How to Select the Right Paralegal Training Program near Camp Verde Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Camp Verde AZ and begin your journey that will lead to a rewarding profession in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s essential that you find the ideal school so that you will get the extensive training that you require to succeed. As you probably understand, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of educational choices are being offered, both on campus and online. However with numerous options to choose from, where does one start? Many potential students begin by trying to find schools within traveling distance of their Camp Verde homes. Of those alternatives, they look for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are necessary considerations when selecting a school, they are not the only qualifiers you should take into consideration. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the school ought to be taken into consideration as well. Later in this post we will cover a list of questions that you ought to ask potential paralegal schools so that you can evaluate and compare every one prior to making your selection. But first, let’s take a look at what a paralegal does and the educational choices that are offered to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Legal Assistants and Paralegals
Paralegals and legal assistants essentially 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 different job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants help Camp Verde AZ lawyers with a wide variety of job functions, including legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job functions are based upon the type of practice where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice may assist with trial logistics or transporting documents to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is usually billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And the same as lawyers, they must carry out their duties with a high level of professionalism and adhere to a strict code of professional ethics. As stated, their duties can be diverse in support of the practices where they work, but a few of their routine tasks might involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on related cases and laws
- Composing correspondence and legal documents
- Submitting legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
- Assisting lawyers get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal files, documents and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a paralegal can be complex and quite challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally permitted to do is provide legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not confined to administrative or clerical functions more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Legal assistants truly are the right hand support systems for lawyers. And because they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, attorneys have the ability to manage a much larger volume of clients or cases than they could alone.
Paralegal Education and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The quickest way to start your career as a legal assistant in Camp Verde AZ is by obtaining a certificate, which may require just 6 months to complete. A large number of entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more expansive education and can be obtained at many community colleges in 2 years. For an even more comprehensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are available as well. After you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you might want to proceed and obtain a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Arizona to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help increase your career opportunities, but help establish you as a professional also. Some of the highly regarded 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 paralegal degree or certificate from an accredited program (we will discuss the advantages of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two essential first steps that will help guarantee your success as either a paralegal or a legal assistant.
What to Ask Paralegal Colleges
Once you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what educational choices are available, you can start the undertaking of evaluating schools. But because there are numerous programs offered at community and junior colleges in the Camp Verde AZ area, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you need to learn what questions to ask so that you can compare each one. This is particularly true when you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs as well. If you are like the majority of prospective 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 important issues to think about as well, including accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s take a look at a few of the questions you need to be asking the programs you are investigating so that you can effectively vet each one and make your ultimate decision.
Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you pick need to be accredited by a respected organization 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 distance or online learning. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will receive will be of the highest quality, but it will demonstrate to potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. A number of Camp Verde AZ law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited school. Also, financial aid and student loans are usually available only for accredited programs.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Research what the reputations and rankings are for the paralegal schools you are looking at. This is of special importance if you are entering the field with no prior work history, since employers will have to make a decision based on the caliber of your education 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 determine school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also call several Camp Verde AZ law practices that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask what schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even if a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an excellent reputation.
Does the School Sponsor Internships? Internship programs give students an opportunity to experience working in a law firm or other legal enterprise while still in school. They can also offer a pathway for students to begin creating contacts within the Camp Verde AZ legal community. Ask if the paralegal schools you are reviewing provide internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering after graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that first job in a new profession can be difficult without support. Ask if the paralegal schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? Considering that laws differ from state to state, it might be advantageous to select a paralegal school located in Arizona or the state where you want to work after graduation. In addition, it will be important to establish relationships in the area legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is even more justification to receive your education in the community where you want to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most require an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might want to initially investigate those schools that are within the Camp Verde AZ area.
What is the Total Cost? Paralegal schools can differ in price based on the credential received and the length of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only cost for your education. Don’t forget to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid might be obtainable to help offset part of the expense, so be sure to contact the school’s financial aid department to see what is offered in Camp Verde AZ. Needless to say that if you decide to attend an online school, a portion these additional expenses, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Fit your Schedule? A number of paralegal students continue working while receiving their training and require flexibility in class scheduling. If you can just attend night or weekend classes near Camp Verde AZ, make sure classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select provides that option. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making-up classes missed due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Online Legal Assistant and Paralegal Degrees
Legal assistant and paralegal online programs have become more prevalent and may be an excellent alternative for individuals searching for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be especially attractive to those who continue to work while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, online schools can sometimes be less costly than more traditional options. Even ancillary expenditures for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all online programs are accredited, which we will cover in greater detail later. But at the very least 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 reviewing are accredited by a highly regarded organization, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less structured and formal setting, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.
Attending a Paralegal School near Camp Verde AZ?
If you live near Camp Verde 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.
Camp Verde, Arizona
The town hosts an annual corn festival in July, sponsored and organized by Hauser and Hauser Farms. Other annual festivals include Fort Verde Days (October); the Pecan, Wine and Antiques Festival (February); and the Crawdad Festival (June).
The 42.6 sq mi (110 km2) town is intersected by I-17, extending 8 miles (13 km) to the West and 10 miles (16 km) to the East of the interstate. Three freeway exits provide local access: Exits 285, 287, and 289. The Town's Historic Downtown is approximately 1-mile (1.6 km) from I-17 and contains a grocery store, physician facilities, shopping, dining, historical museum, Fort Verde State Historic Park, chamber of commerce/visitor center and town offices. Camp Verde is located at 34°34′0″N 111°51′22″W / 34.56667°N 111.85611°W / 34.56667; -111.85611 (34.566713, -111.856194).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 42.6 square miles (110 km2), of which, 42.6 square miles (110 km2) of it is land and 0.02% is water. It is in the Verde River valley. To the southwest lie the Black Hills mountain range. Camp Verde is surrounded by Prescott National Forest. The Mogollon Rim is just north of the town and forms the southwestern edge of the large, geologically ancient Colorado Plateau.
Legal Assistant Studies Camp Verde AZ
Selecting the best paralegal degree program is an essential 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 Legal Assistant Studies. But as we have covered in this post, you have the choice of attending classes on campus or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Camp Verde home. Paralegal academic programs are made available in many formats and lengths. Several kinds of public and private institutions provide paralegal training, including community and junior colleges, four year colleges and universities, as well as vocational and trade schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a pronounced impact on your prospects for success in your new career. Considering that there is a wide range in the quality of schools, pick carefully. Give yourself the greatest possible chance to be successful in this fascinating profession. But no matter how you decide to acquire your education and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will have the ability to review each program and make your final decision. And with the right training you can realize your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Camp Verde AZ.
Other Arizona Locations That May Be Of Interest