How to Select the Right Paralegal Studies Degree Program near Anderson Alaska
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Anderson AK and start your journey that will lead to a rewarding profession in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s essential that you locate the best school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you need to succeed. As you probably understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more academic choices are being offered, both at school and online. However with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? A number of prospective students begin by looking for schools within driving distance of their Anderson residences. Of those alternatives, they search for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are very important considerations when choosing a school, they are not the only factors you need to consider. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the program must be taken into consideration as well. Later on in this post we will review a list of concerns that you must ask potential paralegal schools so that you can examine and compare every one before making your selection. But before we do, let’s take a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the instructional options that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Legal Assistants and Paralegals
Paralegals and legal assistants for the most part both fill the same 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 different job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist Anderson AK lawyers with a wide range of job duties, such as legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their specific job duties are relevant to the type of legal firm where they are employed. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice may assist with the logistics of a trial or delivering files to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is normally billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And the same as attorneys, they must conduct themselves with a high degree of professionalism and abide by a strict code of professional ethics. As stated, their responsibilities can be diverse in support of the firms where they work, but some of their day-to-day activities can include:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Researching relevant cases and laws
- Composing correspondence and legal documents
- Filing legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping attorneys get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and managing legal files, documents and other records
With all of their responsibilities, the job of a paralegal can be complex and very demanding. On the other hand, what they are not legally allowed to do is offer legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But paralegals are not confined to clerical or administrative duties more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Legal assistants really are the right hand support systems for lawyers. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, lawyers are able to take on a much larger number of cases or clients than they could alone.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the educational requirements and opportunities will be the same. The fastest way to launch your career as a paralegal in Anderson AK is by obtaining a certificate, which can involve just 6 months to complete. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more comprehensive education and can be obtained at numerous community colleges in two years. For an even more extensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered as well. When you have acquired either a certificate or degree, you may choose to proceed and receive a certification. Although it is not a mandatory requirement in Alaska to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help boost your career opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. A few of the highly regarded certifying organizations 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 paralegal degree or certificate from an accredited school (we will cover the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken 2 crucial first steps that will help guarantee your success as either a paralegal or a legal assistant.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Schools
Since you now you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what academic options are offered, you can start the undertaking of assessing schools. But because there are so many programs accessible at junior and community colleges in the Anderson AK area, as well as vocational and trade schools, you need to know what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is especially true if you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like many potential students, you will start by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other important factors to research as well, 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 researching so that you can properly vet each one and make your final choice.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you select need to be accredited by a reputable accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will get will be of the highest standard, but it will demonstrate to potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. Numerous Anderson AK law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited school. Also, financial aid and student loans are usually obtainable only for accredited programs.
What’s the Reputation of the School? Research what the reputations and rankings are for the paralegal programs you are looking at. This is of special importance if you are entering the profession with no prior work history, since employers will have to make a decision based on the quality of your education exclusively. Checking that the program you select is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating reports, including those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also contact a few Anderson AK law firms that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask what schools they recommend. Keep in mind that even when a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the School Provide Internships? Internship programs provide students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal operation while still in school. They can also offer an avenue for students to start creating contacts within the Anderson AK legal community. Ask if the paralegal programs you are evaluating offer internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the paralegal programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alaska legal services employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? Considering that laws differ among states, it may be beneficial to select a paralegal school located in Alaska or the state where you wish to work after graduating. In addition, it will be valuable to cultivate relationships in the local legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is even more reason to receive your education in the area where you wish 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 wish to first investigate those colleges that are within the Anderson AK region.
What is the Total Expense? Paralegal programs can differ in cost depending on the credential received and the amount of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only expense for your education. Don’t forget to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid may be obtainable to help reduce part of the expense, so make sure to contact the school’s financial aid department to see what is offered in Anderson AK. Naturally if you choose to attend an online program, some of these added expenses, such as for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Accommodate your Schedule? Many legal students keep working while getting their training and require flexibility to schedule classes. If you can only attend weekend or evening classes near Anderson AK, make certain classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the program you select provides that option. Last, find out what the process is for making up missed classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Online Paralegal and Legal Assistant Classes
Online legal assistant or paralegal schools have become more prevalent and may be an excellent option for students looking for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be particularly attractive to those who keep working while earning a certificate or degree. As an added advantage, online classes can sometimes be less expensive than on campus options. Even supplementary expenses for such items as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated. One caveat, not all online programs are accredited, which we will cover in more detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps ensure that the training you obtain is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the school and program you are thinking about are accredited by a reputable agency, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less supervised and conventional environment, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.
Attending a Paralegal School near Anderson AK?
If you live near Anderson Alaska or perhaps are considering attending classes in that area, following is some interesting and useful information regarding the location of your new school campus.
Anderson is a city in the Denali Borough, Alaska, United States, and the borough's only incorporated community. At the 2010 census the population was 246, down from 367 at the 2000 census. The city is named after one of the original homesteaders.
Anderson is named after Arthur Anderson, one of several homesteaders who settled in the area in the late 1950s. In 1959, Anderson subdivided his homestead into house lots and sold most of the lots to civilian workers from Clear Air Force Station, a Ballistic Missile Early Warning System station completed in 1961. An elementary school was built in the community in 1961, and Anderson incorporated as a city on June 2, 1962.
In the 1960s, a road was completed between Anderson and Nenana. A ferry across the Tanana River at Nenana provided access to the Fairbanks–Nenana Highway, and hence to Fairbanks and the contiguous North American highway system via the Richardson and Alaska Highways. The ferry was replaced with a bridge in 1968. In 1972, the George Parks Highway was completed, which provided direct road access to points south, including Anchorage.
ABA Approved Online Paralegal Certificate Programs Anderson AK
Selecting the right legal assistant certificate school is a vital first step toward your success in the rewarding field of law. You originally came to this website because you had an interest in getting more information about ABA Approved Online Paralegal Certificate Programs. But as we have addressed in this post, you have the option of attending classes at school or you can attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Anderson home. Paralegal training programs are offered in various lengths and formats. Several kinds of private and public institutions offer paralegal education, including community and junior colleges, four-year colleges and universities, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a pronounced influence on your opportunities for success in your new career. Since there is a wide range in the quality of schools, pick wisely. Give yourself the greatest possible chance to be successful in this exciting profession. But no matter how you choose to receive your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have provided you will have the ability to review each program and make your ultimate decision. And with the appropriate education you can achieve your career objective to become a practicing paralegal in Anderson AK.
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