How to Choose a Paralegal Degree Program near Statenville Georgia
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Statenville GA and begin your journey that will result in a fulfilling profession in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s crucial that you locate the right school so that you will receive the comprehensive 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 educational choices are becoming available, both at school and online. But with so many options to choose from, where does one start? A number of prospective students begin by looking for paralegal schools within commuting range of their Statenville residences. Of those alternatives, they look for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are necessary considerations when selecting a college, they are not the only factors you must consider. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the school must be taken into consideration as well. Later on in this post we will cover a list of questions that you need to ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can examine and compare every one prior to making your decision. 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 roles and responsibilities, just with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and are part of a different job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants help attorneys in Statenville GA with a wide range of job functions, including maintaining client files, legal research, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job duties are relevant to the type of legal firm where they are employed. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice could assist with trial logistics or transporting documents to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work is typically billed by the hour as are the lawyer’s. And just like lawyers, they must perform with a high degree of professionalism and adhere to a strict standard of professional ethics. As stated, their responsibilities can be diverse in support of the practices where they are employed, but a few of their everyday activities may involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on relevant laws and cases
- Composing correspondence and legal papers
- Filing legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Assisting lawyers get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal files, documents and other records
With all of their responsibilities, the job of a Statenville GA paralegal can be complex 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 action. But they are not restricted to administrative or clerical duties 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, attorneys have the ability to manage a much larger number of clients or cases than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the academic requirements and opportunities will be the same. The fastest way to start your career in Statenville GA as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which may involve just six months to complete. Most entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more expansive education and may be obtained at many community colleges in 2 years. For an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are available also. After you have acquired either a certificate or degree, you may choose to continue and obtain a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in Georgia to practice as a paralegal, certification can not only help improve your career opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional also. A few 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 degree or certificate from an accredited school (we will discuss the advantages of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two crucial initial steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Statenville GA.
Paralegal Online Certificates
Paralegal online schools have become more prevalent and can be an excellent option for students in Statenville GA looking for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be particularly attractive to individuals who continue to work while earning a certificate or degree. As an additional advantage, online schools can often be less costly than more traditional options. Even secondary expenses for such items as commuting or study materials 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 ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the program and school you are considering are accredited by a respected organization, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less structured and conventional setting, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Colleges
Once you have a better idea regarding what paralegals do and what academic choices are available, you can begin the process of assessing Statenville GA area schools. But because there are numerous programs accessible at community and junior colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools, you need to learn what questions to ask in order to compare each one. This is especially true when you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like many prospective students, you will begin by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other critical issues to think about also, such as accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over several of the questions you should be asking the schools you are considering so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your final decision.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you enroll in need to be accredited by a highly regarded organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it might 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 receive will be of the highest quality, but it will demonstrate to future employers that you are a qualified professional also. Numerous Statenville GA law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited program. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are often accessible only for accredited schools.
What’s the Reputation of the School? Find out what the rankings and reputations are for the Statenville GA paralegal programs you are looking at. This is of special importance if you are new to the field with no previous experience, since employers will have to rely on the quality of your education exclusively. Verifying that the school you select is accredited is a good first step. Checking school rating services, including those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help verify school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call a few law offices that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask which schools they recommend. Remember that even if a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the School Offer Internships? Internship programs offer students a chance to experience working in a law firm or other legal establishment while attending school. They can also present a pathway for students to begin establishing contacts within the Statenville GA legal field. Ask if the paralegal schools you are reviewing offer internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new field can be challenging without help. Ask if the paralegal schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Georgia legal services employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Campus Located? Because laws vary from one state to another, it might be beneficial to enroll in a paralegal school located in the state where you wish to practice after graduating. Also, it will be necessary to create relationships in the local legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is even more reason to receive your education in the area where you choose to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most charge a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may need to first look at those schools that are within your Statenville GA local area.
What is the Total Expense? Paralegal schools can differ in price depending on the credential received and the length of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expense for your education. Remember to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid may be accessible to help reduce some of the cost, so make sure to check with the school’s financial aid office to see what is offered in Statenville GA. Naturally if you choose to attend an online school, some of these added costs, for instance for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Match your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students keep working while receiving their training and require flexibility in class scheduling. If you can just attend weekend or evening classes near Statenville GA, make sure classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the program you select provides that option. Finally, inquire what the protocol is for making up missed classes because of work, illness or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Statenville GA?
Statenville is an unincorporated community in and the county seat of Echols County, Georgia, United States. It is a census-designated place (CDP), with a population of 1,040 at the 2010 census. The ZIP code is 31648, and the area code 229.
The town of Statenville was originally called Troublesome. It grew up at a ford on the Alapaha River in the 1850s. Troublesome was renamed Statenville when the latter was designated county seat in 1858 of the newly-formed Echols County. It is named for James Watson Staten, but was erroneously incorporated as "Statesville" in 1859. In 1965, the state officially amended the city's charter to read "Statenville". In 1995, a new state law revoked the city charter, along with dozens of others in Georgia which had inactive governments. This left Echols and Webster as the only counties in Georgia with an unincorporated county seat.
Statenville is located in western Echols County, just east of the Alapaha River. U.S. Route 129 passes through the community, leading north 27 miles (43 km) to Lakeland, south 6 miles (10 km) to the Florida border, and south 14 miles (23 km) to Jasper, Florida. Georgia State Route 94 crosses US 129 in the center of Statenville, leading east 28 miles (45 km) to Fargo and northwest 18 miles (29 km) to Valdosta.
The South Georgia Regional Library operates the Hansford Allen Echols County Library. Named after timber and turpentine farmer Handsford Allen, who contributed money towards the establishment of the library, it is the smallest library in the system. It opened on July 19, 1992, with its construction funded by State of Georgia money. The community previously had its library in other locations: first in a Methodist church and later in the school district superintendent's courthouse office.
Find the Best Paralegal School near Statenville GA
Enrolling in the ideal paralegal educational program is an essential first step toward your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have discussed in this article, you have the option of attending classes at school or you can attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Statenville home. Paralegal education programs are made available in many formats and lengths. Different types of private and public institutions provide paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four year universities and colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal school will have a profound impact on your prospects for success in your new career. Since there is a wide range in the quality of schools, choose carefully. Afford yourself the best possible chance to succeed in this rewarding profession. But irrespective of how you choose to obtain your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will have the ability to review each program and make your final decision. And with the appropriate education you can achieve your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Statenville GA.
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