How to Get a Paralegal Certificate Prescott Valley AZ

How to Choose the Right Paralegal Studies Training Program near Prescott Valley Arizona

Prescott Valley AZ Paralegal doing legal researchCongratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Prescott Valley AZ and begin your journey that will result in a satisfying profession in legal services. However, it’s important that you find the best school so that you will receive 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 at school and online. However with so many options to choose from, where does one begin? A number of potential students begin by looking for schools within traveling distance of their Prescott Valley homes. Of those choices, 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 must consider. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the program must be considered as well. Later on in this article we will cover a list of concerns that you ought to ask prospective paralegal schools so that you can assess and compare every one prior to making your choice. But before we do, let’s take a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the academic alternatives that are offered to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.

Paralegals and Legal Assistants

Prescott Valley AZ law libraryLegal assistants and paralegals basically both hold the same job roles and responsibilities, 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 category. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist Prescott Valley AZ lawyers with a diverse array of job duties, such as legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their specific job functions are based upon the type of practice where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm could assist with trial logistics or transferring files to court. In private firms, the work of a paralegal is normally billed by the hour as are the lawyer’s. And the same as lawyers, they must conduct themselves with a high level of professionalism and comply with a strict standard of professional ethics. As noted, their responsibilities can be varied in support of the practices where they work, but a few of their regular activities might include:

  • Researching and fact checking cases
  • Conducting research on applicable laws and cases
  • Composing correspondence and legal papers
  • Filing legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
  • Helping lawyers prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
  • Organizing and managing legal files, documents and other records

With all of their duties, the role of a paralegal can be complicated and rather challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally allowed to do is give legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But paralegals are not restricted to administrative or clerical tasks more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, lawyers are able to manage a much larger volume of clients or cases than they could otherwise.

Paralegal Programs and Certification

legal assistant meeting with Prescott Valley AZ attorneyAs we discussed earlier, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The quickest way to launch your career as a legal assistant in Prescott Valley AZ is by obtaining a certificate, which can require just 6 months to complete. Most entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more extensive education and may be obtained at numerous community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. When you have earned either a certificate or degree, you might want to proceed and earn a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in Arizona to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help maximize your career opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. Some of the highly regarded certifying agencies 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 paralegal certificate or degree from an accredited school (we will cover the advantages of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two essential initial steps that will help guarantee your success as either a legal assistant or a paralegal.

Points to Ask Paralegal Colleges

Questions to ask Prescott Valley AZ paralegal schoolsOnce you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what academic options are available, you can start the undertaking of assessing schools. But since there are so many programs available at junior and community colleges in the Prescott Valley AZ area, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you must learn what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is particularly true when you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like many prospective students, you will start by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other crucial aspects to research also, including the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at some of the questions you should be asking the schools you are researching so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your ultimate decision.

Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it might 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 receive will be of the highest quality, but it will establish with future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Many Prescott Valley AZ law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited school. Finally, financial aid and student loans are often available only for accredited programs.

What’s the Reputation of the School? Find out what the reputations and rankings are for the paralegal programs you are considering. This is of special importance if you are entering the profession with no prior work history, since employers will need to rely on the quality of your training exclusively. Confirming that the school you pick is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating reports, such as those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call a few Prescott Valley AZ law practices that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask what schools they recommend. Remember that even if a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an outstanding reputation.

Does the School Sponsor Internships? Internship programs offer students an opportunity to experience working in a law firm or other legal enterprise while attending school. They can also provide a means for students to begin creating contacts within the Prescott Valley AZ legal community. Find out if the paralegal schools you are evaluating offer internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing upon graduation.

Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new field can be difficult without help. Ask if the paralegal schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.

Where is the School’s Location? Since laws vary among states, it might be a good idea to select a legal assistant school located in Arizona or the state where you wish to work after graduating. In addition, it will be important to cultivate relationships in the area 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 attend classes at a community college, most require an increased tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might wish to first investigate those schools that are within the Prescott Valley AZ region.

What is the Complete Cost? Paralegal programs can differ in cost based on the credential obtained and the length of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expense for your education. Remember to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid may be obtainable to help reduce some of the expense, so don’t forget to contact the school’s financial aid office to find out what is offered in Prescott Valley AZ. Naturally if you opt to attend an online program, some of these added costs, for instance for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.

Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? Many legal students keep working while receiving their training and must have flexibility in class scheduling. If you can only attend night or weekend classes near Prescott Valley AZ, make certain classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose makes available that option. Last, ask what the process is for making up missed classes because of sickness, work or family emergencies.

Legal Assistant and Paralegal Online Training

student attending online paralegal certificate program in Prescott Valley AZParalegal and legal assistant online programs have become more prevalent and can be an excellent alternative for individuals looking for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online programs can be especially attractive to those who keep working while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an added advantage, online programs can sometimes be less costly than on campus options. Even ancillary expenditures for such items as study materials or commuting can be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all online programs are accredited, which we will discuss in greater 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 thinking about are accredited by a highly regarded agency, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less supervised and formal setting, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.

 Attending a Paralegal School near Prescott Valley AZ?

If you live near Prescott Valley Arizona or perhaps are considering attending classes in that area, following is some interesting and useful information regarding the location of your new school campus.

Prescott Valley, Arizona

Prescott Valley is a town located in Yavapai County, Arizona, United States, about 8 miles east of Prescott, which it has surpassed in growth. Prescott Valley was the seventh fastest-growing place among all cities and towns in Arizona between 1990 and 2000, with a current population (October 2016) of about 45,500 residents.

The Walker party discovered gold along Lynx Creek[4] in 1863. The Lynx Creek placers went on to produce a recorded 29,000 troy ounces (900 kg) of gold. Estimates of actual production range up to 80,000 troy ounces (2,500 kg), which would be worth about $108 million at 2017 prices.[5]

Prescott Valley, formerly known as Lonesome Valley, was settled by ranchers in the 1880s, raising beef to supply the miners and new settlers. The Fain family, pioneer ranchers, still ranch in the valley.[6]

How to Get a Paralegal Certificate Prescott Valley AZ

Enrolling in the ideal legal assistant degree school is a crucial first step to guarantee your success in the rewarding field of law. You originally came to this website because you had an interest in getting more information about How to Get a Paralegal Certificate. But as we have addressed in this post, you have the choice of attending classes on campus or you can attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Prescott Valley home. Paralegal academic programs are offered in various lengths and formats. Different kinds of private and public 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 influence on your prospects for success in your new profession. Considering that there is a wide range in the quality of programs, pick carefully. Afford yourself the greatest possible opportunity to succeed in this exciting profession. But irrespective of how you elect to acquire your education and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have presented you will have the ability to examine each school and make your final selection. And with the ideal training you can realize your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Prescott Valley AZ.

Other Arizona Locations That May Be Of Interest

  • Paralegal Online Certificate Programs Cottonwood AZ
  • Diploma In Legal Studies Gila Bend AZ
  • Legal Studies Schools Tempe AZ
  • Training For Paralegal Dewey AZ
  • Legal Assistant Courses Snowflake AZ
  • Distance Learning Paralegal Courses Eloy AZ
  • How to Choose Paralegal Certificate Programs Lake Montezuma AZ
  • Online Accredited Paralegal Programs Cave Creek AZ
  • Associate Degree In Law Paralegal Studies Holbrook AZ
  • Top Paralegal Training Schools Nogales AZ
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