How to Choose the Right Paralegal Studies Degree Program near Cedar Glen California
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Cedar Glen CA and begin your journey that will lead to a satisfying profession in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s essential that you locate the ideal school so that you will receive the extensive training that you require to succeed. As you probably understand, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more educational alternatives are being offered, both on campus and online. However with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one start? Many prospective students start by trying to find schools within driving distance of their Cedar Glen homes. Of those alternatives, they search for the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important considerations when selecting a school, they are not the only qualifiers you should take into consideration. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the school ought to be taken into account also. Later on in this article we will cover a list of concerns that you should ask potential paralegal schools so that you can examine and compare every one before making your selection. But first, let’s have a look at what a paralegal does and the educational alternatives that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Legal Assistants and Paralegals
Legal assistants and paralegals basically both fill the same job roles and functions, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and belong to a different job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants help Cedar Glen CA attorneys with a wide variety of job functions, such as maintaining client files, legal research, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their specific job duties are relevant to the type of practice where they are employed. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm could assist with the logistics of a trial or transferring documents to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is typically billed by the hour as are the attorney’s. And the same as attorneys, they must perform with a high level of professionalism and adhere to a strict standard of professional ethics. As mentioned, their duties can be wide ranging in support of the firms where they are employed, but a few of their day-to-day tasks may involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on related cases and laws
- Drafting correspondence and legal documents
- Submitting legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Assisting attorneys get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal documents, files and other records
With all of their duties, the job of a paralegal can be complex and quite challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally allowed to do is provide legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not restricted to administrative or clerical tasks more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Legal assistants truly are the main support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, attorneys are able to manage a much larger number of clients or cases than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Training and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the educational requirements and opportunities will be the same. The fastest way to start your career as a paralegal in Cedar Glen CA is by obtaining a certificate, which can involve as little as six months to complete. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more extensive education and may 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 an option also. After you have earned either a certificate or degree, you might choose to proceed and obtain a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in California to work as a paralegal, certification can not only help maximize your career opportunities, but help establish you as a professional also. A few of the highly regarded certifying organizations in the field 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 discuss the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken two essential first steps that will help ensure your success as either a legal assistant or a paralegal.
Points to Ask Paralegal Schools
Once you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what educational options are available, you can start the process of assessing schools. But because there are numerous programs available at junior and community colleges in the Cedar Glen CA area, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you need to learn what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is particularly true if you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like most prospective 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 significant issues to research as well, for instance accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over some of the questions you should be asking the programs you are considering so that you can effectively vet each one and make your final decision.
Is the Paralegal School and Program Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you pick need to be accredited by a recognized organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will receive will be of the highest standard, but it will demonstrate to potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. Many Cedar Glen CA law firms will only hire entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited program. Finally, financial aid and student loans are typically offered only for accredited programs.
What’s the School’s Reputation? Find out what the reputations and rankings are for the legal assistant schools you are considering. This is of particular importance if you are entering the field with no prior experience, since employers will need to rely on the quality of your training exclusively. Verifying that the school you pick is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating services, such as those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call several Cedar Glen CA law firms that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask what schools they suggest. Remember that even if a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the School Sponsor Internships? Internship programs give students an opportunity to experience working in a law firm or other legal operation while still in school. They can also present a pathway for students to begin establishing contacts within the Cedar Glen CA legal community. Find out if the paralegal schools you are reviewing offer internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the paralegal programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good 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 in demand.
Where is the School’s Location? Because laws vary among states, it might be beneficial to select a legal assistant school located in California or the state where you want to work after graduating. Also, it will be important to build relationships in the local legal community, possibly by means of an internship program. This is even more justification to acquire your education in the area where you wish to work. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many require a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may need to first consider those schools that are within the Cedar Glen CA area.
How Much is the Complete Cost? Paralegal programs can vary in cost depending on the credential received and the amount of training furnished. However, tuition will not be the only expense for your education. Remember to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial aid might be obtainable to help minimize part of the expense, so don’t forget to contact the school’s financial aid department to see what is offered in Cedar Glen CA. Naturally if you choose to attend an online school, a portion these added costs, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Accommodate your Schedule? Many paralegal students keep working while getting their training and need flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Cedar Glen CA, make certain classes are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the program you choose offers that option. Finally, inquire what the protocol is for making up classes missed as a result of sickness, work or family obligations.
Legal Assistant and Paralegal Online Degrees
Legal assistant and paralegal online programs have become more available and may be a good option for individuals searching for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online schools can be especially appealing to individuals who continue to work while earning a degree. As an added benefit, online schools can often be less costly than more traditional options. Even secondary expenses for such items as commuting or study materials can be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will discuss in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the education you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make certain that the school and program you are thinking about are accredited by a respected organization, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less structured and formal environment, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.
Attending a Paralegal School near Cedar Glen CA?
If you live near Cedar Glen 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.
Cedar Glen, California
As of the census of 2000, there were 552 people and 590 housing units. The racial makeup of the CDP was 86.6% White, <0.1% African American, <0.1% Native American, 9.2% Asian, 4.2% Pacific Islander, <0.1% from other races, and <0.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were <0.1% of the population.
Legal Administrative Assistant Schools Cedar Glen CA
Choosing the ideal legal assistant 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 Legal Administrative Assistant Schools. But as we have covered 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 Cedar Glen home. Paralegal training programs are made available in many lengths and formats. Various types of public and private institutions offer paralegal education, including community colleges, four-year universities and colleges, as well as vocational and trade schools. Your choice of a paralegal school will have a pronounced influence on your prospects for success in your new career. Given that there is a wide range in the quality of schools, choose carefully. Give yourself the best possible opportunity to be successful in this rewarding profession. But no matter how you choose to acquire your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will be able to evaluate each school and make your final selection. And with the right education you can achieve your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Cedar Glen CA.
Other California Locations That May Be Of Interest
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