How to Select a Paralegal Program near Redan Georgia
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Redan GA and begin your journey that will lead to a satisfying career in legal services. However, it’s crucial that you locate the best school so that you will get the extensive training that you require to be successful. As you probably know, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more academic choices are being offered, both at school and online. However with numerous options to choose from, where does one start? A number of prospective students start by trying to find paralegal schools within driving range of their Redan homes. Of those choices, they try to find the program with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are necessary considerations when picking a college, they are not the only qualifiers you should take into consideration. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the program need to be considered too. Later on in this article we will cover a list of questions that you must ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can evaluate and compare every one prior to making your choice. But first, let’s take a look at exactly 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 fill the same job positions and responsibilities, only 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 lawyers in Redan GA with a diverse array of job functions, including legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job functions are based upon the type of legal firm where they work. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice could help with trial logistics or transferring files to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is usually billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And the same as lawyers, they must conduct themselves with a high degree of professionalism and abide by a strict standard of professional ethics. As noted, their responsibilities can be wide ranging in support of the firms where they are employed, but a few of their regular tasks may involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on relevant cases and laws
- Composing correspondence and legal documents
- Filing legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
- Helping lawyers 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 Redan GA paralegal can be complex and quite demanding. However, what they are not legally authorized to do is provide legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not restricted to administrative or clerical duties more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the main support systems for lawyers. And since they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, lawyers have the ability to take on a much larger number of clients or cases than they could alone.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The quickest way to launch your career in Redan GA as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which can involve as little as six months to accomplish. A large number of entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more expansive education and can be obtained at many community colleges in two years. For an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option also. Once you have obtained either a degree or a certificate, you may want to continue and obtain a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in Georgia to practice as a paralegal, certification can not only help boost your job opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. Some of the highly respected certifying organizations 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 certificate or degree from an accredited school (we will discuss the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken 2 essential first steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Redan GA.
Online Paralegal Degrees
Paralegal online schools have become more available and can be a good option for students in Redan GA looking for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be especially appealing to those who keep working while earning a degree. As an added benefit, online schools can often be less costly than on campus options. Even secondary expenses for such items as commuting or study materials can be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet schools are accredited, which we will address in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make certain that the school and program you are looking into are accredited by a reputable 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 might be the right option for you.
Things to Ask Paralegal Degree Programs
Now that you have a better idea regarding what paralegals do and what academic choices are available, you can start the process of evaluating Redan GA area schools. But since there are so many programs available at community and junior colleges, as well as vocational and trade schools, you need to find out what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is especially true when you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like most prospective students, you will begin by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other critical factors to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over several of the questions you should be asking the schools you are investigating so that you can effectively vet each one and make your ultimate decision.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency 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 training. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will obtain will be of the highest standard, but it will show future employers that you are a qualified professional also. Numerous Redan GA law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited school. Also, financial assistance and student loans are typically obtainable only for accredited programs.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Learn what the rankings and reputations are for the Redan GA paralegal schools you are looking at. This is of particular importance if you are entering the profession with no previous work history, since employers will have to rely on the quality of your education exclusively. Verifying that the school you select is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating services, such as those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also contact several law firms 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 could still have an excellent reputation.
Does the Program Provide Internships? Internship programs give students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal operation while remaining in school. They can also provide a means for students to begin establishing contacts within the Redan GA legal community. Find out if the paralegal programs you are evaluating provide internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the paralegal schools you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Georgia legal services employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School’s Location? Because laws vary from one state to another, it may be a good idea to select a paralegal school located in the state where you wish to work after graduation. In addition, it will be valuable to cultivate relationships in the area legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is all the more justification to acquire your education in the area where you desire to practice. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many charge a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might need to initially consider those schools that are within your Redan GA local region.
What is the Complete Cost? Paralegal schools can differ in cost depending on the credential earned and the length of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your training. Don’t forget to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid may be accessible to help reduce part of the expense, so be sure to check with the school’s financial aid office to find out what is available in Redan GA. Of course if you decide to attend an online program, some of these added expenses, such as for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Accommodate your Schedule? A number of 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 Redan GA, verify classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you select makes available that option. Last, find out what the procedure is for making up missed classes because of work, illness or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Redan GA?
Redan is a census-designated place (CDP) in DeKalb County, Georgia, United States. As of the 2010 census, the CDP had a total population of 33,015. It is a predominantly African American community in eastern DeKalb County and is a Suburb of Atlanta.
Redan was probably named after the numerous redans built during the Atlanta Campaign of the American Civil War. There is also a Redan High School located here. It has also been said that Redan was named after the Redan Store, a trading stop along the railway run by a couple named Reed and Ann.
As of the census of 2000, there were 33,841 people, 11,748 households, and 8,517 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 3,542.0 people per square mile (1,368.2/km²). There were 12,106 housing units at an average density of 1,267.1/sq mi (489.4/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 5.68% White, 91.27% African American, 0.12% Native American, 0.70% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.75% from other races, and 1.44% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.78% of the population.
There were 11,748 households out of which 44.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.4% were married couples living together, 24.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.5% were non-families. 21.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 1.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.88 and the average family size was 3.35.
Find the Right Paralegal Certificate Program near Redan GA
Selecting the best paralegal degree program is an important first step to guarantee your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have covered in this article, you have the option of attending classes on campus or you can participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Redan home. Paralegal education programs are made available in various formats and lengths. Various types of public and private institutions provide paralegal education, including community and junior colleges, four-year universities and colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal school will have a pronounced impact on your prospects for success in your new career. Considering that there is a wide range in the quality of schools, pick wisely. Give yourself the best possible chance to succeed in this exciting profession. But no matter how you choose to obtain your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will have the ability to evaluate each program and make your final selection. And with the appropriate education you can realize your career objective to become a practicing paralegal in Redan GA.
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