How to Select a Paralegal Studies Program near Skagway Alaska
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Skagway AK and begin your journey that will lead to a satisfying profession in legal services. However, it’s important that you locate the right school so that you will get the extensive training that you need to succeed. As you probably know, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more educational choices are becoming available, both on campus and online. However with numerous options to choose from, where does one begin? A number of prospective students start by trying to find paralegal schools within driving distance of their Skagway homes. Of those alternatives, they look for the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are necessary considerations when selecting a school, they are not the only qualifiers you need to consider. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the program should be taken into consideration too. Later on in this article we will review a list of concerns that you should ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can evaluate and compare each one before making your decision. But first, let’s have a look at 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 essentially both fill the same job roles and responsibilities, just 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 help attorneys in Skagway AK with a diverse array of job duties, including legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their specific job duties are based upon the type of legal firm where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice might assist with trial logistics or transferring documents to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is normally billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And just like attorneys, they must perform with a high level of professionalism and abide by a strict standard of professional ethics. As mentioned, their responsibilities can be varied in support of the practices where they are employed, but a few of their daily activities may include:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on pertinent cases and laws
- Drafting 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 preserving legal documents, files and other records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a Skagway AK paralegal can be complex and quite challenging. However, what they are not legally permitted to do is give legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But paralegals are not restricted to clerical or administrative tasks more suited 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 ground work and preparation, lawyers are able to handle a much larger number of cases or clients than they could alone.
Paralegal Education and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the academic prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The fastest way to launch your career in Skagway AK as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which can involve just six months to accomplish. Most entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more extensive education and may be acquired at many community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are available also. After you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you might choose to proceed and receive a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Alaska to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help increase your job opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. Some 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 advantages 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 Skagway AK.
Paralegal Online Classes
Online paralegal schools have become more common and can be a good option for students in Skagway AK looking for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online programs can be particularly appealing to individuals who continue to work while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an additional advantage, online schools can in some cases be less expensive than more traditional options. Even ancillary expenditures for such items as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all internet schools are accredited, which we will address in more detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make certain that the school and program you are looking into are accredited by a reputable organization, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less supervised and formal setting, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Paralegal Studies Programs
Since you now you have a better idea regarding what paralegals do and what training choices are available, you can begin the undertaking of evaluating Skagway AK area schools. But since there are so many programs accessible at community and junior colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools, you must learn what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is particularly true when you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs as well. If you are like most potential students, you will begin by searching for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other significant issues to think about also, including accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over some of the questions you should be asking the programs you are investigating so that you can properly vet each one and make your final choice.
Is the Paralegal School and Program Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you select need to be accredited by a respected accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it might also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will get will be of the highest quality, but it will demonstrate to potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. A number of Skagway AK law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited school. Also, financial assistance and student loans are often available only for accredited schools.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Learn what the reputations and rankings are for the Skagway AK 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 rely on the caliber of your training exclusively. Confirming that the program you select is accredited is a good first step. Checking school rating services, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call a few law practices that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask what schools they recommend. Keep in mind that even if a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the School Provide Internships? Internship programs give students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal establishment while still in school. They can also offer a means for students to begin creating contacts within the Skagway AK legal community. Find out if the paralegal programs you are reviewing offer internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in a new field can be challenging without help. Ask if the paralegal schools you are considering 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 good relationships with Alaska legal services employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? Since laws vary among states, it might be advantageous to enroll in a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you plan to practice after graduation. In addition, it will be necessary to build relationships in the local legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is all the more reason to receive your education in the community where you choose to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most require an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may wish to initially look at those colleges that are within your Skagway AK local area.
How Much is the Entire Expense? Paralegal programs can vary in cost depending on the credential obtained and the amount of training furnished. Having said that, 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 might be accessible to help minimize part of the cost, so be sure to contact the school’s financial aid department to see what is offered in Skagway AK. Naturally if you choose to attend an online school, some of these additional costs, for instance for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Fit your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students continue working while obtaining their training and need flexibility to schedule classes. If you can only attend weekend or evening classes near Skagway AK, verify classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the program you select makes available that option. Last, find out what the process is for making up missed classes as a result of sickness, work or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Skagway AK?
The Municipality and Borough of Skagway is a first-class borough in Alaska on the Alaska Panhandle. As of the 2010 census, the population was 968. Estimates put the 2015 population at 1,057 people. The population doubles in the summer tourist season in order to deal with more than 900,000 visitors. Incorporated as a borough on June 25, 2007, it was previously a city (urban Skagway located at 59°27′30″N 135°18′50″W / 59.45833°N 135.31389°W / 59.45833; -135.31389) in the Skagway-Yakutat-Angoon Census Area (now the Hoonah–Angoon Census Area).
The port of Skagway is a popular stop for cruise ships, and the tourist trade is a big part of the business of Skagway. The White Pass and Yukon Route narrow gauge railroad, part of the area's mining past, is now in operation purely for the tourist trade and runs throughout the summer months. Skagway is also part of the setting for Jack London's book The Call of the Wild, Will Hobbs's book Jason's Gold, and for Joe Haldeman's novel, Guardian. The John Wayne film North to Alaska (1960) was filmed nearby.
The name Skagway is derived from shԍagéi, a Tlingit idiom which figuratively refers to rough seas in the Taiya Inlet, which are caused by strong north winds. (See, "Etymology and the Mythical Stone Woman", below.)
Skagway was derived from shԍagéi, a Tlingit idiom which figuratively refers to rough seas in the Taiya Inlet, that are caused by strong north winds.Literally, shԍagéi means beautiful woman. The word is also a gerund (verbal noun), derived from the Tlingit verb theme -sha-ka-l-ԍéi, which means, in the case of a woman, to be beautiful.
Select the Right Paralegal College near Skagway AK
Choosing the best paralegal training program is a crucial first step to guarantee your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have addressed 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 Skagway residence. Paralegal training programs are offered in various formats and lengths. Various types of private and public institutions make available paralegal education, including community colleges, four year universities and colleges, 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 career. Considering that there is a wide range in the quality of programs, pick carefully. Give yourself the greatest possible chance to succeed in this fascinating profession. But irrespective of how you choose to obtain your education and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will be able to assess each school and make your ultimate decision. And with the ideal training you can accomplish your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in Skagway AK.
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