How to Select a Paralegal College near Kotzebue Alaska
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Kotzebue AK and begin your journey that will result in 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 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 being offered, both on campus and online. However with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? A number of prospective students begin by trying to find paralegal schools within driving distance of their Kotzebue residences. Of those alternatives, they try to find the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important considerations when picking a college, they are not the only factors you should consider. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the school ought to be taken into account too. Later in this article we will review a list of questions that you must ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare every one before making your selection. But before we do, let’s have a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the educational 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 for the most part both hold the same job roles and functions, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and are part of a separate job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist lawyers in Kotzebue AK with a wide variety of job functions, such as legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job functions are based upon the type of legal firm where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm could assist with the logistics of a trial or transporting files to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is usually billed by the hour as are the lawyer’s. And just like lawyers, they must carry out their duties with a high level of professionalism and follow a strict code of professional ethics. As noted, their responsibilities can be varied in support of the practices where they are employed, but a few of their routine activities may involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Researching applicable cases and laws
- Drafting correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal papers with the court or opposing counsel
- Assisting attorneys prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal files, documents and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the job of a Kotzebue AK paralegal can be complex and very demanding. However, what they are not legally authorized to do is provide legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But paralegals are not limited to clerical or administrative tasks more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the right hand support systems for lawyers. And because they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, attorneys have the ability to take on a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Education 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 requirements and opportunities will be the same. The fastest means to launch your career in Kotzebue AK as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which can involve just six months to complete. Most entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more expansive education and can be acquired at numerous community colleges in two years. For an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option as well. When you have obtained either a degree or a certificate, you may choose to continue and get a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in Alaska to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help boost your employment opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. 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 program (we will address the advantages of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken 2 essential first steps that will help guarantee your success as a paralegal in Kotzebue AK.
Online Paralegal Programs
Online paralegal schools have become more popular and may be an excellent option for those in Kotzebue AK looking for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online programs can be particularly attractive to students who keep working while earning a certificate or degree. As an additional advantage, online schools can in some cases be less expensive than on campus options. Even supplementary expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will address in more 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 program and school you are thinking about are accredited by a highly regarded agency, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less structured and formal setting, then earning your degree or certificate online could be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Paralegal Colleges
Since you now you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what training options are available, you can begin the process of assessing Kotzebue AK area schools. But considering that there are so many programs available at community and junior colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools, you must find out what questions to ask so that you can 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 the majority of prospective students, you will start by searching for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already discussed, there are other important issues to consider also, 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 schools you are researching so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your final selection.
Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online training. 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. Numerous Kotzebue AK law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited school. Finally, financial aid and student loans are often accessible only for accredited schools.
What’s the Reputation of the Program? Learn what the rankings and reputations are for the Kotzebue AK paralegal programs you are contemplating. This is of particular importance if you are entering the profession with no prior work history, since employers will have to make a decision based on the caliber of your training exclusively. Checking that the school you select is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating reports, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also contact some law practices that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask what schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even if a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the Program Offer Internships? Internship programs offer students an opportunity to experience working in a law office or other legal enterprise while attending school. They can also present a means for students to start creating contacts within the Kotzebue AK legal community. Ask if the paralegal programs you are assessing provide internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the paralegal programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alaska legal services employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Campus Located? Because laws vary from one state to another, it might be a good idea to choose a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you wish to work after graduating. In addition, it will be important to cultivate relationships in the neighboring legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is even more reason to acquire your education in the community where you desire to practice. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most require a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might want to initially consider those schools that are within your Kotzebue AK local region.
What is the Total Cost? Paralegal programs can vary in price depending on the credential obtained and the length of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expense for your education. Remember to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance may be obtainable to help minimize part of the cost, so don’t forget to contact the school’s financial aid department to find out what is offered in Kotzebue AK. Needless to say that if you opt to attend an online program, a portion these supplementary expenses, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? A number of paralegal students keep working while obtaining their training and require flexibility in class scheduling. If you can solely attend weekend or evening classes near Kotzebue AK, make sure classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make sure that the program you enroll in provides 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 Kotzebue AK?
Kotzebue (/ˈkɒtsəbjuː/ KOTS-ə-bew) or Kikiktagruk (Inupiaq: Qikiqtaġruk, IPA: [qekeqtɑʁʐuk]) is a city in the Northwest Arctic Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is the borough's seat, by far its largest community and the economic and transportation hub of the subregion of Alaska encompassing the borough. The population of the city was 3,201 as of the 2010 census, up from 3,082 in 2000.
There is archaeological evidence that Inupiat people have lived at Kotzebue since at least the 15th century. Owing to its location and relative size, Kotzebue served as a trading and gathering center for the various communities in the region. The Noatak, Selawik and Kobuk Rivers drain into the Kotzebue Sound near Kotzebue to form a center for transportation to points inland. In addition to people from interior villages, inhabitants of the Russian Far East came to trade at Kotzebue. Furs, seal-oil, hides, rifles, ammunition, and seal skins were some of the items traded. People also gathered for competitions like the current World Eskimo Indian Olympics. With the arrival of the whalers, traders, gold seekers, and missionaries the trading center expanded.
Kotzebue was originally known as Qikiqtaġruk, which means "big island" in Iñupiatun, the language of the Iñupiat. Kotzebue gets its name from the Kotzebue Sound, which was named after Otto von Kotzebue, a Baltic German who explored the sound while searching for the Northwest Passage in the service of Russia in 1818.
Kotzebue lies on a gravel spit at the end of the Baldwin Peninsula in the Kotzebue Sound. It is located at 66°53′50″N 162°35′8″W / 66.89722°N 162.58556°W / 66.89722; -162.58556 (66.897192, −162.585444), approximately 30 miles (48 km) from Noatak, Kiana, and other nearby smaller communities. It is 33 miles (53 km) north of the Arctic Circle on Alaska's western coast.
Select the Best Paralegal Training near Kotzebue AK
Selecting the right paralegal degree program is an important first step to guarantee 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 participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Kotzebue home. Paralegal training programs are offered in many lengths and formats. Different kinds of private and public institutions make available paralegal training, including community colleges, four year colleges and universities, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a pronounced impact on your prospects for success in your new profession. Considering that there is a broad range in the quality of schools, choose wisely. Give yourself the greatest possible opportunity to be successful in this fascinating profession. But no matter how you choose to receive your education and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will be able to evaluate each program and make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate education you can realize your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Kotzebue AK.
Other Cool Cities in Alaska