How to Pick a Paralegal Degree Program near Rochelle Georgia
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Rochelle GA and begin your journey that will result in a rewarding profession in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s essential that you find the ideal school so that you will get the extensive training that you need to achieve success. As you probably know, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of academic alternatives are being offered, both on campus and online. But with numerous options to choose from, where does one begin? A number of potential students begin by searching for paralegal schools within driving distance of their Rochelle homes. Of those alternatives, they search for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are necessary considerations when picking a school, they are not the only factors you must consider. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the school must be taken into consideration also. Later in this post we will cover a list of questions that you must ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can evaluate and compare every one before making your selection. But first, let’s take a look at what a paralegal does and the academic choices 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 comparable job roles and functions, just with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and are part of a separate job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants help attorneys in Rochelle 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 duties are relevant to the type of legal firm where they work. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm could help with trial logistics or transporting files to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is typically billed by the hour as are the attorney’s. And just like attorneys, they must carry out their duties with a high degree of professionalism and follow a strict code of professional ethics. As noted, their responsibilities can be diverse in support of the practices where they are employed, but some of their day-to-day tasks might involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on pertinent laws and cases
- Preparing correspondence and legal papers
- Filing legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
- Helping attorneys get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a Rochelle GA paralegal can be involved and quite challenging. However, what they are not legally allowed to do is give legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But paralegals are not confined to clerical or administrative tasks more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, attorneys have the ability to take on a much larger number of cases or clients than they could alone.
Paralegal Training and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the educational requirements and job prospects will be the same. The fastest means to launch your career in Rochelle GA as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which may require just 6 months to accomplish. Most entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more expansive education and can be obtained at many community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are available also. After you have earned either a degree or a certificate, you might choose to proceed and receive a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Georgia to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help maximize your career 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 degree or certificate from an accredited school (we will cover the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken two essential first steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Rochelle GA.
Paralegal Online Schools
Paralegal online schools have become more popular and can be a good option for individuals in Rochelle GA searching for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online schools can be especially attractive to those who keep working while obtaining a degree. As an additional advantage, online classes can sometimes be less expensive than more traditional options. Even secondary expenditures for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all online programs are accredited, which we will address in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the school and program you are looking into are accredited by a respected agency, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less structured and conventional environment, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
Things to Ask Paralegal Degree Programs
Once you have a better idea regarding what paralegals do and what training choices are available, you can start the undertaking of assessing Rochelle GA area schools. But because there are numerous programs offered at junior and community colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you must know what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is especially true if you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like the majority of prospective students, you will begin by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already discussed, there are other important aspects to think about as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over some of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are investigating so that you can effectively vet each one and make your ultimate decision.
Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you pick should be accredited by a respected organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it can also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will receive will be of the highest standard, but it will show future employers that you are a qualified professional also. Numerous Rochelle GA law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited program. Also, financial assistance and student loans are usually obtainable only for accredited programs.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Research what the reputations and rankings are for the Rochelle GA paralegal programs you are looking at. This is of special importance if you are new to the profession with no previous work history, since employers will need to rely on the caliber of your training exclusively. Confirming that the program you pick is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating services, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help verify school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also contact some law offices that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask which schools they recommend. Bear in mind that even when a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the Program Offer Internships? Internship programs offer students an opportunity to experience working in a law office or other legal enterprise while attending school. They can also provide a pathway for students to begin creating contacts within the Rochelle GA legal community. Find out if the paralegal programs you are reviewing offer internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering after graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in a new field can be challenging without support. Find out if the paralegal programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Georgia legal services employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Campus Located? Since laws vary among states, it may be advantageous to select a paralegal school located in the state where you plan to practice after graduation. Also, it will be valuable to create relationships in the neighboring legal community, possibly by means of an internship program. This is all the more reason to acquire your education in the area where you choose to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many require an increased tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might want to first look at those schools that are within your Rochelle GA local area.
How Much is the Total Cost? Paralegal schools can differ in cost depending on the credential obtained and the amount of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expense for your education. Don’t forget to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid might be obtainable to help reduce some of the expense, so make sure to talk to the school’s financial aid office to find out what is offered in Rochelle GA. Of course if you choose to attend an online school, some of these supplementary expenses, such as for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Accommodate your Schedule? A number of paralegal students keep working while receiving their training and need flexibility to schedule classes. If you can only attend weekend or evening classes near Rochelle GA, verify classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the program you enroll in makes available that option. Last, find out what the protocol is for making-up missed classes as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Rochelle GA?
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,415 people, 552 households, and 379 families residing in the city. The population density was 754.3 people per square mile (290.6/km²). There were 642 housing units at an average density of 342.3 per square mile (131.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 46.08% White, 52.79% African American, 0.35% Native American, 0.35% from other races, and 0.42% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.84% of the population.
There were 552 households out of which 31.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.0% were married couples living together, 23.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.3% were non-families. 28.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.14.
In the city, the population was spread out with 29.2% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 24.5% from 25 to 44, 23.7% from 45 to 64, and 13.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 83.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $21,923, and the median income for a family was $27,250. Males had a median income of $26,607 versus $19,250 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,929. About 28.5% of families and 36.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 47.2% of those under age 18 and 26.1% of those age 65 or over.
Find the Best Paralegal Program near Rochelle GA
Choosing the ideal paralegal degree program is an important first step toward your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have covered in this article, you have the choice of attending classes on campus or you can participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Rochelle residence. Paralegal academic programs are offered in many lengths and formats. Several kinds of public and private institutions provide paralegal education, including community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal school will have a pronounced impact on your opportunities for success in your new profession. Since there is a wide range in the quality of schools, choose wisely. Give yourself the best possible chance to be successful in this fascinating profession. But no matter how you choose to acquire your education 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 ultimate selection. And with the right training you can realize your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Rochelle GA.
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