Find Paralegal Certificate Schools near West Point GA 31833

How to Find a Paralegal Degree Program near West Point Georgia

West Point GA paralegal working with attorneyBest Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near West Point GA and start your journey that will lead to a fulfilling career 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 understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more academic choices are being offered, both on campus and online. However with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one start? Many potential students begin by looking for paralegal schools within traveling range of their West Point residences. Of those alternatives, they look for the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are very important considerations when selecting a school, they are not the only qualifiers you ought to consider. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the program must be taken into account as well. Later on in this post we will cover a list of questions that you must ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can evaluate and compare every one before making your choice. But first, let’s take a look at what a paralegal does and the academic alternatives that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.

What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?

West Point GA law libraryParalegals and legal assistants for the most part both fill the same job roles and responsibilities, only with different titles. On the other hand, 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 assist attorneys in West Point GA with a wide range of job functions, including legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job duties are relevant to the type of legal firm where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm may assist with the logistics of a trial or transferring documents to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work is usually billed hourly as are the lawyer’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 stated, their responsibilities can be wide ranging in support of the practices where they work, but a few of their regular tasks might involve:

  • Investigating and fact checking cases
  • Conducting research on related laws and cases
  • Composing correspondence and legal papers
  • Filing legal papers with the court or opposing counsel
  • Assisting attorneys prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
  • Organizing and maintaining legal files, documents and additional records

With all of their duties, the job of a West Point GA paralegal can be involved and rather challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally authorized to do is give legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not restricted to clerical or administrative duties more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the right hand support systems for lawyers. And because they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, lawyers are able to handle a much larger number of cases or clients than they could otherwise.

Paralegal Training and Certification

law books and West Point GA judge's gavelAs we previously covered, 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 opportunities will be the same. The quickest way to start your career in West Point GA as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which can involve as little as six months to accomplish. Most entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more extensive education and can be earned at numerous community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. Once you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you might choose to proceed and receive a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in Georgia to practice as a paralegal, certification can not only help maximize your employment opportunities, but help establish you as a professional also. Some of the highly respected 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 school (we will address the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two important initial steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in West Point GA.

Paralegal Online Degrees

attending paralegal school online in West Point GAParalegal online programs have become more available and may be a good alternative for students in West Point GA looking for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be especially appealing to individuals who continue to work while earning a degree. As an added benefit, online programs can sometimes be less expensive than on campus options. Even ancillary expenditures for such things as study materials or commuting can be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all internet schools are accredited, which we will discuss in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the training you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make certain that the school and program you are thinking about are accredited by a respected organization, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less structured and formal setting, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.

What to Ask Paralegal Studies Programs

Now that you have a better idea regarding what paralegals do and what academic options are available, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating West Point GA area schools. But considering that there are numerous programs offered at junior and community colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you must learn what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is particularly true when you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like many prospective students, you will start by searching for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already discussed, there are other significant aspects to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at several of the questions you need to be asking the programs you are considering so that you can properly vet each one and make your ultimate choice.

Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you enroll in need to be accredited by a reputable accrediting agency 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 online or distance training. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will obtain will be of the highest quality, but it will demonstrate to potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. A number of West Point GA law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited program. Finally, financial aid and student loans are usually offered only for accredited schools.

What’s the Reputation of the Program? Learn what the reputations and rankings are for the West Point GA paralegal schools you are considering. This is of special importance if you are new to the field with no prior work history, since employers will have to make a decision based on the quality of your education exclusively. Verifying that the school you pick is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating services, 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 call several law firms that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask which schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even if a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an outstanding reputation.

Does the Program Offer Internships? Internship programs offer students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal enterprise while still in school. They can also present a means for students to start establishing contacts within the West Point 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 Help offered? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the paralegal programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Georgia legal services employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and sought after.

Where is the School’s Location? Because laws vary among states, it might be advantageous to choose a paralegal school domiciled 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 even more justification to acquire your education in the community where you wish to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many charge a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may need to first consider those colleges that are within your West Point GA local area.

How Much is the Entire Cost? Paralegal programs can differ in cost based on the credential earned and the length of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expense for your training. Don’t forget to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance may be accessible to help offset some of the expense, so be sure to consult with the school’s financial aid office to find out what is offered in West Point GA. Naturally if you opt to attend an online school, some of these added expenses, such as for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.

Do the Class Times Accommodate your Schedule? Many paralegal students continue working while receiving their training and require flexibility in class scheduling. If you can only attend weekend or evening classes near West Point GA, make certain classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the program you enroll in makes available that option. Last, inquire what the protocol is for making-up classes missed due to sickness, work or family emergencies.

Considering Paralegal School in West Point GA?

West Point, Georgia

West Point is a city in Troup and Harris counties in the U.S. state of Georgia. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 3,474,[4] and in 2015 the estimated population was 3,728.[5] Most of the city is in Troup County, which is part of the LaGrange Micropolitan Statistical Area, and hence part of the Atlanta-Athens-Clarke County-Sandy Springs, GA Combined Statistical Area. A sliver in the south is in Harris County, which is part of the Columbus Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The city's present name comes from its being near the westernmost point of the Chattahoochee River, where the river turns from its southwesterly flow from the Appalachian Mountains to due south – for all practical purposes – and forms the boundary with Alabama. The large nearby reservoir, West Point Lake, was created by the Army Corps of Engineers by the building of the West Point Dam, for water storage and hydroelectric power generation. The reservoir stores water which can be released during dry seasons, in order to maintain the water level of the navigable inland waterway from Columbus, Georgia, south to the Gulf of Mexico.

During the late spring of 2003, there was a flood caused by extremely heavy rainfall and thunderstorms upstream of the West Point Dam; the weather caused the water level in the reservoir to come close to overflowing the top of the dam. There were allegations of poor forecasting by the Corps of Engineers of the reservoir's water levels.[citation needed] The flood water would have overflowed the dam had a large amount of water not been released though the spillway of the dam. Whereas this prevented the catastrophic failure of the West Point Dam, the city endured a flood much more severe than any other in the time since the dam had been built.

In the mid-19th century, the Atlanta & LaGrange Railroad was established and soon renamed the Atlanta & West Point Railroad, using the name of West Point; the city of East Point, Fulton County, Georgia, received its name for being at the northeastern end of this railroad line. The rail line linked metropolitan Atlanta with the lower reaches of the Chattahoochee River, with Columbus, and with Montgomery, Alabama, via the Montgomery & West Point Railroad.

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Select the Right Paralegal Degree Program near West Point GA

Selecting the ideal paralegal educational program is a crucial first step to guarantee your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have covered in this article, you have the choice of attending classes at school or you can attend them online in the comfort and privacy of your West Point home. Paralegal training programs are provided in various formats and lengths. Various types 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 profound impact on your opportunities for success in your new career. Since there is a broad range in the quality of programs, pick wisely. Afford yourself the greatest possible opportunity to be successful in this fascinating profession. But irrespective of how you choose to obtain your education and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have provided you will be able to examine each program and make your final decision. And with the ideal training you can achieve your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in West Point GA.

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