How to Find a Paralegal Degree Program near Dover Delaware
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Dover DE and start your journey that will lead to a gratifying career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s crucial that you find the best school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you need to succeed. As you probably understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of academic choices are becoming available, both at school and online. However with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? A number of potential students start by trying to find paralegal schools within driving distance of their Dover residences. Of those options, they look for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are prime considerations when selecting a college, they are not the only factors you need to take into consideration. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the program should be taken into account as well. Later in this post we will cover a list of concerns that you should ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can examine and compare each one prior to making your selection. But before we do, let’s have a look at what a paralegal does and the instructional alternatives that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?
Paralegals and legal assistants for the most part both hold comparable job positions and responsibilities, just with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and are part of a separate job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants help lawyers in Dover DE with a wide variety of job duties, including maintaining client files, legal research, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their specific job functions are relevant to the type of practice where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice could assist with the logistics of a trial or transporting documents to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work is normally billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And the same as lawyers, they must perform with a high degree of professionalism and adhere to a strict standard of professional ethics. As noted, their responsibilities can be diverse in support of the practices where they work, but a few of their day-to-day tasks might include:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on pertinent laws and cases
- Preparing correspondence and legal documents
- Submitting legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping attorneys get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal files, documents and other records
With all of their responsibilities, the job of a Dover DE paralegal can be complicated 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 proceeding. But they are not limited to administrative or clerical tasks more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the main support systems for lawyers. And because they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, attorneys are able to take on a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Training and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are basically 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 fastest means to begin your career in Dover DE as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which can involve just 6 months to complete. A large number of entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more expansive education and may be earned at many community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option also. After you have earned either a degree or a certificate, you may choose to continue and obtain a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in Delaware to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help increase your job opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional also. A few of the highly respected certifying agencies in the profession 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 address the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken two important first steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Dover DE.
Online Paralegal Training
Online paralegal programs have become more prevalent and can be a good alternative for individuals in Dover DE searching for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online schools can be especially appealing to individuals who keep working while earning a certificate or degree. As an additional advantage, online schools can often be less expensive than more traditional options. Even ancillary expenses for such items as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated. One caveat, not all online 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 quality. So check to make certain that the school and program you are reviewing are accredited by a respected organization, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less structured and conventional setting, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Paralegal Schools
Since you now you have a better idea regarding what paralegals do and what training choices are available, you can start the undertaking of evaluating Dover DE area schools. But since there are numerous programs available at community and junior colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you need to find out what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is particularly true if you include all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs also. If you are like many prospective students, you will begin by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already discussed, there are other critical issues to research also, for instance accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over some of the questions you should be asking the schools you are considering so that you can properly vet each one and make your ultimate selection.
Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you pick should be accredited by a reputable organization 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 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 as well. A number of Dover DE law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited school. Finally, financial aid and student loans are often offered only for accredited schools.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Learn what the rankings and reputations are for the Dover DE paralegal programs you are contemplating. This is of particular importance if you are entering the field with no prior experience, since employers will have to rely on the caliber of your training exclusively. Verifying that the program you choose is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating services, such as those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also contact several law firms that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask which schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even though a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the Program Provide Internships? Internship programs offer students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal enterprise while remaining in school. They can also offer a pathway for students to begin developing contacts within the Dover DE legal community. Find out if the paralegal programs you are reviewing provide internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the paralegal programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Delaware legal services employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School’s Location? Because laws differ from state to state, it may be beneficial to choose a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you plan to work after graduation. In addition, it will be valuable to build relationships in the local legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is even more reason to receive your education in the community where you want to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most charge a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might need to first consider those colleges that are within your Dover DE local area.
How Much is the Total Expense? Paralegal programs can differ in price depending on the credential obtained and the amount of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only expense for your training. Remember to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid may be accessible to help minimize part of the expense, so make sure to talk to the school’s financial aid office to find out what is offered in Dover DE. Naturally if you choose to attend an online school, some of these supplementary expenses, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Accommodate your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students continue working while getting their training and require flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Dover DE, make sure classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part time basis, confirm that the school you select provides that option. Finally, ask what the process is for making-up missed classes as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Dover DE?
Dover (/ˈdoʊvər/) is the capital and second-largest city in the U.S. state of Delaware. It is also the county seat of Kent County, and the principal city of the Dover, DE Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of Kent County and is part of the Philadelphia-Wilmington-Camden, PA-NJ-DE-MD Combined Statistical Area. It is located on the St. Jones River in the Delaware River coastal plain. It was named by William Penn of Dover in Kent, England. As of 2010, the city had a population of 36,047.
First recorded in its Latinised form of Portus Dubris, the name derives from the Brythonic word for waters (dwfr in Middle Welsh). The same element is present in the towns French (Douvres) and Modern Welsh (Dofr) forms.
Dover was founded as the court town for newly established Kent County in 1683 by William Penn, the proprietor of the territory generally known as the "Lower Counties on the Delaware." Later, in 1717, the city was officially laid out by a special commission of the Delaware General Assembly. The capital of the state of Delaware was moved here from New Castle in 1777 because of its central location and relative safety from British raiders on the Delaware River. Because of an act passed in October 1779, the assembly elected to meet at any place in the state they saw fit, meeting successively in Wilmington, Lewes, Dover, New Castle, and Lewes again, until it finally settled down permanently in Dover in October 1781. The city's central square, known as The Green, was the location of many rallies, troop reviews, and other patriotic events. To this day, The Green remains the heart of Dover's historic district and is the location of the Delaware Supreme Court and the Kent County Courthouse.
Dover was most famously the home of Caesar Rodney, the popular wartime leader of Delaware during the American Revolution. He is known to have been buried outside Dover, but the precise location of his grave is unknown. A cenotaph in his honor is erected in the cemetery of the Christ Episcopal Church near The Green in Dover.
Choose the Best Paralegal Training near Dover DE
Selecting the ideal paralegal training 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 option of attending classes at school or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Dover home. Paralegal training programs are made available in various formats and lengths. Various types of public and private institutions provide paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four year colleges and universities, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal school will have a profound impact on your prospects for success in your new career. Considering that there is a broad range in the quality of programs, pick wisely. Give yourself the best possible opportunity to be successful in this fascinating profession. But no matter how you elect to acquire your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have presented you will have the ability to assess each school and make your ultimate decision. And with the ideal training you can achieve your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Dover DE.
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