How to Pick a Paralegal Degree Program near Rabun Gap Georgia
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Rabun Gap GA and begin your journey that will result in a rewarding career in legal services. However, it’s essential that you locate the right school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you require to succeed. As you most likely know, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more academic alternatives are being offered, both on campus and online. However with numerous options to choose from, where does one start? Some prospective students begin by trying to find paralegal schools within commuting range of their Rabun Gap homes. Of those alternatives, they try to find the program with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important considerations when picking a school, they are not the only qualifiers you should consider. Things such as accreditation and the reputation of the program must be taken into account also. Later on in this post we will cover a list of questions that you should 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 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 for the most part both hold comparable job roles and responsibilities, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and are part of a separate job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist attorneys in Rabun Gap GA with a wide range of job duties, such as maintaining client files, legal research, 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 may assist with the logistics of a trial or transferring documents to court. In private firms, the work of a paralegal is typically billed by the hour as are the attorney’s. And the same as attorneys, they must perform with a high degree of professionalism and adhere to a strict code of professional ethics. As noted, their responsibilities can be wide ranging in support of the firms where they are employed, but some of their regular tasks may involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on pertinent laws and cases
- Preparing correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal papers 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 job of a Rabun Gap GA paralegal can be complicated and very challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally authorized 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 suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the main support systems for lawyers. And because they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, lawyers have the ability to manage a much larger volume of clients or cases than they could on their own.
Paralegal Education and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the educational requirements and opportunities will be the same. The quickest way to launch your career in Rabun Gap GA as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which can take as little as 6 months to complete. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more comprehensive education and may be earned at many community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. After you have earned either a degree or a certificate, you might choose to continue and receive a certification. Although it is not a mandatory requirement in Georgia to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help maximize your employment opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional also. Some of the highly regarded certifying agencies in the field are:
- National Federation of Paralegal Associations
- American Alliance of Paralegals
- National Association of Legal Assistants
- National Association for Legal Professionals
By graduating with a certificate or degree from an accredited school (we will cover the benefits of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 essential first steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Rabun Gap GA.
Online Paralegal Schools
Online paralegal schools have become more available and may be a good alternative for individuals in Rabun Gap GA looking for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online schools can be particularly attractive to those who continue to work while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an added benefit, online classes can often be less costly than on campus options. Even supplementary expenditures for such items as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will discuss in greater detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest caliber. So check to make certain that the program and school you are reviewing are accredited by a highly regarded agency, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less structured and conventional environment, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Colleges
Now that you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what training options are available, you can start the undertaking of evaluating Rabun Gap GA area schools. But since there are numerous programs available at community and junior colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you need to find out what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is particularly true when you include all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like the majority of 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 critical aspects to research also, including the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over a few of the questions you should be asking the programs you are investigating so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your ultimate selection.
Is the Paralegal School and Program Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you choose should be accredited by a recognized organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it can 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 demonstrate to future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. A number of Rabun Gap GA law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited school. Also, financial aid and student loans are typically obtainable only for accredited schools.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Investigate what the reputations and rankings are for the Rabun Gap GA paralegal programs you are contemplating. This is of particular importance if you are new to the field with no prior experience, since employers will need to make a decision based on the caliber of your training exclusively. Checking that the school you choose is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating services, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also call several law firms that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask which schools they suggest. Bear in mind that even if a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an excellent reputation.
Does the Program Sponsor Internships? Internship programs provide students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal establishment while still in school. They can also present a pathway for students to start developing contacts within the Rabun Gap GA legal field. Ask if the paralegal schools you are assessing provide internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in a new profession can be difficult without support. Find out if the paralegal schools you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Georgia legal services employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Campus Located? Since laws vary among states, it might be advantageous to choose a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you plan to work after graduation. In addition, it will be valuable to create relationships in the neighboring legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is even more reason to acquire your education in the community where you desire to practice. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many require an increased tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may wish to first consider those colleges that are within your Rabun Gap GA local area.
How Much is the Entire Expense? Paralegal programs can differ in cost depending on the credential earned and the length of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your education. Remember to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid may be obtainable to help minimize part of the expense, so be sure to check with the school’s financial aid department to find out what is available in Rabun Gap GA. Needless to say that if you decide to attend an online school, some of these additional expenses, such as for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Accommodate your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students continue working while getting their training and require flexibility in class scheduling. If you can just attend weekend or evening classes near Rabun Gap GA, verify classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the program you enroll in provides that option. Last, ask what the process is for making-up missed classes as a result of sickness, work or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Rabun Gap GA?
Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School
Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School (informally known as Rabun Gap) is a small, private college preparatory school located in Rabun County, Georgia, United States, in the Appalachian Mountains. It is both a boarding and a day school. Rabun Gap is notable for initiating the Foxfire magazine project in 1966, experiential education based on interviewing local people, and writing and publishing articles about their stories and oral traditions. This inspired numerous schools across the country to develop similar programs.
Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School is one of the largest coeducational, college-preparatory boarding schools in the South, serving boarding and day students in grades 5–12, and in the 2017-2018 school year, it will be pre-K 4–12th, after the turn of the admissions/business office to an elementary school. Located in Rabun Gap, the 1,400-acre (5.7 km2) campus is cradled in the mountains of northeast Georgia. The school combines a strong academic program, mountain setting, and Presbyterian heritage to nurture and challenge students of diverse backgrounds as they prepare for college and a lifetime of service.
Andrew Jackson Ritchie, a Rabun County native, and his wife, Addie Corn Ritchie, founded the Rabun Gap Industrial School in 1903 to serve the children of the isolated and poverty-stricken community Rabun Gap. With $1 and a personal note, Ritchie bought a 5-acre (20,000 m2) hilltop for the school. Construction began on the two-story main building, designed by Atlanta architect Haralson Bleckley (son of Rabun County native Logan Bleckley), with pledges of cash support and manual labor. The school was open to both boys and girls.
Donations to the school declined during the World War I period (1917–18), but Ritchie traveled to Boston, Massachusetts, and New York City to solicit funding. He had a unique plan for expansion and development called the Farm Family Settlement Program. Whole families would live at Rabun Gap, with the men learning agriculture, the women studying homemaking and health care, and the children continuing with regular studies. The Carnegie Foundation, the John D. Rockefeller family, and other northern philanthropists provided generous support for his idea. However, it was Ernest Woodruff, of the Coca-Cola Company and Trust Company of Georgia, who proved to be the bedrock supporter of Rabun Gap. According to school legend, Ritchie went door to door in Atlanta's Inman Park neighborhood asking for donations; at the Woodruff home, Emily Winship, Woodruff's wife, contributed money from her household fund and urged her husband to help. (Over time, several members of the Woodruff family, as well as the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, have made donations to the school.) With additional support from the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the school expanded with more acreage and the construction of farmhouses and barns. The farm family program remained successful until the 1970s, when textile manufacturing became key in Rabun County.
Enroll in the Best Paralegal Program near Rabun Gap GA
Enrolling in the ideal paralegal degree program is an essential first step toward your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have discussed in this article, you have the choice of attending classes at school or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Rabun Gap home. Paralegal academic programs are made available in numerous lengths and formats. Several kinds of private and public institutions provide paralegal training, including junior and community colleges, four-year universities and colleges, as well as vocational and trade schools. Your choice of a paralegal school will have a pronounced impact on your opportunities for success in your new career. Given that there is a wide range in the quality of schools, choose wisely. Give yourself the greatest possible opportunity to be successful in this fascinating profession. But no matter how you decide to receive your education and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have presented you will be able to evaluate each school and make your ultimate decision. And with the ideal education you can achieve your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Rabun Gap GA.
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