How to Pick the Right Paralegal Program near Keams Canyon Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Keams Canyon AZ and start your journey that will lead to a rewarding profession in legal services. However, it’s important that you locate the best school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you need to achieve success. As you probably know, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of educational alternatives are becoming available, both at school and online. But with so many alternatives to choose from, where does one start? Many potential students begin by looking for schools within driving range of their Keams Canyon residences. Of those options, they look for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are prime considerations when picking a college, they are not the only qualifiers you should take into consideration. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the school should be considered as well. Later in this post we will cover a list of concerns that you need to ask prospective paralegal schools so that you can assess and compare every one before making your choice. But before we do, let’s have a look at what a paralegal does and the instructional options that are offered to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Legal Assistants and Paralegals
Paralegals and legal assistants for the most part both hold comparable job roles 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 classification. Both legal assistants and paralegals assist Keams Canyon AZ attorneys with a diverse array of job functions, including legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job duties are based upon the type of practice where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice might help with the logistics of a trial or transporting documents to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work is usually billed by the hour as are the lawyer’s. And just like lawyers, they must conduct themselves with a high level of professionalism and abide by a strict standard of professional ethics. As stated, their responsibilities can be wide ranging in support of the firms where they are employed, but a few of their routine activities can involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on relevant laws and cases
- Composing correspondence and legal papers
- Filing legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
- Assisting attorneys get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and managing legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a paralegal can be complicated and very demanding. On the other hand, what they are not legally permitted to do is provide legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But paralegals are not confined to clerical or administrative functions more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the right hand support systems for lawyers. And because they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, attorneys are able to handle a much larger number of clients or cases than they could on their own.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the educational prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The fastest means to start your career as a paralegal in Keams Canyon AZ is by earning a certificate, which may take just six months to accomplish. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more extensive education and can be obtained at numerous community colleges in 2 years. For an even more comprehensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are available as well. When you have obtained either a degree or a certificate, you might choose to continue and get a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in Arizona to practice as a paralegal, certification can not only help improve your employment opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional also. 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 degree or certificate from an accredited school (we will cover the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two crucial first steps that will help guarantee your success as either a legal assistant or a paralegal.
What to Ask Paralegal Programs
Now that you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what academic options are offered, you can begin the undertaking of assessing schools. But considering that there are so many programs available at community and junior colleges in the Keams Canyon AZ area, as well as trade and vocational schools, you need to learn what questions to ask in order to compare each one. This is especially true when you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs as well. If you are like many potential 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 crucial factors to research also, including the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over several of the questions you should be asking the programs you are investigating so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your final selection.
Is the Paralegal Program and School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you select need to be accredited by a highly regarded organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will get will be of the highest standard, but it will show potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Many Keams Canyon AZ law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited program. Also, financial assistance and student loans are typically accessible only for accredited schools.
What’s the Reputation of the School? Research what the rankings and reputations are for the paralegal programs you are considering. This is of particular importance if you are new to the field with no previous work history, since employers will need to rely on the caliber of your training exclusively. Confirming that the school you select is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating services, such as those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help verify school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also contact some Keams Canyon AZ law firms that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask what schools they recommend. Bear in mind that even when a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the School Provide Internships? Internship programs give students a chance 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 Keams Canyon AZ legal field. Ask if the paralegal programs you are assessing offer internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the paralegal schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial 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? Since laws differ from one state to another, it may be beneficial to select a legal assistant school domiciled in Arizona or the state where you wish to work after graduating. Also, it will be necessary to establish relationships in the local legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is all the more justification to receive your education in the area where you choose to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most charge a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may need to initially look at those colleges that are within the Keams Canyon AZ area.
What is the Entire Expense? Paralegal programs can vary in price depending on the credential obtained and the amount of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your training. Remember to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid may be accessible to help reduce some of the cost, so don’t forget to contact the school’s financial aid department to find out what is offered in Keams Canyon AZ. Naturally if you choose to attend an online school, a portion these supplementary costs, for instance for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Classes Accommodate your Schedule? Many legal students keep working while obtaining their training and require flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Keams Canyon 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 select makes available that option. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making-up missed classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Online Paralegal and Legal Assistant Training
Paralegal and legal assistant online programs have become more prevalent and can be a good option for individuals looking for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be particularly attractive to those who continue to work while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an additional advantage, online schools can sometimes be less expensive than more traditional options. Even secondary expenses for such items as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all online programs are accredited, which we will cover in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the training you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make certain that the school and program you are looking into are accredited by a reputable agency, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less supervised and conventional setting, then earning your degree or certificate online could be the ideal choice for you.
Attending a Paralegal School near Keams Canyon AZ?
If you live near Keams Canyon 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.
Keams Canyon, Arizona
Pongsikya is a narrow box canyon named after a plant of edible greens that survived along the seasonal stream that drains from Antelope Mesa and flows through the three mile long canyon. Here William Keam, and then his cousin Thomas Keam, operated a trading post during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. They served the Navajo Indians and opened the door to commercial trade for the Hopi Indians. The nearest trading post was some fifty miles away and Keam’s trading post was 13 miles east of the Hopi Indian’s settlements on First Mesa. With the opportunity for full year round trade nearby, the regional Indians quickly identified the canyon with the traders and the name Keams Canyon took hold.
As of the census of 2000, there were 260 people, 74 households, and 44 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 28.0 people per square mile (10.8/km²). There were 106 housing units at an average density of 11.4/sq mi (4.4/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 7.69% White, 0.38% Black or African American, 89.62% Native American, and 2.31% from two or more races. 1.92% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 74 households out of which 32.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.4% were married couples living together, 20.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.2% were non-families. 33.8% of all households were made up of individuals and none had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.72 and the average family size was 3.56.
Online Paralegal Colleges Keams Canyon AZ
Selecting the right paralegal studies certificate school is an important 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 Online Paralegal Colleges. But as we have discussed in this post, you have the option of attending classes at school or you can participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Keams Canyon home. Paralegal education programs are offered in many formats and lengths. Different types of public and private institutions offer paralegal education, including community and junior colleges, four-year universities and colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal school will have a profound impact on your prospects for success in your new profession. Since there is a wide range in the quality of schools, choose wisely. Give yourself the best possible chance to succeed in this rewarding profession. But regardless of how you decide to receive your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will have the ability to review each program and make your ultimate decision. And with the appropriate training you can achieve your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Keams Canyon AZ.
Other Arizona Locations That May Be Of Interest