How to Find the Right Paralegal Studies Degree Program near Woodbine New Jersey
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Woodbine NJ and begin your journey that will lead to a fulfilling profession in legal services. However, it’s crucial that you find the best school so that you will receive the extensive training that you require to succeed. As you most likely know, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more educational choices are becoming available, both on campus and online. However with so many options to choose from, where does one start? Some prospective students begin by looking for schools within driving range of their Woodbine homes. Of those choices, they look for the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are prime considerations when selecting a school, they are not the only qualifiers you must take into consideration. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the school need to be taken into account too. Later on in this post we will cover a list of concerns that you should ask potential paralegal schools so that you can examine and compare each one before making your decision. But first, let’s take a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the educational 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 the same job roles and functions, just 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 classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist Woodbine NJ lawyers with a wide variety of job duties, such as maintaining client files, legal research, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job functions are based upon the type of practice where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm may assist with trial logistics or delivering files to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is typically billed by the hour as are the lawyer’s. And just like attorneys, they must perform with a high degree of professionalism and adhere to a strict code of professional ethics. As noted, their responsibilities can be varied in support of the practices where they work, but some of their daily tasks might involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Researching related laws and cases
- Drafting correspondence and legal documents
- Submitting legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping lawyers get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal files, documents and additional records
With all of their duties, the job of a paralegal can be complicated 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 proceeding. But paralegals are not limited to clerical or administrative duties more apropos to the job of a legal secretary. Legal assistants really are the right hand support systems for lawyers. And since they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, lawyers have the ability to take on a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could on their own.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly 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 legal assistant in Woodbine NJ is by earning a certificate, which may take as little as six months to complete. Most entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more comprehensive education and may be earned at numerous community colleges in 2 years. For an even more extensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option also. When you have earned either a certificate or degree, you may choose to continue and get a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in New Jersey to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help maximize your employment opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional also. 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 discuss 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.
Things to Ask Paralegal Colleges
Once you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what training options are offered, you can start the process of assessing schools. But because there are numerous programs available at community and junior colleges in the Woodbine NJ area, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you must learn 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 also. If you are like most prospective students, you will begin by searching for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already discussed, there are other significant factors to think about as well, for instance accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over several of the questions you need to be asking the programs you are considering so that you can properly vet each one and make your ultimate selection.
Is the Paralegal Program and School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you select need to be accredited by a recognized organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. Accreditation will not only certify that the training you will obtain will be of the highest quality, but it will show future employers that you are a qualified professional also. Numerous Woodbine NJ law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited program. Also, financial aid and student loans are often obtainable only for accredited schools.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Investigate what the reputations and rankings are for the legal assistant schools you are looking at. This is of special importance if you are new to the profession with no previous experience, since employers will have to make a decision based on the quality of your training exclusively. Verifying that the program you choose is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating services, 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 contact several Woodbine NJ law offices that you may have an interest 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 exceptional reputation.
Does the School Sponsor Internships? Internship programs give students an opportunity to experience working in a law office or other legal operation while still in school. They can also offer a means for students to start developing contacts within the Woodbine NJ legal field. Find out if the paralegal schools you are assessing offer internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in a new field can be difficult without support. 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 a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with New Jersey legal services employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School’s Location? Since laws differ from state to state, it may be a good idea to choose a paralegal school located in New Jersey or the state where you want to practice after graduation. Also, it will be important to create relationships in the area legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is even more reason to acquire your education in the area where you choose to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, most require a higher tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you might want to first consider those colleges that are within the Woodbine NJ area.
How Much is the Total Expense? Paralegal programs can differ in cost based on the credential earned and the amount of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only cost for your education. Don’t forget to add the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance might be accessible to help minimize some of the expense, so don’t forget to check with the school’s financial aid department to see what is offered in Woodbine NJ. Of course if you choose to attend an online school, some of these supplementary costs, for instance for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Match your Schedule? A number of legal students continue working while obtaining their training and require flexibility to schedule classes. If you can solely attend weekend or evening classes near Woodbine NJ, make sure classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the program you choose provides that option. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Paralegal and Legal Assistant Online Classes
Paralegal and legal assistant online programs have become more popular and may be a good option for those searching for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online programs can be especially appealing to individuals who continue to work while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an added benefit, online schools can sometimes be less expensive than on campus options. Even ancillary expenditures for such items as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all online programs are accredited, which we will address in more detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps guarantee 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 reputable agency, such as the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study 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 Woodbine NJ?
If you live near Woodbine New Jersey or perhaps are considering attending classes in that area, following is some interesting and useful information regarding the location of your new school campus.
Woodbine, New Jersey
Woodbine is a borough in Cape May County, New Jersey, United States. It is part of the Ocean City Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 2,472, reflecting a decline of 244 (-9.0%) from the 2,716 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 38 (+1.4%) from the 2,678 counted in the 1990 Census.
Woodbine was founded in 1891 as a settlement for Eastern European Jews. The Baron DeHirsch Fund, organized by philanthropist Maurice de Hirsch, purchased 5,300 acres (21 km2) of land in Dennis Township, in Cape May County, New Jersey to start a settlement. Immigrants from Poland and Russia were invited to settle the new community. Within two years, they cleared the forest and built a town and thriving farms. 800 acres (3.2 km2) of land were set aside as town lots. The residential center of Woodbine still uses the same grid that was originally laid out in 1891. Using modern agricultural practices under the direction of agriculturist and chemist Hirsch Loeb Sabsovich, the first colonists (Woodbine was sometimes called the "Jewish Colony" in the early days) turned Woodbine into a model agricultural community.
Woodbine was incorporated as a borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 3, 1903, from portions of Dennis Township. Because most of the original settlers were Jewish, Woodbine became known as "the first self-governing Jewish community since the fall of Jerusalem."
Paralegal Online Course Woodbine NJ
Enrolling in the ideal paralegal degree program is an essential first step toward your success in the rewarding field of law. You originally came to this website because you had an interest in getting more information about Paralegal Online Course. But as we have discussed in this post, you have the choice of attending classes on campus or you can attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Woodbine residence. Paralegal education programs are offered in numerous lengths and formats. Various types of public and private institutions make available paralegal education, including community colleges, four year colleges and universities, 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 profession. Considering that there is a broad range in the quality of programs, choose wisely. Give yourself the best possible opportunity to succeed in this exciting profession. But no matter how you choose to receive your education and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have provided you will be able to examine each program and make your final selection. And with the appropriate education you can accomplish your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Woodbine NJ.
Other New Jersey Locations That May Be Of Interest
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