How to Find a Paralegal Training Program near Bullhead City Arizona
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Bullhead City AZ and start your journey that will lead to a fulfilling profession in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s crucial that you find the ideal school so that you will receive the extensive training that you need to succeed. As you probably know, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more educational alternatives are being offered, both on campus and online. But with so many options to choose from, where does one begin? Many prospective students start by searching for paralegal schools within driving range of their Bullhead City residences. Of those alternatives, they look for the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important considerations when picking a college, they are not the only factors you must consider. Things such as accreditation and the reputation of the program must be taken into account too. Later on in this post we will cover a list of questions that you must ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can examine and compare each one prior to making your selection. But first, let’s take a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the instructional 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 the same job roles and functions, just with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a separate job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist attorneys in Bullhead City AZ with a diverse array of job functions, such as legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job duties are relevant to the type of legal firm where they are employed. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm might help with the logistics of a trial or transferring documents to court. In private firms, the work of a paralegal is typically billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And the same as attorneys, they must carry out their duties with a high degree of professionalism and comply with a strict code of professional ethics. As mentioned, their responsibilities can be wide ranging in support of the firms where they work, but some of their routine activities might include:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on pertinent cases and laws
- Drafting correspondence and legal documents
- Submitting legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping attorneys get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal files, documents and other records
With all of their responsibilities, the job of a Bullhead City AZ paralegal can be involved and very challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally authorized to do is offer legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not limited to clerical or administrative duties more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the main support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, lawyers are able to take on a much larger number of cases or clients than they could alone.
Paralegal Training and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the educational prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The fastest way to launch your career in Bullhead City AZ as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which may take as little as six months to accomplish. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more expansive education and can be acquired at numerous community colleges in 2 years. For an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. After you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you may choose to proceed and earn a certification. Although it is not a mandatory requirement in Arizona to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help increase your job opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional also. A few of the highly regarded certifying organizations 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 school (we will address the benefits of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 crucial first steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Bullhead City AZ.
Paralegal Online Degrees
Online paralegal schools have become more available and may be an excellent option for those in Bullhead City AZ looking for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online programs can be particularly appealing to individuals who continue to work while earning a certificate or degree. As an added benefit, online schools can in some cases be less costly than on campus options. Even secondary expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all internet schools are accredited, which we will discuss in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the education you obtain is of the highest quality. So check to make certain that the program and school you are considering are accredited by a respected agency, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less structured and formal environment, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Paralegal Programs
Since you now you have a better idea regarding what paralegals do and what training choices are offered, you can start the process of assessing Bullhead City AZ area schools. But considering that there are so many programs available at community and junior colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you need to learn what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is particularly true if you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs also. If you are like many potential students, you will begin by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other critical issues to research as well, including accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s take a look at a few of the questions you should be asking the programs you are considering so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your final decision.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you pick should be accredited by a respected accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will receive will be of the highest standard, but it will establish with potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. A number of Bullhead City AZ law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited school. Also, financial aid and student loans are usually offered only for accredited programs.
What’s the Reputation of the Program? Investigate what the reputations and rankings are for the Bullhead City AZ paralegal schools you are considering. This is of specific importance if you are new to the profession with no prior experience, since employers will have to make a decision based on the caliber of your education exclusively. Confirming that the school you pick is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating reports, such as those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine 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 suggest. 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 Program Provide Internships? Internship programs provide students an opportunity to experience working in a law office or other legal operation while remaining in school. They can also present a means for students to begin creating contacts within the Bullhead City AZ legal community. Ask if the paralegal schools you are considering offer internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in a new field can be difficult without support. Ask if the paralegal programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Campus Located? Because laws vary among states, it might be advantageous to choose a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you want to practice after graduating. Also, it will be necessary to build relationships in the neighboring legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is even more reason to obtain your education in the community where you desire to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many require a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might want to first investigate those colleges that are within your Bullhead City AZ local region.
What is the Complete Expense? Paralegal schools can vary in price depending on the credential earned and the amount of training provided. However, 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 cost, so don’t forget to consult with the school’s financial aid office to see what is available in Bullhead City AZ. Naturally if you choose to attend an online program, some of these additional costs, for instance for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Match your Schedule? Many paralegal students continue working while receiving their training and must have flexibility to schedule classes. If you can only attend night or weekend classes near Bullhead City AZ, make certain classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you select offers that option. Last, inquire what the protocol is for making-up missed classes because of sickness, work or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Bullhead City AZ?
Bullhead City, Arizona
Bullhead City is a city located on the Colorado River in Mohave County, Arizona, United States, roughly 90 mi (140 km) south of Las Vegas, Nevada, and directly across the Colorado River from Laughlin, Nevada, whose casinos and ancillary services supply much of the employment for Bullhead City. Bullhead City is located on the southern border of Lake Mohave. According to the 2010 census, the population of the city is 39,540. The nearby communities of Laughlin, Needles, California, Fort Mohave and Mohave Valley bring the Bullhead area's total population to about 100,000, making it the largest micropolitan area in Mohave County.
In 2011, the Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport was named Airport of the Year by the Arizona Department of Transportation. The latest figures indicate that "...more than 115,000 people flew into Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport on casino-sponsored charters in 2010." In the 1980s the airport was home to the helicopters of the TV show Airwolf.
The earliest inhabitants of the Colorado River Valley were the Mojave people. The rich soil and plentiful water provided the valley's natives with the necessities to create a prosperous farming community. According to Mojave legend, life began on Spirit Mountain, the highest peak visible from the Bullhead City area.
The first account of European contact was with Spanish explorer Melchor Díaz. He documented his travels in Northwestern Mohave County in 1540. He accounts of meeting a large population of natives who referred to themselves as the Pipa Aha Macav, meaning "People by the River". From "Aha Macav" came the shortened name "Mojave" (also spelled "Mohave"). While Mohave County uses the modern English spelling, the tribe retains the traditional Spanish spelling "Mojave". Both are correct, and both are pronounced "Moh-hah-vee".
Find the Ideal Paralegal Certificate Program near Bullhead City AZ
Selecting the ideal paralegal educational program is an essential first step to guarantee your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have discussed in this post, you have the choice of attending classes on-campus or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Bullhead City residence. Paralegal education programs are offered in many lengths and formats. Various types of public and private institutions make available paralegal training, including junior and community colleges, four-year universities and colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal school will have a pronounced influence on your prospects for success in your new career. Considering that there is a broad range in the quality of schools, pick wisely. Afford yourself the greatest possible chance to succeed in this rewarding profession. But regardless of 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 evaluate each program and make your final decision. And with the appropriate training you can accomplish your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Bullhead City AZ.
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