expenditures for such items as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated. One caveat, not all online programs are accredited, which we will cover in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the education you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make sure that the school and program you are reviewing are accredited by a highly regarded agency, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less supervised and conventional environment, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Paralegal Colleges
Since you now you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what training options are offered, you can start the undertaking of assessing Kennesaw GA area schools. But because there are so many programs accessible at junior and community colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you need to know what questions to ask in order to compare each one. This is especially true when 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 already covered, there are other critical issues to consider also, including 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 choice.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you enroll in need to be accredited by a reputable organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it might also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will get will be of the highest quality, but it will establish with potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. Many Kennesaw GA law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited school. Also, financial aid and student loans are usually accessible only for accredited schools.
What’s the Reputation of the School? Find out what the rankings and reputations are for the Kennesaw GA paralegal programs you are contemplating. This is of particular importance if you are new to the field with no prior work history, since employers will have to rely on the caliber of your training exclusively. Confirming that the school you pick is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating services, 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 firms that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask what schools they suggest. Bear in mind that even when a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the School Offer Internships? Internship programs give students a chance to experience working in a law office or other legal establishment while still in school. They can also present a means for students to start establishing contacts within the Kennesaw GA legal field. Find out if the paralegal schools you are assessing offer internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in a new profession can be challenging without help. Find out if the paralegal programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Georgia legal services employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? Since laws vary from state to state, it may be beneficial to select a paralegal school located in the state where you want to work after graduating. Also, it will be necessary to cultivate relationships in the area legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is all the more reason to acquire your education in the area where you wish to practice. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many require a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may wish to initially consider those schools that are within your Kennesaw GA local area.
What is the Total Cost? Paralegal programs can differ in cost based on the credential obtained and the length of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only cost for your education. Remember to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid might be available to help minimize part of the expense, so be sure to check with the school’s financial aid department to see what is available in Kennesaw GA. Of course if you opt to attend an online school, a portion these added costs, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? A number of paralegal students keep working while getting their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can only attend weekend or evening classes near Kennesaw GA, make sure classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make certain that the school you enroll in makes available that option. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, illness or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Kennesaw GA?
Kennesaw is a city in Cobb County, Georgia, United States, located in the greater Atlanta metropolitan area. It had a population of 29,783 according to the 2010 census. Founded in 1887, Kennesaw has a past surrounded with railroad history. During the Civil War, Kennesaw was the staging ground for the Great Locomotive Chase on April 12, 1862. The city is perhaps best known nationally for its mandatory gun-possession ordinance.
As the Western and Atlantic Railroad was being built in the late 1830s, shanties arose to house the workers. These were near a big spring. A grade up from the Etowah River became known as "the big grade to the shanties", then "Big Shanty Grade", and finally "Big Shanty".
During the Civil War, Big Shanty was the site of major fighting in the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, part of the larger Atlanta Campaign. Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, located southeast of the city limits, now contains many of these historic areas, though much of the surrounding land has been developed, and some buried artifacts have been taken by people with metal detectors.
L.C. Chalker purchased a 1.25-acre (0.51 ha) tract of land adjacent to the Kennesaw Cemetery from J.W. Ellis in 1934, which was sold for burial purposes. Chalker purchased another 1 acre (0.40 ha) adjacent to the first parcel in 1948, which was also to be used for a cemetery. The Chalker family managed these portions of the cemetery until they were sold to the City of Kennesaw in the mid 1950s. The earliest known burial is the infant Lucius B. Summers, who was interred in 1863. Other grave markers date as far back as the 1860s to the 1890s. Civil War veterans are buried here. The cemetery is still in use.
Enroll in the Right Paralegal School near Kennesaw GA
Selecting the right paralegal degree program is a vital first step toward your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have addressed in this post, you have the choice of attending classes at school or you can attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Kennesaw residence. Paralegal education programs are provided in many lengths and formats. Several types of private and public institutions offer paralegal training, including junior and community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your choice of a paralegal school will have a pronounced influence on your prospects for success in your new career. Given that there is a wide range in the quality of schools, pick wisely. Give yourself the best possible opportunity to succeed in this rewarding profession. But regardless of how you choose to acquire your education and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will be able to evaluate each school and make your ultimate decision. And with the ideal education you can realize your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in Kennesaw GA.
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