How to Pick a Paralegal College near Woodbury Connecticut
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Woodbury CT and begin your journey that will result in a gratifying profession in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s essential that you locate the best school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you need to succeed. As you most likely understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of academic options are becoming available, both at school and online. However with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one start? A number of potential students start by looking for paralegal schools within commuting range of their Woodbury homes. Of those alternatives, they try to find the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are prime considerations when choosing a college, they are not the only factors you need to consider. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the school ought to be considered too. Later on in this article we will review a list of concerns that you should ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can evaluate and compare every one before making your choice. But first, let’s have a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the academic options that are offered to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?
Paralegals and legal assistants basically both hold comparable job roles and functions, just with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and belong to a separate job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist lawyers in Woodbury CT 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 work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm could assist with the logistics of a trial or transferring files to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work is usually billed by the hour as are the attorney’s. And just like lawyers, they must conduct themselves with a high level of professionalism and abide by a strict standard of professional ethics. As stated, their duties can be diverse in support of the practices where they are employed, but a few of their day-to-day activities may involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Researching applicable laws and cases
- Composing correspondence and legal documents
- Filing legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping attorneys get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal files, documents and additional records
With all of their duties, the role of a Woodbury CT paralegal can be complex and very challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally authorized to do is provide legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But they are not confined to clerical or administrative tasks more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And because they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, attorneys are able to handle a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the educational requirements and opportunities will be the same. The fastest means to launch your career in Woodbury CT as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which can involve as little as six months to complete. Many entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more extensive education and may be obtained at many community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more comprehensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option as well. Once you have earned either a degree or a certificate, you might choose to continue and obtain a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in Connecticut to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help increase your career opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. Some of the highly respected 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 program (we will discuss the advantages of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken 2 crucial initial steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Woodbury CT.
Paralegal Online Classes
Paralegal online programs have become more available and may be an excellent alternative for students in Woodbury CT looking for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be particularly appealing to students who keep working while earning a certificate or degree. As an additional advantage, online programs can sometimes be less expensive than on campus options. Even ancillary expenditures for such items as study materials or commuting can be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will cover in greater detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the school and program you are thinking about are accredited by a reputable agency, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less supervised and formal setting, then obtaining your certificate or degree online could be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Paralegal Programs
Since you now you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what academic options are available, you can start the process of assessing Woodbury CT area schools. But considering that there are so many programs offered at community and junior colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you need to learn what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is especially true when you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs as well. If you are like the majority of potential students, you will begin by searching for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other significant issues to research also, such as accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over several of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are researching so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your final selection.
Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you enroll in need to be accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online training. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will get will be of the highest quality, but it will show future employers that you are a qualified professional also. Numerous Woodbury CT law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited school. Also, financial aid and student loans are usually available only for accredited programs.
What’s the Reputation of the School? Find out what the rankings and reputations are for the Woodbury CT paralegal programs you are looking at. This is of specific importance if you are entering the profession with no prior work history, since employers will need to rely on the caliber of your education exclusively. Confirming that the school you choose is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating services, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call several law firms that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask what schools they suggest. Bear 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 give students an opportunity to experience working in a law office or other legal operation while still in school. They can also provide a pathway for students to begin developing contacts within the Woodbury CT legal community. Ask if the paralegal schools you are evaluating provide internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the paralegal programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Connecticut legal services employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? Considering that laws differ from state to state, it might be beneficial to select a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you wish to practice after graduating. Also, it will be necessary to cultivate relationships in the area legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is even more reason to obtain your education in the area where you wish to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most require an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may want to first look at those schools that are within your Woodbury CT local region.
What is the Complete Expense? Paralegal programs can differ in cost depending on the credential earned and the amount of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your education. Don’t forget to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance may be available to help minimize part of the expense, so make sure to talk to the school’s financial aid department to find out what is offered in Woodbury CT. Of course if you choose to attend an online school, a portion these additional expenses, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? A number of paralegal students keep working while getting their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can solely attend weekend or evening classes near Woodbury CT, make sure classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, confirm that the school you choose offers that option. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making-up missed classes due to work, illness or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Woodbury CT?
Woodbury is a town in Litchfield County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 9,975 at the 2010 census. The town center is also designated by the U.S. Census Bureau as a census-designated place (CDP). Woodbury was founded in 1673.
The center of Woodbury is distinctive because, unlike many New England towns, it is not nucleated. In Woodbury, the older buildings are arrayed in linear fashion along both sides of a road that stretches for over a mile. The public buildings in the National Register Historic District include the First Congregational Church (1818), the Old Town Hall (1846), the United Methodist Church, the St. Paul's Episcopal Church (1785), and the North Congregational Church (1816).
The most notable of the public buildings is the Masonic Temple (1839). It is a modest, clapboard, Greek Revival temple, notable less for its architecture than for its dramatic location, situated atop a high cliff accessed by a long flight of steps (there is a modern road at the rear). It is visible from a distance and is especially dramatic at night, when it is illuminated by spotlights. The Woodbury Temple echoes the many temples of the Greek world that were perched at the edge of high places from which they could be seen from miles around and from far out at sea.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 36.7 square miles (95 km2), of which 36.5 square miles (95 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2) of (0.74%) is water. The CDP has a total area of 1.9 square miles (4.9 km2), all land.
Enroll in the Right Paralegal Certificate Program near Woodbury CT
Enrolling in the ideal paralegal educational program is a vital first step to guarantee your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have discussed in this article, you have the choice of attending classes at school or you can participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Woodbury home. Paralegal training programs are made available in many lengths and formats. Several kinds of public and private institutions make available paralegal education, including community and junior colleges, four year colleges and universities, 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 career. Considering that there is a wide range in the quality of schools, choose carefully. Afford yourself the greatest possible chance to succeed in this rewarding profession. But irrespective of how you choose to receive your training 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 ultimate decision. And with the right education you can accomplish your career objective to become a practicing paralegal in Woodbury CT.
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