How to Choose the Right Paralegal School near Tobaccoville North Carolina
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Tobaccoville NC and start your journey that will result in a rewarding career in legal services. However, it’s crucial that you locate the right school so that you will get the comprehensive training that you need to be successful. As you most likely understand, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and increasingly more academic alternatives are becoming available, both on campus and online. However with so many options to choose from, where does one begin? Some potential students start by searching for schools within driving distance of their Tobaccoville homes. Of those choices, they search for the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are very important considerations when picking a college, they are not the only qualifiers you ought to take into consideration. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the program must 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 assess and compare each one prior to making your choice. 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 essentially both hold comparable job positions and responsibilities, just with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and belong to a different job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants help Tobaccoville NC lawyers with a wide variety of job functions, such as legal research, maintaining client files, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their particular job duties are relevant to the type of legal firm where they work. As an 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 normally billed by the hour as are the lawyer’s. And the same as lawyers, they must perform with a high level of professionalism and abide by a strict code of professional ethics. As mentioned, their duties can be diverse in support of the firms where they work, but some of their daily tasks might involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on related cases and laws
- Drafting correspondence and legal documents
- Filing legal papers with the court or opposing counsel
- Helping attorneys get ready for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and managing legal files, documents and other records
With all of their duties, the job of a paralegal can be complex and quite demanding. However, what they are not legally allowed to do is offer legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal action. But they are not restricted to clerical or administrative duties more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Legal assistants truly are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, attorneys are able to handle a much larger volume of clients or cases than they could on their own.
Paralegal Training and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly 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 begin your career as a paralegal in Tobaccoville NC is by earning a certificate, which may require as little as 6 months to accomplish. A large number of entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more comprehensive education and can be earned at many 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 acquired either a degree or a certificate, you may want to continue and get a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in North Carolina to practice as a paralegal, certification can not only help boost your employment opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. Some of the highly regarded 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 discuss the advantages of accreditation later) and obtaining a certification, you will have taken 2 essential initial steps that will help guarantee your success as either a paralegal or a legal assistant.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Colleges
Since you now you have a better idea about what paralegals do and what training choices are available, you can start the process of assessing schools. But since there are numerous programs available at junior and community colleges in the Tobaccoville NC area, as well as vocational and trade schools, you must know what questions to ask in order to compare each one. This is particularly true when you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like the majority of potential 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 important factors to consider also, such as accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over a few of the questions you should be asking the programs you are investigating so that you can properly vet each one and make your final decision.
Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you enroll in should be accredited by a respected organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will obtain will be of the highest standard, but it will demonstrate to potential employers that you are a qualified professional as well. Numerous Tobaccoville NC law firms will only hire entry level legal assistants that have graduated from an accredited program. Finally, financial aid and student loans are often obtainable only for accredited programs.
What’s the Reputation of the Program? Investigate what the rankings and reputations are for the legal assistant programs you are considering. This is of special importance if you are new to the field with no previous work history, since employers will have to rely on the caliber of your education exclusively. Checking that the school you select is accredited is a good first step. Reviewing school rating services, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help verify school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call some Tobaccoville NC law firms that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask what schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even when a school is not among the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an excellent reputation.
Does the School Provide Internships? Internship programs give students an opportunity to experience working in a law practice or other legal establishment while still in school. They can also offer a means for students to start establishing contacts within the Tobaccoville NC legal community. Ask if the paralegal schools you are evaluating offer internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the paralegal programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with North Carolina legal services employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School’s Location? Because laws vary from state to state, it may be a good idea to select a legal assistant school located in North Carolina or the state where you want to practice after graduating. In addition, it will be valuable to cultivate relationships in the local legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is all the more justification to receive your education in the area where you wish to practice. Also, if you attend classes at a community college, many require an increased tuition for students that reside outside of their districts. So you may want to initially consider those colleges that are within the Tobaccoville NC region.
How Much is the Total Expense? Paralegal schools can differ in cost depending on the credential received and the length of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your training. Remember to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid might be accessible to help minimize part of the expense, so be sure to talk to the school’s financial aid office to see what is available in Tobaccoville NC. Needless to say that if you choose to attend an online program, some of these supplementary expenses, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Classes Match your Schedule? A number of paralegal students continue working while obtaining their training and require flexibility in class scheduling. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Tobaccoville NC, verify classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make certain that the program you enroll in offers that option. Finally, find out what the process is for making-up missed classes as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Online Paralegal and Legal Assistant Programs
Online paralegal or legal assistant schools have become more available and may be an excellent alternative for individuals looking for convenient access to classes as well as flexible scheduling. Online programs can be especially attractive to individuals who keep working while earning a degree. As an added advantage, online classes can sometimes be less costly than on campus options. Even secondary expenses for such things as study materials or commuting can be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all online programs are accredited, which we will discuss in greater detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the training you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make certain that the school and program you are reviewing are accredited by a reputable agency, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less supervised and conventional environment, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.
Attending a Paralegal School near Tobaccoville NC?
If you live near Tobaccoville North Carolina or perhaps are considering attending classes in that area, following is some interesting and useful information regarding the location of your new school campus.
Tobaccoville, North Carolina
Tobaccoville is a village in Forsyth and Stokes counties in the U.S. state of North Carolina. The population was 2,441 at the 2010 census. While a Tobaccoville post office was established in 1887, the village was not incorporated until 1991, as a defense against forced annexation of the area by the nearby city of King.
Tobaccoville is located in northwestern Forsyth County at 36°13′50″N 80°21′48″W / 36.23056°N 80.36333°W / 36.23056; -80.36333 (36.230502, -80.363261). Small portions of the village limits extend north into Stokes County. The village is 15 miles (24 km) northwest of downtown Winston-Salem.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,209 people, 889 households, and 661 families residing in the village. The population density was 311.6 people per square mile (120.3/km²). There were 944 housing units at an average density of 133.1 per square mile (51.4/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 95.07% White, 4.16% African American, 0.18% Asian, 0.14% from other races, and 0.45% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.77% of the population.
Accredited Paralegal Programs Tobaccoville NC
Enrolling in the ideal paralegal studies degree school is a crucial 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 Accredited Paralegal Programs. 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 comfort and privacy of your Tobaccoville home. Paralegal training programs are offered in many formats and lengths. Several types of private and public institutions provide paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, in addition to vocational and trade schools. Your choice of a paralegal school will have a pronounced impact on your opportunities for success in your new profession. Given that there is a broad range in the quality of schools, pick carefully. Give yourself the best possible opportunity to be successful in this fascinating profession. But regardless of how you elect to receive your education and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have provided you will be able to assess each program and make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate training you can accomplish your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Tobaccoville NC.
Other North Carolina Locations That May Be Of Interest
Business Results 1 - 10 of 10