How to Choose a Paralegal Degree Program near Louisville Georgia
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Louisville GA and begin your journey that will lead to a rewarding profession in legal services. However, it’s important that you locate the right school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you need to succeed. As you probably understand, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more educational options are becoming available, both at school and online. However with numerous options to choose from, where does one begin? A number of potential students start by looking for paralegal schools within traveling range of their Louisville residences. Of those options, they search for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are prime considerations when picking a college, they are not the only qualifiers you should consider. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the program should be taken into consideration also. Later on in this post we will review a list of questions that you ought to ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can examine and compare every one before making your selection. But first, let’s take a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the educational options that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?
Paralegals and legal assistants basically both fill the same job positions 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 classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants help attorneys in Louisville GA with a wide variety of job duties, including legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. 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 firm could assist with trial logistics or delivering files to court. In private firms, the work of a paralegal is typically billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And just like attorneys, they must conduct themselves with a high level of professionalism and abide by a strict standard of professional ethics. As noted, their responsibilities can be diverse in support of the firms where they are employed, but a few of their daily activities may include:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Researching relevant laws and cases
- Drafting correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal papers with the court or opposing counsel
- Helping lawyers get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and managing legal files, documents and additional records
With all of their duties, the role of a Louisville GA paralegal can be complex and quite demanding. 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 action. But paralegals are not limited to administrative or clerical functions more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, attorneys have the ability to handle a much larger volume of clients or cases than they could alone.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The quickest means to launch your career in Louisville GA as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which may require as little as 6 months to complete. Most entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more extensive education and may be acquired at many community colleges in two years. For an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option as well. When you have earned either a certificate or degree, you may choose to proceed and earn a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in Georgia to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help increase 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 benefits of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 important first steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Louisville GA.
Paralegal Online Degrees
Paralegal online programs have become more popular and can be an excellent alternative for individuals in Louisville GA searching for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be particularly appealing to those who continue to work while earning a certificate or degree. As an added benefit, online classes can in some cases be less expensive than on campus options. Even supplementary expenditures for such items as study materials or commuting can be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all internet schools are accredited, which we will cover in greater detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive is of the highest caliber. So check to make sure that the program and school you are considering are accredited by a respected agency, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less supervised and conventional setting, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Paralegal Degree Programs
Now that you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what educational options are available, you can start the process of evaluating Louisville GA area schools. But considering that there are so many programs offered at junior and community colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you must find out what questions to ask so that you can compare each one. This is especially true when you include 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 already covered, there are other important issues to consider as well, for instance the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at a few of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are researching so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your ultimate choice.
Is the Paralegal School and Program Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you choose need to be accredited by a reputable accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it might also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will obtain will be of the highest quality, but it will show potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. Numerous Louisville GA law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited school. Finally, financial aid and student loans are typically offered only for accredited programs.
What’s the Reputation of the Program? Investigate what the rankings and reputations are for the Louisville GA paralegal programs you are contemplating. This is of specific importance if you are new to the profession with no prior work history, since employers will need to make a decision based on the quality of your training exclusively. Confirming that the program you select is accredited is a good first step. Checking school rating services, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also contact several law practices that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask which schools they recommend. Keep in mind that even when a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the Program Provide Internships? Internship programs offer students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal operation while attending school. They can also offer a pathway for students to start creating contacts within the Louisville GA legal field. Find out if the paralegal schools you are reviewing provide internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the paralegal programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Georgia legal services employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? Considering that laws vary among states, it might be advantageous to select a paralegal school located in the state where you plan to practice after graduation. Also, it will be valuable to build relationships in the local legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is all the more justification to obtain your education in the community where you wish to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most require an increased tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may need to first consider those schools that are within your Louisville GA local area.
How Much is the Entire Cost? Paralegal schools can vary in cost based on the credential earned and the length of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your education. Remember to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid might be obtainable to help offset some of the cost, so be sure to consult with the school’s financial aid department to see what is offered in Louisville GA. Naturally if you opt to attend an online program, a portion these additional expenses, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Match your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students continue working while receiving their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can solely attend weekend or evening classes near Louisville GA, make sure classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make certain that the school you enroll in makes available that option. Last, inquire what the protocol is for making-up classes missed due to sickness, work or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Louisville GA?
Louisville is a city in Jefferson County, Georgia, United States. It is a former state capital of Georgia and is the county seat of Jefferson County. It is located southwest of Augusta on the Ogeechee River, and its population was 2,712 at the 2000 census. The name is of French origin, but is pronounced "Lewis-ville."
Louisville was incorporated on January 26, 1786, as the prospective state capital. Savannah had served as the colonial capital; but was considered too far from the center of population in the growing state. Louisville was named for Louis XVI, who was still the King of France and had aided the Continentals during the successful American Revolutionary War. Development of the city began later, and its state government buildings were completed in 1795. An old American Revolutionary War Soldiers Cemetery is located on the western side of town.
The city of Louisville served as the state capital of Georgia from 1796 to 1806. It was a center of trade, legislators and political influence. The Jefferson County courthouse, built in 1904, stands on the site of Georgia's first permanent capitol building.
Louisville's historic, open-sided market house still stands in the center of downtown. The original market had sections for sales of farm produce, household goods, and enslaved African Americans. The Old Market is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Roads and other transportation routes intersected at the market square, the hub of the region when the town was the state capital. The state capital was moved to Milledgeville and later to Atlanta, in the Piedmont.
Choose the Right Paralegal School near Louisville GA
Choosing the right paralegal educational 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 comfort and privacy of your Louisville residence. Paralegal training programs are provided in numerous formats and lengths. Several types of private and public institutions make available paralegal education, including community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, as well as vocational and trade schools. Your choice of a paralegal school will have a profound impact on your opportunities for success in your new profession. Given that there is a broad range in the quality of schools, pick carefully. Afford yourself the greatest possible chance to succeed in this fascinating profession. But regardless of how you elect to acquire your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will have the ability to evaluate each school and make your final selection. And with the ideal education you can achieve your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Louisville GA.
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