How to Pick a Paralegal Studies Program near Kings Bay Georgia
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Kings Bay GA and start your journey that will result in a gratifying profession in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s important that you locate the best school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you require to succeed. As you probably know, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of educational choices are being offered, both on campus and online. But with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one start? A number of prospective students start by searching for paralegal schools within driving range of their Kings Bay homes. Of those options, they search for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are necessary considerations when selecting a college, they are not the only factors you ought to consider. Things such as accreditation and the reputation of the school ought to be taken into consideration too. Later on in this post we will cover a list of questions that you must ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can examine and compare every one prior to making your decision. But before we do, let’s take a look at what a paralegal does and the educational alternatives 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 comparable job positions and functions, just with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and belong to a different job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist attorneys in Kings Bay GA with a diverse array of job duties, including legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job functions are based upon the type of practice where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice might assist with the logistics of a trial or transferring documents to court. In private firms, the work of a paralegal is usually billed by the hour as are the attorney’s. And the same as lawyers, they must carry out their duties with a high degree of professionalism and comply with 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 can involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Researching relevant cases and laws
- Preparing correspondence and legal papers
- Filing legal papers with the court or opposing counsel
- Helping lawyers get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their duties, the job of a Kings Bay GA paralegal can be complicated and rather challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally allowed to do is give legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not restricted to administrative or clerical duties more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And because they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, attorneys have the ability to manage a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Education and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the academic prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The quickest way to start your career in Kings Bay GA as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which can involve just six months to complete. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more expansive education and can be earned at many community colleges in 2 years. For an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are available as well. After you have obtained either a degree or a certificate, you might choose to continue and receive a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Georgia to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help maximize your employment opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. Some 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 program (we will discuss the benefits of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken two essential first steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Kings Bay GA.
Online Paralegal Programs
Paralegal online programs have become more prevalent and can be an excellent alternative for those in Kings Bay GA searching for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online programs can be particularly appealing to individuals who keep working while earning a degree. As an additional advantage, online classes can often be less costly than on campus options. Even ancillary expenses for such items as commuting or study materials can be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will discuss in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make certain that the program and school you are reviewing are accredited by a reputable agency, such as 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 could be the ideal option for you.
Things to Ask Paralegal Colleges
Since you now you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what educational choices are available, you can start the undertaking of assessing Kings Bay GA area schools. But because there are so many programs offered at community and junior colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools, you must find out what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is particularly true when you include all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs also. If you are like most potential students, you will start by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already discussed, there are other significant factors to think about as well, including accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s take a look at several of the questions you need to be asking the programs you are researching so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your ultimate choice.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you choose need to be accredited by a recognized accrediting agency 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 learning. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will get will be of the highest standard, but it will establish with future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Numerous Kings Bay GA law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited program. Finally, financial aid and student loans are typically obtainable only for accredited programs.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Find out what the rankings and reputations are for the Kings Bay GA paralegal programs you are looking at. This is of special importance if you are new to the profession with no previous work history, since employers will need to make a decision based on the caliber of your education exclusively. Checking that the program you pick is accredited is a good first step. Checking school rating services, 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 a few law firms that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask what schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even if a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the Program Sponsor Internships? Internship programs give students an opportunity to experience working in a law firm or other legal establishment while still in school. They can also provide a pathway for students to begin establishing contacts within the Kings Bay GA legal field. Ask if the paralegal schools you are evaluating offer internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in a new profession can be challenging without support. Find out if the paralegal schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial 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’s Location? Because laws differ among states, it might be a good idea to choose a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you want to work after graduation. In addition, it will be important to build relationships in the local legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is even more justification to acquire your education in the community where you choose 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 might need to first look at those colleges that are within your Kings Bay GA local region.
What is the Total Expense? Paralegal schools can vary in price depending on the credential received and the length of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expense for your education. Remember to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid may be accessible to help offset some of the expense, so don’t forget to talk to the school’s financial aid office to find out what is offered in Kings Bay GA. Of course if you choose to attend an online school, some of these additional costs, such as for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Match your Schedule? Many paralegal students keep working while getting their training and require flexibility to schedule classes. If you can only attend night or weekend classes near Kings Bay GA, verify classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make certain that the school you choose provides that option. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, illness or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Kings Bay GA?
Kings Bay, Georgia
Since 1979, the adjacent Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay (initially named Naval Submarine Support Base Kings Bay), located at 30.796 N, 81.514 W, has served as the major East Coast operating, training and refit base for nuclear ballistic missile submarines (SSBN). The base also hosts the Strategic Weapons Facility, Atlantic (SWFLANT), 30.785 N, 81.537 W.
Choose the Right Paralegal Training near Kings Bay GA
Selecting the best paralegal educational program is an important first step toward your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have covered in this post, you have the choice of attending classes on-campus or you can participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Kings Bay residence. Paralegal academic programs are made available in various lengths and formats. Various types of private and public institutions offer paralegal training, including community colleges, four-year universities and colleges, as well as vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal program 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 programs, pick wisely. Give yourself the best possible opportunity to be successful in this rewarding profession. But regardless of how you decide to obtain your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will be able to examine each school and make your ultimate selection. And with the ideal training you can accomplish your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Kings Bay GA.
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