How to Select a Paralegal Program near Titusville Florida
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Titusville FL and begin your journey that will result in a fulfilling profession in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s essential that you find the right school so that you will get the extensive training that you need to achieve success. As you most likely know, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of educational alternatives are becoming available, both at school and online. But with numerous options to choose from, where does one start? Some potential students start by looking for paralegal schools within traveling range of their Titusville homes. Of those alternatives, they try to find the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are necessary considerations when choosing a school, they are not the only qualifiers you should consider. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the school must be taken into account as well. Later in this post we will cover a list of concerns that you need to ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare each one prior to making your selection. But before we do, let’s take a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the instructional choices that are offered to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?
Paralegals and legal assistants essentially both fill the same job positions and responsibilities, just with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and belong to a separate job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants help attorneys in Titusville FL with a diverse array of job duties, including legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job functions are based upon the type of practice where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice might help with the logistics of a trial or transporting files to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is typically billed by the hour as are the lawyer’s. And the same as attorneys, they must conduct themselves with a high level of professionalism and follow a strict standard of professional ethics. As mentioned, their responsibilities can be varied in support of the practices where they are employed, but some of their day-to-day tasks can involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on related laws and cases
- Preparing correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping attorneys get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and managing legal files, documents and additional records
With all of their duties, the role of a Titusville FL paralegal can be involved and quite challenging. However, what they are not legally permitted to do is offer legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not restricted to clerical or administrative functions 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 preparation and ground work, lawyers are able to handle a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could alone.
Paralegal Education and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic requirements and job prospects will be the same. The quickest means to begin your career in Titusville FL as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which may require just 6 months to accomplish. Most entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more expansive education and may be earned at numerous community colleges in 2 years. For an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option also. Once you have obtained either a certificate or degree, you might choose to proceed and obtain a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Florida to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help increase your job opportunities, but help establish you as a professional also. 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 certificate or degree from an accredited school (we will discuss the advantages of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken 2 crucial first steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Titusville FL.
Paralegal Online Schools
Online paralegal schools have become more popular and can be an excellent alternative for individuals in Titusville FL searching for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be particularly appealing to students who continue to work while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an added advantage, online programs can sometimes be less expensive than more traditional options. Even supplementary expenses for such items as study materials or commuting can be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all internet schools are accredited, which we will cover in greater detail later. But at a minimum 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 reviewing are accredited by a highly regarded agency, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less supervised and formal environment, then earning your certificate or degree online could be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Schools
Since you now you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what educational choices are available, you can begin the process of evaluating Titusville FL area schools. But considering that there are numerous programs accessible at community and junior colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you need to know what questions to ask in order to compare each one. This is especially true when you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs as well. If you are like the majority of potential students, you will begin by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously covered, there are other important aspects to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over some of the questions you should be asking the programs you are considering so that you can effectively vet each one and make your final decision.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you pick need to be accredited by a highly regarded 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 focuses on online or distance education. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will obtain will be of the highest quality, but it will show future employers that you are a qualified professional also. A number of Titusville FL law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited program. Also, financial assistance and student loans are typically offered only for accredited schools.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Research what the rankings and reputations are for the Titusville FL paralegal schools you are considering. This is of specific importance if you are entering the field with no prior work history, since employers will need to make a decision based on the caliber of your education exclusively. Confirming that the school you choose is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating services, 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 a few law offices that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask which schools they recommend. Keep in mind that even when a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an excellent reputation.
Does the School Offer Internships? Internship programs provide students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal operation while still in school. They can also provide an avenue for students to start establishing contacts within the Titusville FL legal field. Find out if the paralegal schools you are assessing offer internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the paralegal programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Florida legal services employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Campus Located? Since laws differ from one state to another, it may be a good idea to enroll in a paralegal school located in the state where you plan to practice after graduation. Also, it will be necessary to establish relationships in the local legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is even more justification to acquire your education in the area where you choose to practice. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many require an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might wish to initially look at those colleges that are within your Titusville FL local area.
How Much is the Total Cost? Paralegal schools can vary in price based on the credential received and the amount of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expense for your training. Don’t forget to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance may be obtainable to help reduce part of the expense, so make sure to talk to the school’s financial aid department to see what is available in Titusville FL. Naturally if you opt to attend an online school, a portion these additional expenses, for instance for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Fit your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students keep working while obtaining their training and need flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend weekend or evening classes near Titusville FL, make certain classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, confirm that the school you choose offers that option. Last, inquire what the procedure is for making-up classes missed as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Titusville FL?
Titusville is a city in and the county seat of Brevard County, Florida, United States. The city's population was 43,761 as of the 2010 United States Census. Titusville is on the Indian River, west of Merritt Island and the Kennedy Space Center, and south-southwest of the Canaveral National Seashore. It is a principal city of the Palm Bay–Melbourne–Titusville Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The area was once inhabited by the Ais Indians, who gathered palmetto, cocoplum and seagrape berries. They also fished the Indian River, called the Rio de Ais by Spanish explorers. By 1760, however, the tribe had disappeared due to slave raids, disease, and rum. The United States acquired Florida from Spain in 1821, and the Seminole Wars delayed settlement.
The community was originally called Sand Point, and a post office was established in 1859, although it closed a few months later. Henry T. Titus arrived in 1867, intending to build a town on land owned by his wife, Mary Hopkins Titus, daughter of a prominent planter from Darien, Georgia. He laid out roads and in 1870 erected the Titus House, a large, one-story hotel next to a saloon. He also donated land for four churches and a courthouse, the latter an effort to get the town designated as county seat.
Titusville could have been called Riceville, but Titus challenged Capt. Clark Rice to a game of dominoes to decide the name. Titus won the game, and Sand Point became Titusville in 1873. The city was incorporated in 1887, the year construction began on St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church, as listed in the 1972 National Register of Historic Places. At one point, Titusville was nicknamed "The City of Churches".
Select the Best Paralegal College near Titusville FL
Enrolling in the best paralegal degree program is a vital first step to guarantee your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have covered in this article, you have the choice of attending classes on campus or you can attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Titusville home. Paralegal education programs are offered in many formats and lengths. Various kinds of public and private institutions make available paralegal training, including community and junior colleges, four-year colleges and universities, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal school will have a pronounced impact on your opportunities for success in your new profession. Given that there is a wide range in the quality of schools, pick carefully. Give yourself the best possible opportunity to succeed in this fascinating profession. But no matter how you choose to receive your education and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have provided you will have the ability to assess each program and make your final selection. And with the right training you can achieve your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Titusville FL.
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Paralegal Studies | California State University, East Bay
Area of study: Certificate in Paralegal Studies. Ideal for: Anyone interested in working with attorneys in all areas of civil and criminal law as a paralegal and who wish to meet the educational requirements dictated by California Law. Current paralegals who seek to differentiate themselves with an ABA-approved Paralegal Studies Certificate.