How to Pick the Right Paralegal Studies School near Arvin California
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Arvin CA and begin your journey that will lead to a satisfying career in legal services. However, it’s essential that you locate 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 more and more educational choices are becoming available, both at school and online. However with numerous options to choose from, where does one start? A number of potential students start by looking for schools within commuting range of their Arvin homes. Of those alternatives, they look for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are prime considerations when selecting a school, they are not the only qualifiers you need to consider. Things such as accreditation and the reputation of the school ought to be considered too. Later on in this post we will review a list of concerns that you should ask potential paralegal schools so that you can evaluate and compare each one prior to making your selection. But before we do, let’s take a look at what a paralegal does and the academic choices that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Legal Assistants and Paralegals
Legal assistants and paralegals basically both hold comparable job positions and functions, just with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a different job category. Both legal assistants and paralegals help Arvin CA attorneys with a diverse array of job functions, such as legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job duties are relevant to the type of practice where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm might assist with trial logistics or transporting files to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is normally billed by the hour as are the attorney’s. And the same as attorneys, they must carry out their duties with a high degree of professionalism and abide by a strict standard of professional ethics. As noted, their duties can be varied in support of the firms where they work, but a few of their routine tasks might include:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on pertinent laws and cases
- Preparing 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 job of a paralegal can be complex and very challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally allowed to do is give legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But paralegals are not confined to clerical or administrative tasks more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the main support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, lawyers have the ability to handle a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the academic prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The quickest means to launch your career as a legal assistant in Arvin CA is by earning a certificate, which can require just 6 months to complete. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more expansive education and can be acquired at numerous community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. Once you have earned either a degree or a certificate, you might want to proceed and obtain a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in California to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help improve 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 program (we will address the advantages of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two essential first steps that will help ensure your success as either a legal assistant or a paralegal.
Things to Ask Paralegal Degree Programs
Now that you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what educational options are available, you can start the undertaking of assessing schools. But considering that there are numerous programs available at community and junior colleges in the Arvin CA area, in addition to trade and vocational schools, you must find out what questions to ask in order to compare each one. This is especially true when you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like most potential students, you will begin by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other critical issues to consider also, for instance accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over some of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are researching so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your ultimate choice.
Is the Paralegal Program and School Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you pick should be accredited by a respected accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will get will be of the highest standard, but it will show potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. Many Arvin CA law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited program. Also, financial aid and student loans are often obtainable only for accredited schools.
What’s the Reputation of the Program? Learn what the rankings and reputations are for the paralegal schools you are looking at. This is of special importance if you are entering the field with no prior work history, since employers will have to make a decision based on the quality of your training exclusively. Confirming that the program you pick is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating reports, 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 call several Arvin CA law firms that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask which schools they suggest. Remember that even when a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the Program Sponsor Internships? Internship programs offer students a chance to experience working in a law practice or other legal enterprise while still in school. They can also provide a pathway for students to start creating contacts within the Arvin CA legal field. Find out if the paralegal schools you are assessing provide internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the paralegal schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with California legal services employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? Because laws differ among states, it may be a good idea to enroll in a paralegal school located in California or the state where you wish to work after graduation. Also, it will be valuable to establish relationships in the neighboring legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is even more justification to receive your education in the area where you desire to work. 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 wish to first investigate those schools that are within the Arvin CA region.
What is the Complete Cost? Paralegal programs can vary in price depending on the credential obtained and the amount of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only expense for your training. Don’t forget to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance might be available to help offset some of the cost, so be sure to consult with the school’s financial aid office to find out what is offered in Arvin CA. Of course if you decide to attend an online program, a portion these added expenses, for instance for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Match your Schedule? Numerous legal students keep working while obtaining their training and must have flexibility in class scheduling. If you can just attend night or weekend classes near Arvin CA, make sure classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, confirm that the school you select offers that option. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up missed classes as a result of sickness, work or family obligations.
Legal Assistant and Paralegal Online Schools
Paralegal and legal assistant online schools have become more available and may be a good alternative for individuals looking for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be especially attractive to individuals who continue to work while obtaining a degree. As an added benefit, online classes can sometimes be less costly than more traditional options. Even supplementary expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized 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 guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest caliber. So check to make certain that the school and program you are thinking about are accredited by a respected agency, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less supervised and formal environment, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the right choice for you.
Attending a Paralegal School near Arvin CA?
If you live near Arvin California or perhaps are considering attending classes in that area, following is some interesting and useful information regarding the location of your new school campus.
Arvin is a city in Kern County, California. Arvin is located 15 miles (24 km) southeast of Bakersfield, at an elevation of 449 feet (137 m). As of the 2010 census, the population was 19,304, up from 12,956 at the 2000 census.
In 2007, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) listed Arvin as having the highest levels of smog of any community in the United States. The city's level of ozone, smog's primary component, exceeded the EPA's acceptable limits an average of 73 days per year between 2004 and 2006.
Property sales of lots in present-day Arvin began in 1906. The Arvin Post Office was established in 1914 and the community incorporated as a city in 1960. The city was named after Arvin Richardson, who was the son of one of the original settling families from San Bernardino. Birdie Heard petitioned for the addition of the post office in 1914 and submitted proposed names including Bear Mountain, Walnut, and Arvin. Officials in Washington D.C. chose Arvin as it was the only proposed name which was not already in use in California. Birdie was the city's first postmaster. She set up the post office in her living room originally, but it was later moved to the general store owned by the Staples family. The in-store post office was also the area's first informal library until an official branch of the Kern County Library system was established in 1927.
Paralegal Assistant Training Arvin CA
Selecting the right legal assistant training program is a crucial 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 Assistant Training. But as we have discussed in this post, you have the option of attending classes on campus or you can attend them online in the comfort and privacy of your Arvin home. Paralegal education programs are made available in numerous formats and lengths. Various types of public and private institutions make available paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, as well as vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a pronounced influence on your opportunities for success in your new profession. Considering that there is a wide range in the quality of programs, choose wisely. Afford yourself the best possible opportunity to succeed in this fascinating profession. But no matter how you choose to receive your education and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have presented you will be able to examine each school and make your ultimate decision. And with the ideal training you can realize your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Arvin CA.
Other California Locations That May Be Of Interest
Business Results 1 - 10 of 40