How to Pick the Right Legal Assistant Degree Program near Luke Afb Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Luke Afb AZ and start your journey that will lead to a satisfying career in legal services. However, it’s important that you locate the ideal school so that you will receive the extensive training that you require to be successful. As you most likely know, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more academic choices are being offered, both at school and online. But with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? Many prospective students start by searching for schools within commuting distance of their Luke Afb homes. Of those options, they look for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are prime considerations when picking a college, they are not the only factors you must consider. Things such as accreditation and the reputation of the school need to be taken into account as well. Later in this article we will cover a list of questions that you need to ask prospective paralegal schools so that you can examine and compare each one prior to making your decision. But first, let’s have a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the academic alternatives that are offered to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Legal Assistants and Paralegals
Paralegals and legal assistants basically both fill comparable job roles and functions, only with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and belong to a different job classification. Both legal assistants and paralegals assist Luke Afb AZ lawyers with a wide range of job duties, such as maintaining client files, legal research, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job functions are based upon the type of legal firm where they are employed. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm could help with trial logistics or transporting documents to court. In private firms, a paralegal’s work is normally billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And the same as lawyers, they must perform with a high degree of professionalism and abide by a strict standard of professional ethics. As mentioned, their duties can be diverse in support of the practices where they are employed, but a few of their everyday tasks can include:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Researching pertinent cases and laws
- Drafting correspondence and legal documents
- Submitting legal papers with the court or opposing counsel
- Assisting lawyers get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and managing legal documents, files and other records
With all of their duties, the role of a paralegal can be involved and quite challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally permitted to do is give legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal action. But they are not confined to clerical or administrative tasks more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Legal assistants really are the main support systems for lawyers. And since they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, lawyers are able to handle a much larger number of clients or cases than they could on their own.
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 educational prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The fastest way to begin your career as a paralegal in Luke Afb AZ is by earning a certificate, which can take just 6 months to complete. Many entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more comprehensive education and can be earned at many community colleges in 2 years. For an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. After you have obtained either a certificate or degree, you may want to proceed and receive a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in Arizona to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help improve your career opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. Some of the highly respected 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 program (we will discuss the advantages of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken 2 essential first steps that will help ensure your success as either a paralegal or a legal assistant.
Things to Ask Paralegal Schools
Once you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what academic choices are available, you can begin the undertaking of assessing schools. But because there are so many programs available at community and junior colleges in the Luke Afb AZ area, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you must learn what questions to ask in order to evaluate each one. This is especially true if you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like many potential students, you will start by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously covered, there are other critical aspects to research as well, for instance the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at a few of the questions you should be asking the schools you are considering so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your ultimate choice.
Is the Paralegal School and Program Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you select should be accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it may also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will receive will be of the highest standard, but it will show potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. A number of Luke Afb AZ law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited school. Finally, financial aid and student loans are typically available only for accredited schools.
What’s the Reputation of the Program? Learn what the reputations and rankings are for the legal assistant schools you are contemplating. This is of special importance if you are entering the profession with no previous experience, since employers will need to make a decision based on the quality of your training exclusively. Checking that the school you choose is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating reports, such as 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 Luke Afb AZ law firms that you may be interested 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 ranked, its paralegal program may still have an excellent reputation.
Does the Program Provide Internships? Internship programs provide students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal operation while remaining in school. They can also provide an avenue for students to start creating contacts within the Luke Afb AZ legal community. Find out if the paralegal programs you are reviewing provide internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Find out 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 sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Campus Located? Since laws differ among states, it may be advantageous to select a legal assistant school domiciled in Arizona or the state where you want to practice after graduating. In addition, it will be necessary to create relationships in the neighboring legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is even more justification to obtain your education in the area where you desire to practice. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many require a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may need to initially investigate those schools that are within the Luke Afb AZ area.
How Much is the Entire Expense? Paralegal programs can vary in price depending on the credential earned and the length of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your education. Remember to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid might be accessible to help reduce some of the expense, so make sure to talk to the school’s financial aid office to find out what is offered in Luke Afb AZ. Of course if you choose to attend an online program, a portion these additional expenses, such as for commuting, might be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students continue working while getting their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can only attend night or weekend classes near Luke Afb AZ, verify classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, confirm that the program you choose provides that option. Finally, find out what the process is for making up missed classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Online Legal Assistant and Paralegal Training
Online paralegal or legal assistant programs have become more available and may be an excellent alternative for individuals searching for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be particularly appealing to individuals who keep working while earning a certificate or degree. As an additional advantage, online schools can often be less costly than on campus options. Even ancillary expenditures for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will cover in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the education you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make certain that the school and program you are reviewing are accredited by a highly regarded agency, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less structured and formal environment, then obtaining your degree or certificate online could be the right choice for you.
Attending a Paralegal School near Luke Afb AZ?
If you live near Luke Afb 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.
Luke Air Force Base
Luke Air Force Base (IATA: LUF, ICAO: KLUF, FAA LID: LUF) is a United States Air Force base located 7 miles (6.1 nmi; 11 km) west of the central business district of Glendale, in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States. It is about 15 miles (13 nmi; 24 km) west of Phoenix, Arizona.
Luke AFB is a major training base of the Air Education and Training Command (AETC), training pilots in the F-16 Fighting Falcon. On 31 March 2011 it was announced that the F-35 Lightning II would replace the F-16 as the primary training aircraft at Luke, although the date of deployment of the new aircraft to Luke and reorganization plans were not announced. On 16 July 2013, the Air Force announced that Luke AFB will house a total of 144 F-35A Lightning IIs.
Luke Air Force Base is an active-duty F-16 Fighting Falcon training base with 170 F-16s assigned. The host command at Luke is the 56th Fighter Wing (56 FW), under Air Education and Training Command's 19th Air Force.
How to Choose Paralegal Degree Online Classes Luke Afb AZ
Selecting the ideal legal assistant degree 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 How to Choose Paralegal Degree Online Classes. But as we have discussed in this article, you have the choice of attending classes on campus or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Luke Afb residence. Paralegal academic programs are provided in various lengths and formats. Several types of private and public institutions provide paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four year colleges and universities, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a pronounced influence on your opportunities for success in your new profession. Given that there is a wide range in the quality of schools, pick wisely. Give yourself the best possible opportunity to succeed in this rewarding profession. But no matter how you choose to obtain your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will be able to examine each program and make your ultimate decision. And with the right training you can achieve your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Luke Afb AZ.
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