How to Choose the Right Legal Assistant Certificate Program near Sharon Springs Kansas
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Sharon Springs KS and start your journey that will lead to a satisfying career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s important that you find the right school so that you will get the extensive training that you require to achieve success. As you most likely know, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more academic alternatives are being offered, both at school and online. However with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one start? Some potential students start by looking for schools within traveling range of their Sharon Springs residences. Of those alternatives, they search for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are necessary considerations when picking a school, they are not the only factors you should take into consideration. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the program ought to be considered too. Later on in this post we will review a list of concerns that you need to ask potential paralegal schools so that you can examine and compare every one prior to making your choice. But before we do, let’s have a look at what a paralegal does and the instructional alternatives that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
Paralegals and Legal Assistants
Paralegals and legal assistants for the most part both hold comparable job positions and responsibilities, just with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and are part of a separate job classification. Both legal assistants and paralegals assist Sharon Springs KS attorneys with a wide variety of job duties, including legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. 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 could help with trial logistics or delivering files to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is usually billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And just like attorneys, they must conduct themselves with a high degree of professionalism and comply with a strict code of professional ethics. As mentioned, their responsibilities can be varied in support of the firms where they are employed, but a few of their everyday activities can include:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Researching applicable laws and cases
- Composing correspondence and legal documents
- Filing legal documents with opposing counsel or the court
- Assisting lawyers get ready for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal documents, files and other records
With all of their responsibilities, the job of a paralegal can be complex and very demanding. On the other hand, what they are not legally permitted to do is give legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not restricted to administrative or clerical duties more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Legal assistants really are the main support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, attorneys are able to manage a much larger volume of clients or cases than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic prerequisites and opportunities will be the same. The fastest way to start your career as a legal assistant in Sharon Springs KS is by obtaining a certificate, which can require just 6 months to accomplish. Many entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more expansive education and can be acquired at many community colleges in two years. For an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. When you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you might choose to proceed and get a certification. Although it is not a mandatory requirement in Kansas to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help maximize your career opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. Some of the highly regarded certifying agencies 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 degree or certificate from an accredited school (we will cover the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 important first steps that will help guarantee your success as either a paralegal or a legal assistant.
Points to Ask Paralegal Schools
Once you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what academic options are available, you can start the undertaking of assessing schools. But considering that there are so many programs available at junior and community colleges in the Sharon Springs KS area, as well as vocational and trade schools, you need to learn what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is especially true if you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs as well. If you are like the majority of potential students, you will start 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, including the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s go over some of the questions you need to be asking the programs you are investigating so that you can properly vet each one and make your final selection.
Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal program and school that you select should be accredited by a respected accrediting agency 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 focuses on online or distance learning. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will obtain will be of the highest standard, but it will establish with future employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Many Sharon Springs KS law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited school. Finally, financial assistance and student loans are typically available only for accredited schools.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Learn what the reputations and rankings are for the legal assistant schools you are considering. This is of particular importance if you are entering the profession with no prior work history, since employers will need to rely on the quality of your education exclusively. Verifying that the school you select is accredited is a good first step. Checking school rating services, including those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help verify school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also contact a few Sharon Springs KS law practices that you may be interested in working for after graduating and ask which schools they suggest. Remember that even if a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an excellent reputation.
Does the School Offer Internships? Internship programs offer students an opportunity to experience working in a law practice or other legal establishment while attending school. They can also offer a means for students to start establishing contacts within the Sharon Springs KS legal community. Find out if the paralegal programs you are assessing provide internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you are most interested in pursuing upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the paralegal schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Kansas legal services employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School’s Location? Since laws vary among states, it might be a good idea to enroll in a legal assistant school located in Kansas or the state where you want to practice after graduating. Also, it will be necessary to cultivate relationships in the local legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is even more reason to acquire your education in the area where you want to practice. 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 first consider those schools that are within the Sharon Springs KS area.
What is the Entire Cost? Paralegal programs can vary in price depending on the credential received and the length of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expense for your education. Don’t forget to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance may be available to help reduce part of the expense, so don’t forget to consult with the school’s financial aid department to see what is offered in Sharon Springs KS. Naturally if you choose to attend an online program, some of these added costs, for instance for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? Many paralegal students continue working while getting their training and require flexibility to schedule classes. If you can just attend weekend or evening classes near Sharon Springs KS, make certain classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make sure that the program you choose offers that option. Finally, inquire what the procedure is for making-up missed classes as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Paralegal and Legal Assistant Online Degrees
Online legal assistant or paralegal schools have become more available and can be an excellent alternative for those looking for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online schools can be especially appealing to those who keep working while obtaining a degree. As an additional advantage, online classes can often be less expensive than on campus options. Even supplementary expenditures for such things as study materials or commuting can be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all online schools are accredited, which we will address in more detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps ensure that the training you obtain is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the school and program you are considering are accredited by a highly regarded agency, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less structured and conventional setting, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
Attending a Paralegal School near Sharon Springs KS?
If you live near Sharon Springs Kansas or perhaps are considering attending classes in that area, following is some interesting and useful information regarding the location of your new school campus.
Sharon Springs, Kansas
Sharon Springs was originally called Eagle Tail Station when it was founded in 1868. It was renamed Sharon Springs in 1886, after Sharon Springs, New York. Sharon Springs was incorporated as a city in 1890.
Sharon Springs is located at 38°53′44″N 101°45′3″W / 38.89556°N 101.75083°W / 38.89556; -101.75083 (38.895513, -101.750881). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.91 square miles (2.36 km2), all land.
As of the census of 2010, there were 748 people, 327 households, and 197 families residing in the city. The population density was 822.0 inhabitants per square mile (317.4/km2). There were 407 housing units at an average density of 447.3 per square mile (172.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.5% White, 0.1% African American, 0.4% Native American, 3.6% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.7% of the population.
Degree For Paralegal Sharon Springs KS
Selecting the best paralegal studies degree program is an essential 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 Degree For Paralegal. But as we have discussed in this article, you have the option of attending classes at school or you can attend them online in the comfort and privacy of your Sharon Springs home. Paralegal training programs are provided in various lengths and formats. Various types of private and public institutions offer paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your selection of a paralegal school will have a pronounced impact on your prospects for success in your new profession. Since there is a broad range in the quality of programs, pick wisely. Give yourself the greatest possible chance to succeed in this rewarding profession. But regardless of how you choose to obtain your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have provided you will have the ability to review each school and make your ultimate decision. And with the ideal training you can achieve your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Sharon Springs KS.
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