How to Find a Paralegal College near Kingman Arizona
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Kingman AZ and start your journey that will lead to a fulfilling career in legal services. However, it’s crucial that you locate the best school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you require to achieve success. As you most likely know, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of educational options are becoming available, both on campus and online. However with so many alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? A number of prospective students begin by looking for paralegal schools within traveling distance of their Kingman homes. Of those choices, they try to find the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are very important considerations when picking a school, they are not the only qualifiers you need to consider. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the program must be taken into consideration also. Later in this article we will review a list of concerns that you must ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can examine and compare each one before making your decision. But first, let’s take a look at what a paralegal does and the educational alternatives 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 hold comparable job roles and functions, only with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a different job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist lawyers in Kingman AZ with a wide range of job duties, such as maintaining client files, legal research, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job duties are based upon the type of practice where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice might assist with trial logistics or transferring documents to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work is normally billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And the same as attorneys, they must carry out their duties with a high level of professionalism and comply with a strict standard of professional ethics. As stated, their responsibilities can be wide ranging in support of the practices where they are employed, but a few of their day-to-day tasks may include:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Researching applicable laws and cases
- Composing correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal papers with the court or opposing counsel
- Helping lawyers get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and managing legal documents, files and other records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a Kingman AZ paralegal can be complex and very demanding. On the other hand, what they are not legally permitted 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 functions more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, attorneys are able to take on a much larger number of cases or clients than they could on their own.
Paralegal Education and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the educational prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The quickest way to launch your career in Kingman AZ as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which may involve as little as six months to complete. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more comprehensive education and may be earned at numerous community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. After you have obtained either a degree or a certificate, you may want to proceed and receive a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Arizona to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help boost your employment opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. A few 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 degree or certificate from an accredited program (we will discuss the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two crucial initial steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Kingman AZ.
Paralegal Online Programs
Paralegal online schools have become more popular and may be an excellent option for individuals in Kingman AZ looking for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online schools can be particularly appealing to students who keep working while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an additional advantage, online programs can often be less costly than on campus options. Even ancillary expenses for such items as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet schools are accredited, which we will cover in greater detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make certain that the school and program you are considering are accredited by a respected organization, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less supervised and formal environment, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Paralegal Colleges
Once you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what educational options are offered, you can begin the process of evaluating Kingman AZ area schools. But since there are so many programs available at community and junior colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you must find out what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is particularly true when you include all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like many potential students, you will begin by searching for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other important issues to research as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at several of the questions you should be asking the programs you are researching so that you can effectively vet each one and make your ultimate choice.
Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it can also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will obtain will be of the highest standard, but it will show future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Many Kingman AZ law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited school. Also, financial aid and student loans are typically offered only for accredited programs.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Research what the rankings and reputations are for the Kingman AZ paralegal programs you are considering. This is of special importance if you are new to the profession with no prior work history, since employers will need to rely on the quality of your training exclusively. Confirming that the program you choose is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating services, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also call several law offices that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask which schools they suggest. Remember that even though a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an excellent reputation.
Does the Program Sponsor Internships? Internship programs offer students an opportunity to experience working in a law office or other legal enterprise while attending school. They can also offer a means for students to begin creating contacts within the Kingman AZ legal field. Ask if the paralegal programs you are reviewing offer internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in a new field can be difficult without help. Ask if the paralegal schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? Considering that laws differ from one state to another, it may be beneficial to select a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you plan to practice after graduation. Also, it will be necessary to create relationships in the neighboring legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is all the more reason to acquire your education in the area where you desire to practice. 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 need to initially consider those schools that are within your Kingman AZ local area.
How Much is the Entire Expense? Paralegal schools can differ in price depending on the credential obtained and the length of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only cost for your training. Remember to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid may be available to help offset part of the expense, so make sure to talk to the school’s financial aid office to find out what is available in Kingman AZ. Naturally if you opt to attend an online program, a portion these added expenses, for instance for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Fit your Schedule? A number of paralegal students continue working while receiving their training and must have flexibility to schedule classes. If you can just attend weekend or evening classes near Kingman AZ, verify classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the program you choose makes available that option. Finally, inquire what the procedure is for making-up classes missed because of sickness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Kingman AZ?
Kingman (Huwaalyapay Nyava in the Mojave language) is a city in and the county seat of Mohave County, Arizona, United States. According to the 2010 census, the population of the city is 28,068. The nearby communities of Butler, and Golden Valley bring the Kingman area total population to over 45,000. Kingman is located about 105 miles (169 km) southeast of Las Vegas, Nevada and about 165 miles (266 km) northwest of the state capital, Phoenix.
Lt. Edward Fitzgerald Beale, a U.S. Navy officer in the service of the U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers, was ordered by the U.S. War Department to build a federal wagon road across the 35th Parallel. His secondary orders were to test the feasibility of the use of camels as pack animals in the southwestern desert. Beale traveled through the present day Kingman in 1857 surveying the road and in 1859 to build the road. Beale's Wagon Road became part of Highway 66 and Interstate Highway 40. Remnants of the wagon road can still be seen in White Cliffs Canyon in Kingman.
Kingman, Arizona, was founded in 1882, when Arizona was still Arizona Territory. Situated in the Hualapai Valley between the Cerbat and Hualapai mountain ranges, Kingman is known for its very modest beginnings as a simple railroad siding near Beale’s Springs in the Middleton Section along the newly constructed route of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad. The city of Kingman was named for Lewis Kingman, who surveyed along the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad's right-of-way between Needles, Calif., and Albuquerque, N.M. Lewis Kingman supervised the building of the railroad from Winslow, Ariz. to Beale's Springs, which is near the present location of the town of Kingman.
The Mohave County seat originally was located in Mohave City from 1864 to 1867. The portion of Arizona Territory west of the Colorado River was transferred to Nevada in 1865 after Nevada's statehood, and became part of Lincoln County, Nevada later Clark County, Nevada. The remaining territory of Pah-Ute County became part of Mohave County. Its seat was moved to Hardyville (which is now within Bullhead City) in 1867. The county seat transferred to the mining town of Cerbat in 1873, then to Mineral Park near Chloride in 1877. In 1887, the county seat was moved to Kingman after some period of time without a permanent county seat, the instruments and records of Mohave County government were taken clandestinely from Chloride and moved to Kingman in the middle of the night during this final transfer of the county seat.
Choose the Ideal Paralegal School near Kingman AZ
Choosing the ideal paralegal training program is a crucial first step toward 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 Kingman residence. Paralegal education programs are made available in numerous formats and lengths. Several types of public and private institutions make available paralegal training, including community colleges, four-year universities and colleges, as well as vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal school will have a profound influence on your opportunities for success in your new profession. Since there is a wide range in the quality of schools, choose carefully. Afford yourself the greatest possible opportunity to succeed in this rewarding profession. But no matter how you elect to obtain 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 appropriate education you can accomplish your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Kingman AZ.
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