How to Pick a Paralegal Degree Program near Glennallen Alaska
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Glennallen AK and start your journey that will lead to a gratifying career in legal services. However, it’s essential that you locate the right school so that you will get the extensive training that you need to achieve success. As you probably know, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more educational choices are becoming available, both on campus and online. However with numerous options to choose from, where does one begin? Some prospective students start by looking for paralegal schools within driving distance of their Glennallen homes. Of those options, they try to find the program with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are prime considerations when choosing a college, they are not the only factors you need to take into consideration. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the school need to be taken into consideration too. Later in this article we will review a list of questions that you need to ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can examine and compare every one prior to making your choice. But first, let’s take a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the educational options that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?
Paralegals and legal assistants basically both fill comparable job positions and responsibilities, just with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and are part of a separate job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants help lawyers in Glennallen AK with a wide variety of job functions, such as maintaining client files, legal research, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their specific job duties are relevant to the type of legal firm where they work. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm may assist with the logistics of a trial or transferring documents to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is usually billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And just like attorneys, they must perform with a high degree of professionalism and follow a strict code of professional ethics. As stated, their responsibilities can be varied in support of the firms where they are employed, but some of their regular tasks can involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on applicable laws and cases
- Drafting correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal documents 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 other records
With all of their duties, the job of a Glennallen AK paralegal can be complicated and quite demanding. 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 action. But paralegals are not confined to administrative or clerical tasks more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really 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 take on a much larger number of cases or clients than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly 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 Glennallen AK as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which can involve just six months to accomplish. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more comprehensive education and can be acquired at many community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered as well. After you have obtained either a degree or a certificate, you might want to proceed and get a certification. Although it is not a mandatory requirement in Alaska to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help boost your employment opportunities, but help establish you as a professional also. Some of the highly respected 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 two essential initial steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Glennallen AK.
Paralegal Online Degrees
Paralegal online programs have become more common and may be a good option for those in Glennallen AK looking for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be especially appealing to students who continue to work while earning a certificate or degree. As an added benefit, online classes can sometimes be less expensive than on campus options. Even ancillary expenses for such items as commuting or study materials can be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all online programs are accredited, which we will cover in greater detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest caliber. So check to make sure that the program and school you are thinking about are accredited by a highly regarded agency, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less supervised and formal setting, then obtaining your certificate or degree online could be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Colleges
Since you now you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what academic options are available, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating Glennallen AK area schools. But since there are numerous programs available at junior and community colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you must know what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is especially true when you include all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like the majority of prospective students, you will start by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously covered, there are other significant aspects to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over a few of the questions you should be asking the schools you are researching so that you can properly vet each one and make your final selection.
Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. 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 also. A number of Glennallen AK law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited program. Also, financial aid and student loans are usually obtainable only for accredited programs.
What’s the Reputation of the Program? Find out what the reputations and rankings are for the Glennallen AK paralegal schools you are contemplating. This is of specific importance if you are entering the profession with no previous work history, since employers will have to rely on the quality of your training exclusively. Checking that the program you select is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating services, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also contact several law firms that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask what schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even though a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the Program Provide Internships? Internship programs give students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal enterprise while attending school. They can also provide a means for students to begin developing contacts within the Glennallen AK legal community. Find out if the paralegal programs you are assessing offer internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without support. Ask if the paralegal programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alaska legal services employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? Because laws differ from state to state, it may be advantageous to enroll in a paralegal school located in the state where you plan to work after graduating. In addition, it will be important to create relationships in the local legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is all the more reason to obtain your education in the community where you desire to practice. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many require a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may need to first look at those colleges that are within your Glennallen AK local region.
What is the Total Expense? Paralegal schools can vary in cost based on the credential received and the length of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your training. Remember to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance might be obtainable to help minimize some of the expense, so don’t forget to check with the school’s financial aid office to find out what is available in Glennallen AK. Naturally if you decide to attend an online school, a portion these supplementary expenses, for instance for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Match your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students keep working while getting their training and must have flexibility to schedule classes. If you can only attend night or weekend classes near Glennallen AK, make certain classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make sure that the program you enroll in makes available that option. Last, inquire what the protocol is for making up classes missed as a result of sickness, work or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Glennallen AK?
Glennallen /ɡlɛˈnælən/ (Ciisik’e Na’ in Ahtna) is a census-designated place (CDP) in the Valdez–Cordova Census Area in the Unorganized Borough of the U.S. state of Alaska. As of the 2010 census, the population of the CDP was 483, down from 554 in 2000.
Glennallen is located at 62°06′33″N 145°32′47″W / 62.10917°N 145.54639°W / 62.10917; -145.54639 (62.109170, -145.54639; Sec. 23, T004N, R002W, Copper River Meridian), in the Chitina Recording District and Game Management Unit 13.
It lies along the Glenn Highway at its junction with the Richardson Highway, 189 road miles (304 km) east of Anchorage. It is just outside the western boundary of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 114.9 square miles (298 km2), of which, 114.1 square miles (296 km2) of it is land and 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2) of it (0.66%) is water.
Find the Ideal Paralegal Certificate Program near Glennallen AK
Choosing the best paralegal training program is an important first step to guarantee your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have covered in this post, you have the choice of attending classes at school or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Glennallen residence. Paralegal academic programs are made available in many lengths and formats. Several types of public and private institutions make available paralegal education, including community colleges, four year universities and colleges, as well as vocational and trade schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a profound impact on your prospects for success in your new profession. Since there is a broad range in the quality of programs, pick wisely. Give yourself the best possible opportunity to succeed in this exciting 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 have the ability to assess each school and make your ultimate decision. And with the ideal education you can accomplish your career objective to become a practicing paralegal in Glennallen AK.
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