Find Paralegal Certificate Schools near Thomaston GA 30286

How to Find a Paralegal School near Thomaston Georgia

Thomaston GA paralegal working with attorneyBest Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Thomaston GA and start your journey that will lead to a gratifying profession in legal services. However, it’s essential that you find the right school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you require to be successful. As you probably understand, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more academic options are becoming available, both at school and online. However with so many alternatives to choose from, where does one start? Many potential students start by looking for paralegal schools within commuting range of their Thomaston residences. Of those options, they search for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are necessary considerations when choosing a college, they are not the only factors you should take into consideration. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the school ought to be taken into consideration too. Later on in this post we will cover a list of questions that you need to ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare each one prior to making your selection. But before we do, let’s have a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the educational alternatives that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.

What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?

Thomaston GA law libraryParalegals and legal assistants for the most part both hold comparable job roles and functions, only with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a different job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist lawyers in Thomaston GA with a wide variety of job duties, such as legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job functions are relevant to the type of legal firm where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice may help with the logistics of a trial or delivering documents to court. In private firms, the work of a paralegal is typically billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And just like attorneys, they must perform with a high level of professionalism and adhere to a strict code of professional ethics. As noted, their duties can be wide ranging in support of the practices where they work, but a few of their everyday tasks might involve:

  • Investigating and fact checking cases
  • Researching related laws and cases
  • Composing correspondence and legal papers
  • Submitting 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 responsibilities, the job of a Thomaston GA paralegal can be complicated and very 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 administrative or clerical tasks more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the right hand support systems for lawyers. And since they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, lawyers are able to handle a much larger volume of clients or cases than they could alone.

Paralegal Training and Certification

law books and Thomaston GA judge's gavelAs we previously covered, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The fastest way to launch your career in Thomaston GA as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which can require as little as 6 months to complete. A large number of entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more comprehensive education and may 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 as well. After you have obtained either a certificate or degree, you may want to proceed and earn a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in Georgia to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help maximize your job opportunities, but help establish you as a professional also. 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 certificate or degree from an accredited program (we will discuss the benefits of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 essential first steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Thomaston GA.

Paralegal Online Training

attending paralegal school online in Thomaston GAOnline paralegal schools have become more prevalent and can be a good option for those in Thomaston GA looking for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online programs can be particularly attractive to students who keep working while earning a certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, online programs can in some cases be less costly than more traditional options. Even secondary expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all online schools are accredited, which we will discuss in greater detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make certain that the school and program you are thinking about are accredited by a highly regarded organization, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less structured and formal setting, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.

Questions to Ask Paralegal Studies Programs

Now that you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what academic options are available, you can start the process of evaluating Thomaston GA area schools. But considering that there are numerous programs available at junior and community colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools, you need to learn what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is especially true if you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs also. If you are like most potential students, you will start by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other important aspects to research also, including the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at several of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are investigating so that you can effectively vet each one and make your final choice.

Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you choose should be accredited by a recognized accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will receive will be of the highest standard, but it will establish with potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. A number of Thomaston GA law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited program. Also, financial aid and student loans are usually obtainable only for accredited programs.

What’s the Program’s Reputation? Research what the rankings and reputations are for the Thomaston GA paralegal programs you are looking at. This is of specific importance if you are new to the profession with no previous work history, since employers will have to rely on the quality of your education exclusively. Confirming that the school you choose is accredited is a good first step. Checking school rating services, such as those furnished 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 recommend. Bear in mind 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 provide students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal enterprise while still in school. They can also offer a means for students to start establishing contacts within the Thomaston GA legal field. Find out if the paralegal programs you are evaluating provide internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing after graduation.

Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the paralegal programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Georgia legal services employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.

Where is the School Located? Since laws differ from state to state, it might be advantageous to choose a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you wish to work after graduation. Also, it will be valuable to establish relationships in the local legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is all the more reason to receive your education in the community where you choose to practice. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many charge a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may wish to first consider those schools that are within your Thomaston GA local area.

How Much is the Complete Expense? Paralegal schools can vary in price depending on the credential obtained and the length of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only cost for your training. Remember to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance may be obtainable to help reduce part of the cost, so be sure to consult with the school’s financial aid department to find out what is offered in Thomaston GA. Needless to say that if you decide to attend an online school, some of these supplementary expenses, for instance for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.

Do the Class Times Match your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students continue working while obtaining their training and require flexibility in class scheduling. If you can only attend weekend or evening classes near Thomaston GA, make sure classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make sure that the school you select offers that option. Last, find out what the process is for making up missed classes because of sickness, work or family emergencies.

Considering Paralegal School in Thomaston GA?

Thomaston, Georgia

Thomaston is a city in and the county seat of Upson County,[5]Georgia, United States.[6] The population was 9,638 at the 2006 census. It is the principal city of and is included in the Thomaston, Georgia Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Atlanta - Sandy Springs (GA) - Gainesville (GA) - Alabama (partial) Combined Statistical Area.

Thomaston was incorporated on January 1, 1825,[7] and designated as the seat of Upson County. The town was named for General Jett Thomas, an Indian fighter in the War of 1812.[6] Jett is also credited with assisting in the construction of the state capitol at Milledgeville in 1805-7 and Franklin College on the campus of the University of Georgia in 1806.

The judges of the inferior court had the authority to sell lots to individuals on a one-third cash basis with two years to complete the payment. This money was used to build the first courthouse, which was completed in 1828. The second courthouse was completed in 1852, and the present courthouse was erected in 1908. In the southeast corner of the square is a cannonball mounted on a marble base, said to be the first fired at Fort Sumter, off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina. P. W. Alexander, a noted correspondent during the Civil War (1861–65) and a citizen of Upson County, retrieved it.

A few miles south of the square is one of the oldest houses in Thomaston, the Pettigrew-White-Stamps House. Built by John E. Pettigrew in 1833, it currently serves as the Upson Historical Society Museum. The African American Museum is housed in a late 1920s three-room shotgun-style house.

The location could not be found.

Select the Right Paralegal Program near Thomaston GA

Selecting the ideal paralegal educational program is a vital first step to guarantee your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have addressed in this post, you have the option of attending classes on-campus or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Thomaston home. Paralegal education programs are provided in various formats and lengths. Several kinds of private and public institutions make available paralegal education, including community and junior colleges, four year colleges and universities, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your choice of a paralegal school will have a pronounced impact on your opportunities for success in your new career. Since there is a wide range in the quality of programs, choose wisely. Give yourself the greatest possible opportunity to succeed in this exciting profession. But regardless of how you choose to obtain your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have provided you will be able to evaluate each school and make your ultimate selection. And with the ideal education you can accomplish your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Thomaston GA.

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