How to Enroll in the Right Paralegal School near Joseph City Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Joseph City AZ and start your journey that will result in a rewarding profession in legal services. However, it’s crucial that you locate the ideal school so that you will get the comprehensive 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 academic options are being offered, both at school and online. However with so many options to choose from, where does one start? Some potential students start by looking for schools within commuting range of their Joseph City residences. Of those options, they search for the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important considerations when picking a college, they are not the only qualifiers you must consider. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the program ought to be taken into consideration as well. Later in this article we will review a list of concerns that you ought to ask prospective paralegal schools so that you can assess and compare each one before making your selection. But first, let’s have a look at what a paralegal does and the educational choices that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Legal Assistants and Paralegals
Legal assistants and paralegals basically both hold the same job positions and responsibilities, just with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a separate job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants help Joseph City AZ attorneys with a wide range of job duties, such as legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job functions are relevant to the type of legal firm where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm may help with the logistics of a trial or transporting files to court. In private firms, the work of a paralegal is usually billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And just like lawyers, they must carry out their duties with a high degree of professionalism and adhere to a strict standard of professional ethics. As noted, their duties can be wide ranging in support of the practices where they work, but a few of their routine tasks can involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on related cases and laws
- Drafting correspondence and legal documents
- Submitting legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping lawyers get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and managing legal files, documents and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a paralegal can be involved and very challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally authorized to do is provide legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not confined to clerical or administrative duties more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, attorneys are able to take on a much larger volume of clients or cases than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Training and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The fastest means to launch your career as a paralegal in Joseph City AZ is by earning a certificate, which can take as little as six months to complete. A large number of entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more comprehensive education and can be obtained at numerous community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. Once you have obtained either a degree or a certificate, you might choose to proceed and earn a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in Arizona to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help increase your job opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. Some of the highly regarded certifying organizations 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 obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 crucial initial steps that will help guarantee your success as either a legal assistant or a paralegal.
Points to Ask Paralegal Schools
Now that you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what educational choices are offered, you can start the undertaking of assessing schools. But because there are numerous programs offered at junior and community colleges in the Joseph City AZ area, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you must learn what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is particularly true when you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like the majority of potential students, you will begin by searching for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other critical aspects to consider also, for instance the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over a few of the questions you should be asking the schools you are investigating so that you can effectively vet each one and make your final choice.
Is the Paralegal School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you enroll in should be accredited by a respected accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it can also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance training. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will obtain will be of the highest standard, but it will establish with potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Numerous Joseph City AZ law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited school. Finally, financial aid and student loans are typically accessible only for accredited schools.
What’s the Reputation of the Program? Investigate what the reputations and rankings are for the legal assistant programs you are contemplating. This is of specific importance if you are entering the profession with no previous work history, since employers will need to rely on the quality of your education exclusively. Verifying that the school you select is accredited is an excellent 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 call some Joseph City AZ law offices that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask what schools they recommend. Keep in mind that even when a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the Program Provide Internships? Internship programs provide students an opportunity to experience working in a law firm or other legal operation while attending school. They can also offer an avenue for students to start establishing contacts within the Joseph City AZ legal field. Find out if the paralegal programs you are considering offer internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the paralegal programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School’s Location? Considering that laws vary from state to state, it may be beneficial to choose a paralegal school located in Arizona or the state where you plan to work after graduating. In addition, it will be valuable to cultivate relationships in the neighboring legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is all the more justification to receive your education in the area where you wish to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many require a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might want to initially investigate those colleges that are within the Joseph City AZ region.
What is the Complete Expense? Paralegal programs can vary in cost based on the credential obtained and the length of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your training. Remember to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid may be obtainable to help offset part of the expense, so don’t forget to check with the school’s financial aid office to find out what is offered in Joseph City AZ. Naturally if you opt to attend an online school, some of these additional expenses, for instance for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? A number of legal students keep working while obtaining their training and must have flexibility in class scheduling. If you can only attend weekend or evening classes near Joseph City AZ, verify classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you choose offers that option. Finally, inquire what the process is for making up classes missed due to sickness, work or family emergencies.
Paralegal and Legal Assistant Online Classes
Online legal assistant or paralegal programs have become more popular and may be an excellent option for students looking for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online schools can be especially appealing to students who keep working while earning a degree. As an additional advantage, online schools can often be less expensive than more traditional options. Even ancillary expenses for such items as commuting or study materials can be minimized or eliminated. One caveat, not all online schools are accredited, which we will discuss in more detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps guarantee that the education you obtain is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the school and program you are considering are accredited by a reputable organization, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less structured and conventional setting, then earning your degree or certificate online could be the ideal option for you.
Attending a Paralegal School near Joseph City AZ?
If you live near Joseph City 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.
Joseph City, Arizona
Joseph City (elevation 5,000 ft) is an unincorporated community located in Navajo County, Arizona, United States. It is located on Interstate 40 about eighty miles east of Flagstaff and about thirty-five miles west of Petrified Forest National Park. In 2010, there were 1,386 inhabitants.
Joseph City was settled in 1876 by colonists from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This band of 73 pioneers was led by Captain William C. Allen. They traveled to the Little Colorado River basin of Arizona. Joseph City was one of four Little Colorado River colonies. The other colonies were Brigham City, Sunset, and Obed. Joseph City is the only remaining colony.
The hardest trial for the new colonists was trying to get water for their crops. This meant that they had to try to tame the Little Colorado River. This was difficult due to the flooding season that would destroy dams along the river. The first dam was built in 1876, shortly after the colonists arrived in the area. For the next eighteen years the colonists built ten more dams. The eleventh dam was built in 1894. This dam lasted for twenty-nine years. In 1923, the eleventh dam was destroyed and the colonists were forced to build a new dam. This dam still currently stands and directs water to the inhabitants still in the city.
Legal Studies University Joseph City AZ
Enrolling in the right paralegal studies certificate school is a crucial 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 Legal Studies University. But as we have addressed in this post, you have the choice of attending classes at school or you can attend them online in the comfort and privacy of your Joseph City residence. Paralegal academic programs are made available in various lengths and formats. Various kinds of public and private institutions provide paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four year colleges and universities, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal school will have a profound influence on your opportunities for success in your new profession. Considering that there is a broad range in the quality of programs, pick wisely. Give yourself the best possible opportunity to be successful in this fascinating profession. But no matter how you elect to acquire your education and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have provided you will have the ability to assess each program and make your final decision. And with the appropriate training you can accomplish your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Joseph City AZ.
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