How to Choose a Paralegal College near Stockton Kansas
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Stockton KS and start your journey that will lead to a rewarding profession in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s crucial that you locate the right school so that you will receive the extensive training that you require to succeed. As you most likely know, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more educational alternatives are becoming available, both on campus and online. However with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one start? Many potential students start by trying to find paralegal schools within commuting range of their Stockton residences. Of those alternatives, they search for the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are very important considerations when picking a school, they are not the only qualifiers you ought to take into consideration. Things such as accreditation and the reputation of the program ought to be taken into account as well. Later on in this post we will review a list of questions that you ought to ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can evaluate and compare every one prior to making your choice. But first, let’s take a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the instructional 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 essentially both fill the same job positions and responsibilities, only with different titles. However, 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 Stockton KS with a wide variety of job functions, such as legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job duties are based upon the type of practice where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice may help with the logistics of a trial or delivering documents to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is usually billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And just like lawyers, they must conduct themselves with a high level of professionalism and abide by a strict code of professional ethics. As stated, their responsibilities can be diverse in support of the firms where they are employed, but some of their day-to-day tasks might involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on pertinent cases and laws
- Preparing correspondence and legal documents
- Submitting legal papers with the court or opposing counsel
- Assisting attorneys get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the job of a Stockton KS paralegal can be complicated and rather demanding. On the other hand, what they are not legally allowed to do is offer legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But paralegals are not restricted to administrative or clerical functions more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the main support systems for lawyers. And since they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, lawyers have the ability to take on 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 possibly having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the educational requirements and opportunities will be the same. The quickest way to launch your career in Stockton KS as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which can require just 6 months to accomplish. Most entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more extensive education and can be obtained at numerous community colleges in 2 years. For an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option as well. When you have acquired either a certificate or degree, you may want to continue and receive a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Kansas to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help boost your job opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional also. A few 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 school (we will discuss the benefits of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 essential initial steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Stockton KS.
Paralegal Online Classes
Paralegal online schools have become more popular and may be a good option for students in Stockton KS looking for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be particularly attractive to those who continue to work while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, online classes can often be less costly than more traditional options. Even secondary expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all online schools are accredited, which we will cover in greater detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the education you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make certain that the school and program you are considering are accredited by a highly regarded agency, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less structured and conventional environment, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Paralegal Schools
Once you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what training choices are offered, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating Stockton KS area schools. But considering that there are numerous programs accessible at community and junior colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you need to know what questions to ask in order to compare each one. This is particularly true if you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like the majority of prospective students, you will begin by searching for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already discussed, there are other important aspects to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over a few of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are investigating so that you can properly vet each one and make your ultimate selection.
Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you choose should be accredited by a respected accrediting agency 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 learning. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will obtain will be of the highest standard, but it will show potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Numerous Stockton KS law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited school. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are typically obtainable only for accredited programs.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Research what the reputations and rankings are for the Stockton KS paralegal programs you are contemplating. This is of particular importance if you are new to the field with no previous work history, since employers will need to make a decision based on the caliber of your education exclusively. Checking that the program you pick is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating reports, such as those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call some law practices that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask which schools they suggest. Remember that even though a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an excellent reputation.
Does the Program Sponsor Internships? Internship programs offer students an opportunity to experience working in a law practice or other legal enterprise while attending school. They can also offer a pathway for students to begin developing contacts within the Stockton KS legal community. Find out if the paralegal schools you are evaluating provide internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in a new field can be difficult without help. Ask if the paralegal programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Kansas legal services employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School’s Location? Because laws vary from one state to another, it might be beneficial to enroll in a paralegal school located in the state where you wish to work after graduation. Also, it will be valuable to build relationships in the area legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is even more reason to acquire your education in the area where you want to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many charge an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may want to initially consider those colleges that are within your Stockton KS local area.
How Much is the Entire Expense? Paralegal programs can differ in price depending on the credential received and the length of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expense for your education. Don’t forget to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid may be accessible to help minimize some of the cost, so don’t forget to contact the school’s financial aid office to see what is offered in Stockton KS. Needless to say that if you decide to attend an online program, some of these added costs, such as for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Accommodate your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students continue working while receiving their training and must have flexibility in class scheduling. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Stockton KS, make certain classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the program you select offers that option. Last, inquire what the process is for making up classes missed as a result of sickness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Stockton KS?
Stockton was founded in 1872. A large share of the first settlers were cattle dealers, or stockmen, and they named their new home Stocktown, or as it soon became Stockton. Stockton was incorporated as a city in 1879.
Stockton is located on the natural trail up the valley of the South Solomon River and where the military supply trail from Fort Kearney, Nebraska, to Fort Hays, Kansas, crossed the South Solomon River. Stockton survived & grew during the thirteen years from founding until the arrival of the railroad in 1885.
Stockton is located at 39°26′11″N 99°16′18″W / 39.43639°N 99.27167°W / 39.43639; -99.27167 (39.436328, -99.271641). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.23 square miles (5.78 km2), all of it land.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,329 people, 606 households, and 369 families residing in the city. The population density was 596.0 inhabitants per square mile (230.1/km2). There were 743 housing units at an average density of 333.2 per square mile (128.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.1% White, 0.5% African American, 0.6% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.2% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.3% of the population.
Choose the Best Paralegal School near Stockton KS
Enrolling in the best paralegal degree program is a vital first step toward 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 attend them online in the comfort and privacy of your Stockton home. Paralegal training programs are made available in numerous lengths and formats. Various kinds of public and private institutions make available paralegal education, including community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal school will have a profound influence on your prospects for success in your new profession. Since there is a broad range in the quality of schools, choose wisely. Afford yourself the greatest possible chance to be successful in this rewarding profession. But no matter how you elect to obtain your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will have the ability to assess each school and make your ultimate selection. And with the ideal training you can accomplish your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Stockton KS.
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