How to Pick the Right Paralegal Training Program near Wylie Texas
Congratulations on your decision to enroll in paralegal studies near Wylie TX and start your journey that will lead to a fulfilling profession in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s essential that you locate the best school so that you will get 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 a growing number of educational choices are becoming available, both on campus and online. But with so many alternatives to choose from, where does one begin? A number of prospective students begin by searching for schools within driving distance of their Wylie homes. Of those alternatives, they try to find the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important considerations when picking a school, they are not the only qualifiers you must take into consideration. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the program should be taken into account too. Later in this article we will review a list of concerns that you must ask potential paralegal schools so that you can evaluate and compare every one before making your decision. But first, let’s have a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the instructional alternatives that are offered 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 positions and functions, only 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 legal assistants and paralegals help Wylie TX attorneys 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 based upon the type of practice where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law practice might assist with the logistics of a trial or transporting files to court. In private practices, a paralegal’s work is normally billed hourly as are the lawyer’s. And just like lawyers, they must carry out their duties with a high level of professionalism and follow a strict code of professional ethics. As stated, their responsibilities can be wide ranging in support of the practices where they work, but a few of their daily tasks can involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Researching related cases and laws
- Preparing correspondence and legal papers
- Filing legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
- Assisting lawyers prepare for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a paralegal can be complicated and quite challenging. However, what they are not legally permitted to do is offer legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal proceeding. But they are not confined to clerical or administrative tasks more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Legal assistants truly are the right hand support systems for lawyers. And since they do so much of the legal ground work and preparation, lawyers are able to manage 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 possibly having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the educational requirements and opportunities will be the same. The quickest means to begin your career as a legal assistant in Wylie TX is by earning a certificate, which may take just six months to accomplish. A large number of entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more expansive education and can be obtained at numerous community colleges in two years. And if you are interested in an even more comprehensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are available also. When you have acquired either a certificate or degree, you may choose to proceed and earn a certification. Although it is not a legal requirement in Texas to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help improve your career opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. A few of the highly respected 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 cover 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 Degree Programs
Once you have a better idea regarding what paralegals do and what educational choices are available, you can begin the process of evaluating schools. But since there are so many programs available at junior and community colleges in the Wylie TX area, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you must learn what questions to ask in order to compare each one. This is particularly true if you include all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. 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 already discussed, there are other significant aspects to consider also, including 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 researching so that you can properly vet each one and make your ultimate decision.
Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you choose should be accredited by a reputable accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it may also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance training. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will obtain will be of the highest quality, but it will show potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. Many Wylie TX law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited school. Finally, financial aid and student loans are often accessible only for accredited programs.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Investigate what the rankings and reputations are for the legal assistant programs you are contemplating. This is of particular importance if you are new to the profession with no prior work history, since employers will have to rely on the quality of your education exclusively. Verifying that the school you choose is accredited is an excellent first step. Reviewing school rating reports, including those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also call some Wylie TX law practices that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask what schools they suggest. Remember that even if a school is not among the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an outstanding reputation.
Does the School Provide Internships? Internship programs provide students a chance to experience working in a law firm or other legal operation while remaining in school. They can also offer a pathway for students to start developing contacts within the Wylie TX legal field. Find out if the paralegal schools you are assessing offer internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the paralegal schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Texas legal services employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? Because laws differ among states, it might be a good idea to select a legal assistant school located in Texas or the state where you plan to work after graduating. Also, it will be valuable to build relationships in the area legal community, perhaps by means of an internship program. This is even more reason to acquire your education in the community where you want to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most charge an increased tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may want to first investigate those colleges that are within the Wylie TX area.
How Much is the Entire Expense? Paralegal schools can differ in price based on the credential earned and the amount of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only cost for your education. Remember to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial assistance may be accessible to help offset part of the cost, so be sure to contact the school’s financial aid office to see what is offered in Wylie TX. Needless to say that if you decide to attend an online program, some of these supplementary costs, for instance for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Match your Schedule? A number of paralegal students keep working while getting their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Wylie TX, 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 enroll in offers that option. Finally, inquire what the process is for making up classes missed as a result of sickness, work or family emergencies.
Online Paralegal and Legal Assistant Programs
Online paralegal or legal assistant programs have become more available and can be a good alternative for students looking for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be especially attractive to individuals who continue to work while obtaining a certificate or degree. As an additional advantage, online schools can sometimes be less expensive than on campus options. Even supplementary expenses for such things as commuting or study materials can be minimized or eliminated. One caution, not all online schools are accredited, which we will discuss in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the training you obtain is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the program and school you are thinking about are accredited by a highly regarded agency, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less structured and formal setting, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.
Attending a Paralegal School near Wylie TX?
If you live near Wylie Texas or perhaps are considering attending classes in that area, following is some interesting and useful information regarding the location of your new school campus.
Wylie is a city once solely located in Collin County, but now extends into neighboring Dallas and Rockwall Counties in the U.S. state of Texas. It is located on State Route 78 about 20 miles (32 km) northeast of central Dallas and centrally located between nearby Lavon Lake and Lake Ray Hubbard.
Originally called Nickelville, reportedly after the name of the first store, it was organized in the early 1870s. The Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway laid tracks a half mile north of the original townsite in 1886. The businesses of Nickelville moved to take advantage of the railroad within the following year, and the City of Wylie was incorporated in 1887 along the right-of-way. It was named for Lt. Colonel William D. Wylie, a right-of-way agent for the railroad and Civil War veteran.
That same year, Wylie had given itself its name, established a post office branch, and incorporated, choosing an alderman form of government. Two years later, the St. Louis Southwestern Railway reached the town. The two railroads and the rich agricultural region of the Blackland Prairies contributed to the town's growth. In 1890, Wylie had a population of 400 and the first one-room school house was built. By 1900, it had grown to 773. In the next decade, the population tripled. Before 1920, the community had over 35 businesses, including two banks, a school, and a weekly newspaper.
Bachelor Legal Studies Wylie TX
Selecting the right legal assistant 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 Bachelor Legal Studies. But as we have addressed in this post, you have the option of attending classes on campus or you can participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Wylie residence. Paralegal training programs are offered in various formats and lengths. Different kinds of private and public institutions offer paralegal education, including junior and community colleges, four year universities and colleges, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a profound impact on your prospects for success in your new career. Given that there is a broad range in the quality of schools, pick carefully. Afford yourself the greatest possible chance to succeed in this exciting profession. But no matter how you choose to acquire your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have presented you will have the ability to assess each school and make your final selection. And with the right training you can achieve your career goal to become a practicing paralegal in Wylie TX.
Other Texas Locations That May Be Of Interest
Business Results 1 - 10 of 193