How to Enroll in the Right Paralegal Certificate Program near Page Arizona
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Page AZ and begin your journey that will result in a satisfying profession in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s essential that you find the right school so that you will receive the extensive training that you require 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 options are becoming available, both at school and online. But with numerous options to choose from, where does one start? A number of potential students begin by searching for schools within driving range of their Page residences. Of those options, they search for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are very important considerations when choosing a college, they are not the only factors you should take into consideration. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the school should be considered also. Later on in this post we will review a list of questions that you must ask prospective paralegal schools so that you can evaluate and compare each one before 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 for the most part both fill the same job roles and responsibilities, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and are part of a different job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants help Page AZ attorneys with a wide variety of job functions, including maintaining client files, legal research, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job duties are relevant to the type of legal firm where they work. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice may help with trial logistics or transporting documents to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is normally billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And the same as lawyers, they must perform with a high degree of professionalism and adhere to a strict code of professional ethics. As mentioned, their duties can be diverse in support of the practices where they work, but a few of their day-to-day activities might include:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Researching relevant laws and cases
- Composing correspondence and legal papers
- Filing legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping attorneys prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal files, documents and other records
With all of their responsibilities, the job of a paralegal can be complicated and very demanding. However, what they are not legally authorized to do is give legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal action. But they are not restricted to administrative or clerical functions more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the main support systems for attorneys. And because they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, attorneys have the ability to manage a much larger number of clients or cases than they could alone.
Paralegal Training and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the educational prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The fastest means to begin your career as a paralegal in Page AZ is by obtaining a certificate, which can take just 6 months to complete. Most entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more extensive education and may be obtained at numerous community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more comprehensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option also. After you have earned either a degree or a certificate, you may choose to continue and receive a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Arizona to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help increase your career opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. A few of the highly respected certifying agencies 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 address the benefits of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken two essential first steps that will help guarantee your success as either a paralegal or a legal assistant.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Degree Programs
Now that you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what training choices are available, you can start the process of assessing schools. But considering that there are so many programs accessible at junior and community colleges in the Page AZ area, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you need to know what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is especially true if you include all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs also. If you are like many prospective students, you will start by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously covered, there are other crucial issues to consider also, such as accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s take a look at some of the questions you should be asking the programs you are considering so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your final decision.
Is the Paralegal School and Program Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you choose need to be accredited by a highly regarded organization 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 training. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will get will be of the highest quality, but it will show potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. A number of Page AZ law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited program. Also, financial assistance and student loans are often accessible only for accredited programs.
What’s the Reputation of the School? Research what the reputations and rankings are for the paralegal programs you are contemplating. This is of particular importance if you are entering the profession with no previous experience, since employers will have to make a decision based on the quality of your training exclusively. Checking that the school you pick is accredited is a good first step. Checking school rating services, including those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also contact several Page AZ law offices that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask which schools they recommend. Remember that even if a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the School Offer Internships? Internship programs provide students an opportunity to experience working in a law firm or other legal operation while still in school. They can also offer a means for students to start developing contacts within the Page AZ legal field. Ask if the paralegal programs you are reviewing offer internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the paralegal schools you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Arizona legal services employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Campus Located? Since laws vary among states, it might be beneficial to select a paralegal school domiciled in Arizona or the state where you plan to practice after graduation. In addition, it will be important to establish relationships in the area legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is all the more reason to acquire your education in the area where you desire to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many charge a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may wish to initially investigate those schools that are within the Page AZ area.
What is the Total Cost? Paralegal schools can vary in cost depending on the credential obtained and the amount of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only cost for your training. Don’t forget to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance might be obtainable to help minimize some of the expense, so be sure to contact the school’s financial aid department to find out what is available in Page AZ. Needless to say that if you opt to attend an online program, a portion these additional costs, for instance for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Accommodate your Schedule? Many legal students continue working while getting their training and need flexibility to schedule classes. If you can just attend weekend or evening classes near Page AZ, make sure classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part time basis, confirm that the program you select offers that option. Last, ask what the process is for making-up missed classes as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Paralegal and Legal Assistant Online Schools
Online paralegal or legal assistant schools have become more popular and may be an excellent alternative for those looking for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be especially attractive to students who continue to work while earning a degree. As an additional advantage, online classes can sometimes be less expensive than more traditional options. Even secondary expenditures for such items as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all online schools are accredited, which we will cover in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the training you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make sure that the program and school you are looking into are accredited by a highly regarded organization, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less structured and conventional setting, then obtaining your certificate or degree online could be the right option for you.
Attending a Paralegal School near Page AZ?
If you live near Page 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.
Unlike other cities in the area, Page was founded in 1957 as a housing community for workers and their families during the construction of nearby Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River. Its 17-square-mile (44 km2) site was obtained in a land exchange with the Navajo Nation. The city is perched atop Manson Mesa at an elevation of 4,300 feet (1,300 m) above sea level and 600 feet (180 m) above Lake Powell.
After the dam was completed in the 1960s, and was officially incorporated (March 1, 1975), the city grew steadily to today's population of over 7,000. Because of the new roads and bridge built for use during construction, it has become the gateway to the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Lake Powell, attracting more than 3 million visitors per year. Page is also the home of two of the largest electrical generation units in the western United States. Glen Canyon Dam has a 1,288,000-kilowatt capacity when fully online. The other power plant to the southeast is the Navajo Generating Station, a coal-fired steam plant with an output capability of 2,250,000 kilowatts.
Page is located at 36°54′51″N 111°27′35″W / 36.91417°N 111.45972°W / 36.91417; -111.45972 (36.914296, -111.459717). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 16.6 square miles (43 km2), of which 16.6 square miles (43 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2), or 0.12%, is water.
Paralegal Certificate Programs Page AZ
Selecting the best paralegal studies degree school is a vital first step to guarantee your success in the gratifying field of law. You originally came to this website because you had an interest in getting more information about Paralegal Certificate Programs. But as we have addressed in this post, you have the option of attending classes on campus or you can attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Page residence. Paralegal education programs are offered in numerous formats and lengths. Several types of public and private institutions make available paralegal training, including community and junior colleges, four-year universities and colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your selection 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 programs, pick wisely. Afford yourself the greatest possible opportunity to be successful in this rewarding profession. But no matter how you decide to obtain your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have provided you will be able to examine each program and make your final selection. And with the ideal training you can accomplish your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Page AZ.
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