Find Paralegal Certificate Schools near Rincon GA 31326

How to Choose a Paralegal Degree Program near Rincon Georgia

Rincon GA paralegal working with attorneyCongratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Rincon GA and start your journey that will result in a satisfying career in legal services. However, it’s important that you find the ideal school so that you will get the extensive training that you need to be successful. As you most likely understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of academic alternatives are becoming available, both at school and online. However with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? Some potential students start by trying to find paralegal schools within commuting range of their Rincon homes. Of those alternatives, 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 qualifiers you must consider. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the program should be considered too. Later in this article we will review a list of questions that you need to ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can examine and compare each one prior to making your decision. But first, let’s have 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?

Rincon GA law libraryParalegals and legal assistants essentially both hold comparable job positions and responsibilities, just with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and belong to a different job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist attorneys in Rincon GA with a diverse array of job functions, such as maintaining client files, legal research, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job functions are based upon the type of legal firm where they work. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice might assist with the logistics of a trial or transferring files to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work is usually billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And just like attorneys, they must perform with a high level of professionalism and abide by a strict code of professional ethics. As mentioned, their responsibilities can be diverse in support of the firms where they are employed, but a few of their everyday tasks may include:

  • Investigating and fact checking cases
  • Researching pertinent laws and cases
  • Preparing correspondence and legal documents
  • Filing legal papers with the court or opposing counsel
  • Assisting lawyers get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
  • Organizing and managing legal files, documents and additional records

With all of their responsibilities, the role of a Rincon GA paralegal can be involved and rather demanding. However, 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 clerical or administrative functions more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the right hand support systems for lawyers. And because they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, attorneys are able to take on a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could alone.

Paralegal Programs and Certification

law books and Rincon GA judge's gavelAs we discussed earlier, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the academic prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The quickest means to launch your career in Rincon GA as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which may take as little as 6 months to complete. A large number of entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more extensive education and may be obtained at numerous community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option also. When you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you might choose to proceed and receive a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in Georgia to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help maximize your job opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. A few 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 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 Rincon GA.

Paralegal Online Certificates

attending paralegal school online in Rincon GAOnline paralegal schools have become more available and can be a good alternative for those in Rincon GA searching for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be especially appealing to individuals who continue to work while obtaining a degree. As an added benefit, online schools can often be less expensive than on campus options. Even ancillary expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all online programs are accredited, which we will discuss in more detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps guarantee that the education you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make sure that the program and school you are reviewing are accredited by a reputable organization, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less structured and formal environment, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal choice for you.

What to Ask Paralegal Programs

Once you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what academic options are available, you can start the process of assessing Rincon GA area schools. But because there are so many programs offered at community and junior colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools, you need to find out what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is particularly true when you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like many potential students, you will start by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously covered, there are other critical factors to think about as well, for instance the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over some of the questions you should be asking the schools you are investigating so that you can effectively vet each one and make your final choice.

Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you enroll in need to be accredited by a recognized organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it may also get 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 standard, but it will show potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. Numerous Rincon GA law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited program. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are often available only for accredited schools.

What’s the School’s Reputation? Learn what the rankings and reputations are for the Rincon GA paralegal schools you are contemplating. This is of special importance if you are new to the profession with no prior experience, since employers will have to rely on the quality of your education exclusively. Verifying that the program you pick is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating services, including those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call several law offices that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask what schools they suggest. Remember that even when a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an excellent reputation.

Does the Program Offer Internships? Internship programs offer students a chance to experience working in a law firm or other legal enterprise while still in school. They can also provide a means for students to start establishing contacts within the Rincon GA legal community. Find out if the paralegal programs you are evaluating offer internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing upon graduation.

Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the paralegal schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Georgia legal services employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.

Where is the Campus Located? Since laws differ from one state to another, it might be advantageous to choose a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you plan to work after graduating. Also, it will be necessary to build relationships in the neighboring legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is even more reason to acquire your education in the area where you desire to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many require a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might want to first consider those schools that are within your Rincon GA local region.

How Much is the Complete Cost? Paralegal schools can vary in cost depending on the credential received and the amount of training furnished. However, 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 as well. Financial aid may be available to help offset part of the cost, so make sure to contact the school’s financial aid office to see what is available in Rincon GA. Needless to say that if you choose to attend an online program, some of these added costs, such as for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.

Do the Class Times Accommodate your Schedule? Many paralegal students continue working while obtaining their training and must have flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Rincon GA, make certain classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the program you enroll in makes available that option. Last, find out what the process is for making-up classes missed due to sickness, work or family obligations.

Considering Paralegal School in Rincon GA?

Rincon, Georgia

Rincon, in the southeast area of Effingham County, Georgia, was incorporated as a city in 1927. While the earliest settlers came to the area in 1751, the area had little development until the late 19th century.

During the American Civil War, when forces of the Union Army penetrated the South, thousands of slaves escaped from plantations to go to their lines. Many fell in with the forces of Union General William Tecumseh Sherman and followed his March to the Sea. Hundreds of fugitive African-Americans drowned during the campaign while trying to cross Ebenezer Creek near the site of present-day Rincon, outside of Savannah. In 2010 the Georgia Historical Society erected a historical marker about this event, as part of a major project to memorialize little-known events from the Civil War era and recognize African-American sacrifices for freedom.[6][7]

Rincon's development was catalyzed by the coming of the railroad in the 1890s. A rail line was built from the Carolinas across the state line at the Savannah River and southward to Savannah. The name of the city is believed to have been adopted from the Spanish or Mexican name Rincón, after a small but prosperous town in Mexico. (Rincón means "corner.")[8]

Once the railroad and depot were built at Rincon, a telegraph operator or agent was on duty as early as about 1895. This opened up the area to long-distance communication. In addition to the railroad, a "dirt" road (now improved as State Highway 21) was built northwest from Savannah to Rincon and beyond, and other country roads were developed in the area. Rincon became a small hive of trading activity. The surrounding farmers, sawmill operators and the like, who had taken their products of cotton and lumber to Savannah, could "wagon" to Rincon to ship by rail. They also could receive shipments there and travel as rail passengers.

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Choose the Right Paralegal College near Rincon GA

Choosing the right paralegal educational program is an important first step toward your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have addressed in this article, you have the choice of attending classes on-campus or you can attend them online in the comfort and privacy of your Rincon residence. Paralegal training programs are made available in numerous formats and lengths. Different types of private and public institutions make available paralegal training, including community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal school will have a pronounced influence on your prospects for success in your new profession. Given that there is a wide range in the quality of programs, choose wisely. Give yourself the best possible chance to succeed in this fascinating profession. But no matter how you choose to acquire your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have provided you will have the ability to assess each program and make your ultimate decision. And with the right education you can realize your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Rincon GA.

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