Find Paralegal Certificate Schools near Winterville GA 30683

How to Find a Paralegal Studies Program near Winterville Georgia

Winterville GA paralegal working with attorneyCongratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Winterville GA and start your journey that will lead to a satisfying career in legal services. However, it’s crucial that you find the ideal school so that you will get the comprehensive training that you require to succeed. As you probably understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more educational alternatives are becoming available, both on campus and online. However with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? Some prospective students begin by searching for paralegal schools within commuting range of their Winterville residences. Of those choices, they look for the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are necessary considerations when picking a school, they are not the only factors you need to consider. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the program need to be considered as well. Later in this article we will review a list of questions that you ought to ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare each one prior to making your choice. But before we do, let’s take 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?

Winterville 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 equivalent of either of those two positions and belong to a different job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist lawyers in Winterville 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 firm may assist with the logistics of a trial or delivering files to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is typically billed by the hour as are the lawyer’s. And the same as attorneys, they must perform with a high degree of professionalism and follow a strict code of professional ethics. As noted, their responsibilities can be varied in support of the firms where they are employed, but a few of their day-to-day tasks can include:

  • Researching and fact checking cases
  • Researching applicable cases and laws
  • Drafting correspondence and legal documents
  • Submitting legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
  • Assisting lawyers get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
  • Organizing and preserving legal documents, files and additional records

With all of their responsibilities, the job of a Winterville GA paralegal can be involved and quite challenging. However, what they are not legally permitted to do is offer legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not restricted to administrative or clerical duties more applicable 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, attorneys are able to take on a much larger number of clients or cases than they could on their own.

Paralegal Education and Certification

law books and Winterville GA judge's gavelAs we discussed earlier, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic requirements and opportunities will be the same. The quickest way to launch your career in Winterville GA as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which may involve as little as 6 months to accomplish. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more comprehensive education and may be acquired at numerous community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. After you have earned either a degree or a certificate, you may want to proceed and receive a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in Georgia to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help boost your job opportunities, but help establish 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 discuss the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 important initial steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Winterville GA.

Paralegal Online Certificates

attending paralegal school online in Winterville GAOnline paralegal schools have become more available and may be a good alternative for individuals in Winterville GA searching for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be especially appealing to those who continue to work while earning a degree. As an added benefit, online programs can sometimes be less costly than more traditional options. Even secondary expenditures for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all online programs are accredited, which we will cover in more 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 considering are accredited by a respected agency, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less supervised and formal environment, then obtaining your degree or certificate online could be the right choice for you.

What to Ask Paralegal Colleges

Since you now you have a better idea regarding what paralegals do and what academic options are offered, you can begin the undertaking of assessing Winterville GA area schools. But because there are so many programs available at junior and community colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you must find out what questions to ask so that you can compare each one. This is particularly true when you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like many 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 crucial issues to consider as well, for instance accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over several of the questions you should be asking the programs you are considering so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your final choice.

Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you pick should be accredited by a recognized organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will obtain will be of the highest quality, but it will establish with potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. Numerous Winterville GA law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited program. Finally, financial aid and student loans are usually obtainable only for accredited schools.

What’s the School’s Reputation? Research what the rankings and reputations are for the Winterville GA paralegal programs you are considering. This is of particular importance if you are entering the profession with no previous experience, since employers will need to make a decision based on the quality of your education exclusively. Checking that the school you pick is accredited is a good first step. Checking school rating services, such as those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also contact some law offices that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask which schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even if a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an outstanding reputation.

Does the School Offer Internships? Internship programs offer students an opportunity to experience working in a law office or other legal establishment while still in school. They can also offer a pathway for students to begin developing contacts within the Winterville GA legal field. Find out if the paralegal programs you are reviewing provide internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing after graduation.

Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new profession can be challenging without help. Find out if the paralegal schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Georgia legal services employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.

Where is the School’s Location? Because laws vary from state to state, it may be advantageous to enroll in a paralegal school located in the state where you wish to practice after graduating. Also, it will be valuable to create relationships in the area legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is all the more reason to acquire your education in the area 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 want to first investigate those colleges that are within your Winterville GA local area.

What is the Total Cost? Paralegal programs can vary in cost depending on the credential earned and the length of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your education. Don’t forget to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance might be obtainable to help minimize part of the expense, so be sure to check with the school’s financial aid office to find out what is available in Winterville GA. Needless to say that if you choose to attend an online school, some of these additional costs, such as for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.

Do the Classes Accommodate your Schedule? A number of paralegal students keep working while receiving their training and require flexibility in class scheduling. If you can only attend weekend or evening classes near Winterville GA, verify classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, confirm that the program you enroll in offers that option. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Considering Paralegal School in Winterville GA?

Winterville, Georgia

Winterville is a city in Clarke County, Georgia, United States. Since 1991, Winterville has been the only municipality located wholly within Athens-Clarke County. The population was 1,122 at the 2010 census.[5]

Winterville is located at 33°58′00″N 83°16′54″W / 33.966720°N 83.281669°W / 33.966720; -83.281669,[6] a 6-mile (10 km)–drive from the University of Georgia.[1] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.7 square miles (6.9 km2), all land.

As of the census of 2010, there were 1,122 people, 485 households, and 318 families residing in the city. The population density was 431.5 people per square mile (162.6/km2). There were 529 housing units at an average density of 203.5 per square mile (76.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 73.35% White, 21.84% African American, 0.36% Asian, 0.27% Native American, 3.57% from other races, and 0.62% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 5.26% of the population.

There were 485 households out of which 28.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.8% were married couples living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.4% were non-families. 28.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.84.

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Choose the Best Paralegal School near Winterville GA

Enrolling in the right paralegal educational program is an essential first step to guarantee your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have discussed in this article, you have the option of attending classes on campus or you can participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Winterville home. Paralegal training programs are provided in many lengths and formats. Several kinds of private and public institutions provide paralegal training, including community and junior colleges, four year colleges and universities, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal school will have a pronounced impact on your prospects for success in your new career. Considering that there is a wide range in the quality of schools, choose wisely. Give yourself the greatest possible opportunity to be successful in this rewarding profession. But regardless of how you elect to receive your education and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have presented you will be able to evaluate each school and make your final decision. And with the appropriate education you can accomplish your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in Winterville GA.

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