How to Find a Paralegal Studies Program near Mableton Georgia
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Mableton GA and begin your journey that will result in a rewarding career in legal services. However, it’s crucial that you find the right school so that you will get the extensive training that you require to succeed. As you most likely understand, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more academic alternatives are becoming available, both on campus and online. But with so many options to choose from, where does one start? Many potential students begin by looking for paralegal schools within driving distance of their Mableton residences. Of those choices, they try to find the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are very important considerations when picking a college, they are not the only factors you should consider. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the program need to be considered as well. Later on in this article we will review a list of concerns that you must ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can examine and compare each one before making your decision. 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 essentially both hold the same job positions and responsibilities, only with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and belong to a separate job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist attorneys in Mableton GA with a wide variety 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 are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice could assist with the logistics of a trial or delivering documents to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is typically billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And just like attorneys, they must perform with a high level of professionalism and abide by a strict standard of professional ethics. As mentioned, their responsibilities can be varied in support of the firms where they are employed, but a few of their daily activities can involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Researching applicable cases and laws
- Composing correspondence and legal documents
- Submitting legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
- Helping 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 Mableton GA paralegal can be involved and quite demanding. However, what they are not legally permitted to do is provide legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But paralegals are not confined to clerical or administrative functions more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the right hand support systems for lawyers. And since they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, attorneys have the ability to take on a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could alone.
Paralegal Training and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the educational requirements and job prospects will be the same. The quickest way to begin your career in Mableton GA as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which can take as little as 6 months to accomplish. A large number of entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more comprehensive education and can be obtained at many community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. When you have obtained either a certificate or degree, you might choose to proceed and receive a certification. Even though 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 also. Some 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 school (we will cover the benefits of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken two essential initial steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Mableton GA.
Paralegal Online Training
Online paralegal programs have become more common and may be a good alternative for those in Mableton GA looking for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be especially appealing to individuals who keep working while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an additional advantage, online classes can often be less expensive than more traditional options. Even supplementary expenditures for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all online schools are accredited, which we will cover in greater detail later. But at a minimum 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 organization, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less supervised and conventional environment, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Programs
Now that you have a better idea regarding what paralegals do and what training choices are offered, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating Mableton GA area schools. But because there are numerous programs offered at community and junior colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you must find out what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is especially true if you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like the majority of potential students, you will begin by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously covered, there are other crucial issues to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at several of the questions you need to be asking the programs you are considering so that you can effectively vet each one and make your final choice.
Is the Paralegal Program and School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you choose should be accredited by a respected organization 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 targets distance or online training. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will receive will be of the highest quality, but it will demonstrate to future employers that you are a qualified professional also. Numerous Mableton GA law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited program. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are typically obtainable only for accredited schools.
What’s the Reputation of the Program? Investigate what the rankings and reputations are for the Mableton GA paralegal schools you are looking at. This is of special importance if you are entering the profession with no previous work history, since employers will have to rely on the caliber of your training exclusively. Verifying that the school you pick is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating services, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also contact some law firms that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask what schools they suggest. Bear in mind that even if a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the Program Offer Internships? Internship programs provide students an opportunity to experience working in a law office or other legal operation while remaining in school. They can also provide a pathway for students to begin developing contacts within the Mableton GA legal community. Find out if the paralegal schools you are evaluating provide internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the paralegal schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial 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 differ among states, it might be beneficial to select a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you wish to practice after graduating. Also, it will be important to cultivate relationships in the area legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is all the more reason to obtain your education in the area where you desire to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many charge an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may need to initially consider those schools that are within your Mableton GA local region.
How Much is the Complete Cost? Paralegal schools can differ in price depending on the credential received and the amount of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only cost for your training. Don’t forget to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance might be accessible to help minimize some of the cost, so don’t forget to talk to the school’s financial aid department to find out what is available in Mableton GA. Needless to say that if you decide to attend an online program, a portion these supplementary costs, for instance for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Match your Schedule? Many paralegal students keep working while getting their training and must have flexibility to schedule classes. If you can only attend night or weekend classes near Mableton GA, make certain classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make sure that the program you choose offers that option. Last, find out what the process is for making-up missed classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Mableton GA?
Mableton is a census-designated place in Cobb County, Georgia, United States. As of the 2010 census, Mableton had a population of 37,115. When Brookhaven became a city in December 2012, Mableton became the largest unincorporated community in Metro Atlanta.
It was named for Robert Mable, who on September 11, 1843, bought 300 acres (approximately 120 hectares or 1.2 km²) of land. The Southern Railway opened a railroad station in Mableton in December 1881, and on June 28, 1882, the post office opened replacing the Bryantville post office about two miles (3.2 km) southeast. On August 19, 1912, Mableton was incorporated as a town but was disincorporated on August 17, 1916. The historic Mable House and plantation, located off U.S. 78 on Floyd Road just north of Clay Road, now includes an amphitheatre which hosts public events.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 20.8 square miles (54 km2), of which 20.6 square miles (53 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2), or 0.82%, is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 29,733 people, 10,894 households, and 7,963 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 1,444.4 people per square mile (557.6/km²). There were 11,339 housing units at an average density of 550.8/sq mi (212.6/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 62.39% White, 29.26% African American, 0.26% Native American, 1.40% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 4.64% from other races, and 2.02% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.80% of the population.
Select the Right Paralegal Training near Mableton GA
Enrolling in the right paralegal educational program is a vital first step to guarantee your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have discussed in this article, you have the option of attending classes on-campus or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Mableton home. Paralegal education programs are made available in numerous formats and lengths. Different kinds of private and public institutions offer paralegal education, including community colleges, four year universities and colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a pronounced impact on your prospects for success in your new profession. Given that there is a wide range in the quality of schools, pick wisely. Give yourself the greatest possible opportunity to succeed in this exciting profession. But irrespective of how you elect to receive your education and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will be able to assess each program and make your ultimate decision. And with the appropriate training you can accomplish your career objective to become a practicing paralegal in Mableton GA.
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