How to Select a Paralegal Program near Trenton Georgia
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Trenton GA and start your journey that will result in a satisfying career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s essential that you locate the right school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you need to be successful. As you probably understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more academic alternatives are being offered, both at school and online. But with so many alternatives to choose from, where does one start? Some prospective students begin by looking for paralegal schools within commuting distance of their Trenton homes. Of those alternatives, they look for the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are prime considerations when choosing a school, they are not the only factors you ought to take into consideration. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the program ought to be taken into account too. Later in this post we will review a list of questions that you need to ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can evaluate and compare each one before making your selection. But before we do, let’s take a look at exactly 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 positions and functions, only with different titles. However, 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 assist lawyers in Trenton GA with a wide variety of job duties, including legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job duties are based upon the type of practice where they are employed. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice might assist with trial logistics or delivering documents to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is typically billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And the same as attorneys, they must perform with a high degree of professionalism and adhere to a strict standard of professional ethics. As mentioned, their duties can be varied in support of the practices where they are employed, but some of their regular activities may involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on applicable cases and laws
- Composing correspondence and legal documents
- Filing legal papers with the court or opposing counsel
- Helping lawyers prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a Trenton GA paralegal can be involved and quite challenging. However, what they are not legally authorized to do is offer legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal action. But they are not restricted to clerical or administrative duties more suited 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 ground work and preparation, attorneys are able to handle a much larger number of clients or cases than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Training and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the educational prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The quickest way to launch your career in Trenton GA as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which can require just 6 months to accomplish. A large number of entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more expansive education and can be obtained at many community colleges in two years. For an even more extensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are available as well. After you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you may want to continue and earn a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in Georgia to work 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 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 program (we will discuss the advantages of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken 2 important initial steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Trenton GA.
Online Paralegal Certificates
Online paralegal schools have become more popular and can be a good option for those in Trenton GA looking for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online programs can be particularly attractive to those who continue to work while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an added advantage, online schools can often be less costly than more traditional options. Even supplementary expenditures for such things as commuting or study materials can be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will cover in greater detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest caliber. So check to make certain that the school and program you are looking into are accredited by a respected agency, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less structured and conventional setting, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.
What to Ask Paralegal Schools
Since you now you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what academic options are offered, you can begin the undertaking of assessing Trenton GA area schools. But because there are numerous programs offered at junior and community colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools, you need to know what questions to ask so that you can compare 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 driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously covered, there are other crucial 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 programs you are investigating so that you can properly vet each one and make your ultimate choice.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you select should be accredited by a respected organization 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 targets online or distance learning. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will get will be of the highest quality, but it will demonstrate to future employers that you are a qualified professional also. A number of Trenton GA law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited program. Also, financial assistance and student loans are usually obtainable only for accredited programs.
What’s the Reputation of the School? Research what the reputations and rankings are for the Trenton GA paralegal programs you are contemplating. This is of specific importance if you are new to the profession with no previous experience, since employers will need to make a decision based on the caliber of your education exclusively. Verifying that the program you pick is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating reports, including those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also call several law practices that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask which schools they recommend. Bear in mind that even if a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an excellent reputation.
Does the School Sponsor Internships? Internship programs give students an opportunity to experience working in a law practice or other legal establishment while attending school. They can also provide a pathway for students to start establishing contacts within the Trenton GA legal field. Ask if the paralegal schools you are assessing provide internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the paralegal programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Georgia legal services employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? Because laws vary from state to state, it might be advantageous to select a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you want to work after graduating. In addition, it will be valuable to establish relationships in the area legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is all the more justification to receive your education in the community where you choose to work. 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 initially investigate those colleges that are within your Trenton GA local area.
What is the Entire Expense? Paralegal schools can vary in cost based on the credential earned and the length of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only cost for your education. Remember to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance may be accessible to help minimize part of the expense, so make sure to contact the school’s financial aid office to find out what is available in Trenton GA. Needless to say that if you opt to attend an online program, some of these supplementary expenses, for instance for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? A number of paralegal students continue working while receiving their training and require flexibility in class scheduling. If you can only attend weekend or evening classes near Trenton GA, verify classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make sure that the program you choose offers that option. Finally, inquire what the process is for making up missed classes as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Trenton GA?
Trenton is a city in Dade County, Georgia, United States. Founded in the 1830s, the area was originally known as Salem. In 1839 Salem was designated the seat of the newly formed Dade County. It was renamed Trenton in 1841. The population was 2,301 at the 2010 census. It is the only incorporated municipality in the county, and as such it serves as the county seat. Trenton is part of the Chattanooga, Tennessee–GA Metropolitan Statistical Area.
This was historically part of Cherokee people territory before Georgia and the United States forced them to cede lands and, under Indian Removal Act, relocate to Indian Territory in the 1830s. The area was developed largely for subsistence farming.
The noted Southern humorist George Washington Harris (1814–1869) is buried in the Brock Cemetery in Trenton. Although he was considered one of the seminal writers of Southern humor and greatly influenced the literary works of Mark Twain, William Faulkner, and Flannery O'Connor, his grave was not officially identified and marked with a monument until 2008.
As of the census of 2010, there were 2,301 people, 904 households, and 599 families residing in the city. The population density was 742.25 people per square mile (244.2/km²). There were 1,012 housing units at an average density of 326.45 per square mile (106.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 95.5% White, 0.7% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 0.9% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.2% of the population.
Choose the Best Paralegal School near Trenton GA
Selecting the best paralegal educational program is an essential first step to guarantee your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have covered in this post, you have the choice of attending classes on campus or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Trenton home. Paralegal training programs are made available in numerous lengths and formats. Several kinds of public and private institutions offer paralegal training, including junior and community colleges, four year universities and colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a pronounced influence on your opportunities 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 be successful in this rewarding profession. But irrespective of how you decide to receive your education and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will have the ability to review each school and make your final decision. And with the right education you can accomplish your career objective to become a practicing paralegal in Trenton GA.
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