How to Select a Paralegal Training Program near Selden Kansas
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Selden KS and start your journey that will lead to a rewarding career in legal services. However, it’s essential that you find the ideal school so that you will get 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 more and more academic choices are becoming available, both on campus and online. But with so many alternatives to choose from, where does one start? Many potential students start by looking for paralegal schools within driving range of their Selden homes. Of those choices, they try to find the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are very important considerations when choosing a college, they are not the only qualifiers you must consider. Things such as accreditation and the reputation of the school must be considered too. Later on in this post we will review a list of questions that you need to ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can evaluate and compare each one prior to making your selection. But first, let’s have a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the academic choices that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?
Paralegals and legal assistants essentially both fill comparable job positions and functions, just with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a separate job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants help lawyers in Selden KS with a wide range of job duties, including maintaining client files, legal research, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job functions are relevant to the type of legal firm where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice might help with trial logistics or transferring files to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work is typically billed by the hour as are the attorney’s. And just like attorneys, they must carry out their duties with a high degree of professionalism and comply with a strict code of professional ethics. As noted, their responsibilities can be wide ranging in support of the practices where they are employed, but a few of their routine activities might include:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on pertinent laws and cases
- Preparing 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 managing legal files, documents and additional records
With all of their duties, the job of a Selden KS paralegal can be complex and rather demanding. On the other hand, what they are not legally authorized to do is offer legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not limited to clerical or administrative tasks more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And because they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, lawyers have the ability to manage a much larger volume of clients or cases than they could on their own.
Paralegal Education and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the academic requirements and job prospects will be the same. The quickest means to launch your career in Selden KS as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which can require as little as 6 months to accomplish. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more expansive education and may be obtained at numerous community colleges in 2 years. For an even more extensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered as well. When you have earned either a certificate or degree, you might want to continue and receive a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in Kansas to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help improve your employment opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional also. Some of the highly regarded 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 cover the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 important initial steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Selden KS.
Online Paralegal Schools
Online paralegal programs have become more prevalent and may be an excellent option for students in Selden KS looking for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online schools can be especially appealing to students who continue to work while obtaining a degree. As an additional benefit, online programs can sometimes be less costly than on campus options. Even secondary expenses for such items as commuting or study materials can be minimized or eliminated. One caveat, not all online programs are accredited, which we will cover in more detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest caliber. So check to make sure that the school and program you are reviewing are accredited by a reputable agency, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less supervised and formal environment, then obtaining your certificate or degree online could be the ideal option for you.
Things to Ask Paralegal Programs
Since you now you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what training options are offered, you can begin the process of evaluating Selden KS area schools. But considering that there are so many programs available at community and junior colleges, as well as vocational and trade schools, you need to find out what questions to ask in order to compare each one. This is especially 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 commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously covered, there are other crucial factors to consider also, including accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s take a look at a few of the questions you need to be asking the programs you are considering so that you can properly vet each one and make your final selection.
Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you choose need to be accredited by a highly regarded organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will get will be of the highest standard, but it will demonstrate to future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Many Selden KS law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited school. Also, financial assistance and student loans are usually available only for accredited schools.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Learn what the rankings and reputations are for the Selden KS paralegal schools you are considering. This is of specific importance if you are entering the field with no prior experience, since employers will have to make a decision based on the quality of your training exclusively. Confirming that the school you choose is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating services, such as those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call a few law firms that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask which schools they recommend. Bear in mind that even when a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the Program Sponsor Internships? Internship programs give students a chance to experience working in a law office or other legal operation while remaining in school. They can also offer a pathway for students to start creating contacts within the Selden KS legal community. Ask if the paralegal schools you are evaluating offer internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the paralegal schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Kansas legal services employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? Because laws differ from one state to another, it may be beneficial to choose a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you wish to practice after graduation. In addition, it will be important to cultivate relationships in the neighboring legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is all the more reason to acquire your education in the community where you choose to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most charge a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might need to initially look at those schools that are within your Selden KS local region.
How Much is the Complete Cost? Paralegal programs can vary in cost depending on the credential earned and the length of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only cost 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 accessible to help offset part of the expense, so don’t forget to consult with the school’s financial aid department to find out what is available in Selden KS. Needless to say that if you opt to attend an online program, some of these supplementary costs, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Match your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students keep working while receiving their training and require flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend weekend or evening classes near Selden KS, make sure classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the program you choose offers that option. Last, inquire what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Selden KS?
In 1893, not long after its founding, tragedy struck the rural town. A mysterious fire started among the files in the courthouse. All attempts to put the fires out failed, and the entire courthouse burnt to the ground. Two people died in the fire, and important files regarding accusations of a wealthy land owner killing an immigrant family were destroyed.
Selden is located at 39°32′28″N 100°34′1″W / 39.54111°N 100.56694°W / 39.54111; -100.56694 (39.541194, -100.567064). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.30 square miles (0.78 km2), all of it land.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Selden has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
As of the census of 2010, there were 219 people, 101 households, and 57 families residing in the city. The population density was 730.0 inhabitants per square mile (281.9/km2). There were 118 housing units at an average density of 393.3 per square mile (151.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.3% White, 0.5% Native American, and 2.3% from other races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.8% of the population.
Find the Right Paralegal Training near Selden KS
Selecting the right paralegal educational program is a crucial first step to guarantee your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have addressed in this post, you have the option of attending classes on campus or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Selden residence. Paralegal training programs are provided in numerous formats and lengths. Different kinds of private and public institutions provide paralegal training, including community colleges, four year colleges and universities, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a profound influence on your opportunities for success in your new career. Considering that there is a broad range in the quality of programs, choose carefully. Give yourself the greatest possible chance to succeed in this fascinating profession. But no matter how you elect to obtain your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have presented you will be able to review each school and make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate education you can achieve your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Selden KS.
Other Cool Cities in Kansas