How to Enroll in the Right Paralegal Degree Program near Ehrenberg Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Ehrenberg AZ and start your journey that will result in a gratifying profession in legal services. However, it’s essential that you find the best school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you need to be successful. As you probably understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of educational alternatives are being offered, both at school and online. However with so many alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? A number of prospective students begin by trying to find schools within traveling range of their Ehrenberg homes. Of those choices, they look for the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are prime considerations when picking a college, they are not the only factors you need to take into consideration. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the school ought to be taken into consideration also. Later on in this article we will review a list of questions that you must ask potential paralegal schools so that you can assess and compare every one before making your decision. But before we do, let’s take a look at what a paralegal does and the instructional choices that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Legal Assistants and Paralegals
Legal assistants and paralegals essentially both fill comparable job roles and responsibilities, only with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and belong to a separate job category. Both legal assistants and paralegals assist Ehrenberg AZ lawyers with a wide range of job duties, including maintaining client files, legal research, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job functions are relevant to the type of legal firm where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice could help with trial logistics or transferring documents to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work is normally billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And the same as attorneys, they must perform with a high level of professionalism and comply with a strict code of professional ethics. As stated, their duties can be diverse in support of the firms where they work, but a few of their day-to-day tasks can involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on pertinent cases and laws
- Preparing correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping attorneys prepare for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal documents, files and other records
With all of their duties, the role of a paralegal can be complex and rather demanding. However, what they are not legally allowed to do is offer legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not restricted to clerical or administrative functions more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Legal assistants really are the main support systems for lawyers. And because they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, lawyers are able 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 actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the educational prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The quickest way to start your career as a legal assistant in Ehrenberg AZ is by obtaining a certificate, which may involve as little as six months to complete. Most entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more expansive education and may be acquired at many community colleges in 2 years. For an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered as well. When you have earned either a degree or a certificate, you might choose to proceed and earn a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in Arizona to practice as a paralegal, certification can not only help boost your job opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. Some of the highly respected 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 certificate or degree from an accredited program (we will address the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 crucial first steps that will help guarantee your success as either a legal assistant or a paralegal.
Points to Ask Paralegal Programs
Since you now you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what educational options are offered, you can begin the process of assessing schools. But considering that there are numerous programs offered at community and junior colleges in the Ehrenberg AZ area, as well as vocational and trade schools, you need to know what questions to ask so that you can compare each one. This is especially true if you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like many prospective students, you will begin by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other critical aspects to consider as well, for instance accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over some of the questions you need to be asking the programs you are investigating so that you can properly vet each one and make your ultimate choice.
Is the Paralegal Program and School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you pick need to be accredited by a recognized organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online training. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will receive will be of the highest quality, but it will show potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. Numerous Ehrenberg AZ law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited school. Finally, financial aid and student loans are often offered only for accredited programs.
What’s the Reputation of the School? Find out what the rankings and reputations are for the legal assistant schools you are considering. This is of special importance if you are new to the field with no previous experience, since employers will need to make a decision based on the quality of your training exclusively. Verifying that the school you pick is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating services, such as those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call several Ehrenberg AZ law offices that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask which schools they suggest. Remember that even if a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an excellent reputation.
Does the Program Offer Internships? Internship programs give students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal operation while attending school. They can also offer a means for students to begin establishing contacts within the Ehrenberg AZ legal community. Find out if the paralegal schools you are evaluating provide internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new profession can be challenging without support. Find out if the paralegal programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good 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 Located? Because laws vary among states, it might be beneficial to select a legal assistant school domiciled in Arizona or the state where you want to practice after graduating. In addition, it will be important to build relationships in the area legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is even more reason 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 live outside of their districts. So you may want to initially consider those colleges that are within the Ehrenberg AZ region.
How Much is the Total Cost? Paralegal schools can vary in cost depending on the credential earned and the length of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only cost for your training. Don’t forget to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance might be accessible to help minimize part of the cost, so don’t forget to contact the school’s financial aid office to see what is available in Ehrenberg AZ. Naturally if you opt to attend an online program, some of these additional expenses, for instance for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? Many paralegal students continue working while getting their training and need flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Ehrenberg AZ, make certain classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make sure that the school you select provides that option. Last, ask what the process is for making-up missed classes due to work, illness or family obligations.
Online Paralegal and Legal Assistant Degrees
Legal assistant and paralegal online programs have become more popular and may be a good option for students looking for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be especially attractive to those who keep working while earning a degree. As an added advantage, online programs can sometimes be less costly than more traditional options. Even ancillary expenditures for such items as study materials or commuting can be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all online programs are accredited, which we will discuss in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the training you obtain is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the program and school you are considering are accredited by a reputable organization, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less structured and formal setting, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
Attending a Paralegal School near Ehrenberg AZ?
If you live near Ehrenberg 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.
Ehrenberg, also historically spelled "Ehrenburg", is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in La Paz County, Arizona, United States. The population was 1,470 at the 2010 census. Ehrenberg is named for its founder, Herman Ehrenberg.
Ehrenberg is located on the Colorado River, which forms the border with Riverside County, California, near the city of Blythe. It is situated close to Interstate 10, at the southern end of the Parker Valley and next to the Palo Verde Valley.
In 1863, German mining engineer Herman Ehrenberg was hired to survey a new townsite along the Colorado River, approximately 6 miles (10 km) from La Paz, Arizona. The town, named Mineral City, began to grow in 1866, after a new landing was established there, supported by the steamboat captains of the George A. Johnson Company. Mineral City attracted miners and many businessmen away from La Paz and by September 20, 1869, had grown large enough to win a post office. The same year it was renamed "Ehrenberg".:96
Schools That Offer Paralegal Programs Ehrenberg AZ
Choosing the best paralegal studies certificate program is a vital 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 Schools That Offer Paralegal Programs. 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 comfort and privacy of your Ehrenberg residence. Paralegal education programs are made available in many lengths and formats. Several types of public and private institutions provide paralegal training, including community and junior colleges, four year colleges and universities, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal school will have a profound influence on your prospects for success in your new profession. Given that there is a wide range in the quality of programs, pick wisely. Give yourself the best possible chance to succeed in this fascinating profession. But irrespective of how you elect to obtain your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will be able 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 Ehrenberg AZ.
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