How to Select a Paralegal Studies Program near Sardis Georgia
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Sardis GA and begin your journey that will result in a rewarding profession in legal services. However, it’s essential 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 one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more educational options are becoming available, both on campus and online. However with so many options to choose from, where does one begin? Some prospective students begin by trying to find paralegal schools within traveling range of their Sardis homes. Of those options, they look for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important considerations when picking a college, they are not the only factors you ought to consider. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the school must be considered as well. Later in this post we will cover a list of concerns that you ought to ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can examine and compare every one prior to making your choice. But first, let’s have a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the instructional 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 for the most part both fill comparable job positions and functions, just with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and are part of a separate job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist attorneys in Sardis GA with a diverse array of job functions, including maintaining client files, legal research, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job functions are relevant to the type of practice where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm may assist with trial logistics or delivering files to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work is normally billed by the hour as are the attorney’s. And the same as attorneys, they must conduct themselves with a high degree of professionalism and comply with a strict code of professional ethics. As noted, their responsibilities can be wide ranging in support of the practices where they are employed, but some of their daily tasks may include:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Researching pertinent laws and cases
- Composing correspondence and legal documents
- Filing legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
- Assisting lawyers get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal documents, files and other records
With all of their duties, the role of a Sardis GA paralegal can be involved and very demanding. However, what they are not legally authorized to do is offer legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But paralegals are not limited to clerical or administrative tasks more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, lawyers are able to handle a much larger number of clients or cases than they could alone.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the educational prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The fastest way to launch your career in Sardis GA as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which can involve as little as six months to accomplish. A large number of entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more comprehensive education and can be acquired at many community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are available as well. When you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you might choose to proceed and earn a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in Georgia to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help maximize your job opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. A few of the highly regarded certifying organizations 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 degree or certificate from an accredited school (we will address the benefits of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken two important first steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Sardis GA.
Online Paralegal Certificates
Online paralegal schools have become more available and may be a good alternative for students in Sardis GA searching for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online programs can be especially appealing to individuals who continue to work while earning a certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, online programs can sometimes be less expensive than more traditional options. Even ancillary expenditures for such things as study materials or commuting can be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will cover 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 highly regarded agency, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less structured and conventional setting, then obtaining your degree or certificate online could be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Paralegal Schools
Once you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what academic choices are offered, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating Sardis GA area schools. But because there are so many programs accessible at junior and community colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you need to learn what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is especially true if you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like most potential students, you will begin by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously covered, there are other important aspects to consider also, for instance the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at a few of the questions you need to be asking the programs you are investigating so that you can effectively vet each one and make your ultimate choice.
Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will obtain will be of the highest quality, but it will show future employers that you are a qualified professional also. Numerous Sardis GA law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited program. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are often available only for accredited programs.
What’s the Reputation of the School? Find out what the rankings and reputations are for the Sardis GA paralegal schools you are contemplating. This is of particular importance if you are new to the profession with no prior work history, since employers will need to make a decision based on the caliber of your education exclusively. Checking that the program you choose is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating reports, such as those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help verify school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also contact some law practices that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask what schools they recommend. Keep in mind that even though 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 office or other legal establishment while remaining in school. They can also present a means for students to begin developing contacts within the Sardis GA legal field. Ask if the paralegal programs you are considering offer internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask 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 large networks and great relationships with Georgia legal services employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School’s Location? Because laws vary from state to state, it might be a good idea to enroll in a paralegal school located in the state where you wish to practice after graduation. Also, it will be valuable to cultivate relationships in the neighboring legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is all the more justification to obtain your education in the community where you desire to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many require an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may wish to first consider those schools that are within your Sardis GA local area.
What is the Total Expense? Paralegal programs can vary in price based on the credential obtained and the length of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expense for your training. Don’t forget to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid may be accessible to help offset part of the expense, so don’t forget to consult with the school’s financial aid office to find out what is available in Sardis GA. Naturally if you opt to attend an online program, a portion these added costs, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Accommodate your Schedule? A number of paralegal students keep working while getting their training and require flexibility in class scheduling. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Sardis GA, make certain classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make sure that the school you choose offers that option. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Sardis GA?
Sardis is located in southeastern Burke County at 32°58′28″N 81°45′31″W / 32.97444°N 81.75861°W / 32.97444; -81.75861 (32.974510, -81.758504). It is 17 miles (27 km) southeast of Waynesboro, the Burke County seat.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 999 people residing in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 54.6% Black, 43.5% White, 0.3% Native American and 0.9% from two or more races. 0.7% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,171 people, 419 households, and 292 families residing in the town. The population density was 776.3 people per square mile (299.4/km²). There were 519 housing units at an average density of 344.1 per square mile (132.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 55.34% African American, 44.24% White, 0.17% from other races, and 0.26% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.43% of the population.
There were 419 households out of which 38.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.3% were married couples living together, 24.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.3% were non-families. 26.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.79 and the average family size was 3.43.
Enroll in the Best Paralegal Degree Program near Sardis GA
Selecting the best paralegal educational program is a vital first step toward your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have addressed in this article, you have the choice of attending classes at school or you can participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Sardis home. Paralegal academic programs are provided in numerous lengths and formats. Various kinds of public and private institutions offer paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four year colleges and universities, as well as vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a profound influence on your opportunities for success in your new profession. Since there is a wide range in the quality of programs, choose carefully. Afford yourself the greatest possible opportunity to be successful in this rewarding profession. But no matter how you choose to receive your education and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have presented you will be able to review each school and make your ultimate selection. And with the ideal training you can accomplish your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Sardis GA.
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