How to Find a Paralegal Degree Program near New Brockton Alabama
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near New Brockton AL and start your journey that will lead to a gratifying career in legal services. However, it’s crucial that you find the best school so that you will get the extensive training that you require to be successful. As you most likely know, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more academic options are becoming available, both on campus and online. But with numerous alternatives to choose from, where does one start? Many potential students begin by trying to find paralegal schools within traveling distance of their New Brockton homes. Of those alternatives, they try to find the program with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are very important considerations when choosing a college, they are not the only qualifiers you ought to take into consideration. Things such as the reputation and accreditation of the program ought to be taken into account too. Later in this post we will review a list of questions that you must ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can assess and compare each one before making your choice. But first, let’s take a look at what a paralegal does and the instructional choices that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?
Paralegals and legal assistants basically both hold the same job positions and functions, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and are part of a different job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist attorneys in New Brockton AL with a wide variety of job duties, such as maintaining client files, legal research, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job functions are based upon the type of practice where they are employed. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm may help with the logistics of a trial or transporting documents to court. In private firms, the work of a paralegal is usually billed hourly as are the attorney’s. And the same as lawyers, they must carry out their duties with a high degree of professionalism and comply with a strict code of professional ethics. As noted, their responsibilities can be varied in support of the firms where they work, but some of their routine activities might involve:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on related laws and cases
- Composing correspondence and legal papers
- Filing legal papers with the court or opposing counsel
- Helping attorneys prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and managing legal documents, files and additional records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a New Brockton AL paralegal can be complex and quite demanding. However, what they are not legally authorized to do is offer legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not confined to clerical or administrative tasks more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the main support systems for lawyers. And because they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, attorneys have the ability to manage a much larger volume of clients or cases than they could on their own.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals perhaps having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the academic prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The quickest way to launch your career in New Brockton AL as a paralegal is by earning a certificate, which can involve as little as 6 months to accomplish. Most entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which offer 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 offered as well. After you have acquired either a certificate or degree, you might want to continue and obtain a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Alabama to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help increase your job opportunities, but help substantiate 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 degree or certificate from an accredited school (we will discuss the advantages of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two important first steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in New Brockton AL.
Online Paralegal Certificates
Online paralegal schools have become more available and can be a good alternative for students in New Brockton AL looking for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be especially appealing to those who keep working while earning a certificate or degree. As an added advantage, online schools can in some cases be less costly than more traditional options. Even ancillary expenditures for such items as study materials or commuting can be reduced or eliminated. One caveat, not all internet schools 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 sure that the school and program you are reviewing are accredited by a respected organization, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to attend classes in a less structured and conventional setting, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the right choice for you.
Things to Ask Paralegal Programs
Now that you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what academic choices are available, you can begin the undertaking of assessing New Brockton AL area schools. But since there are numerous programs accessible at junior and community colleges, as well as trade and vocational schools, you need to know 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 as well. If you are like many prospective students, you will begin by looking for schools within driving distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have already covered, there are other significant issues to research as well, such as accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over some of the questions you need to be asking the schools you are researching so that you can effectively vet each one and make your final selection.
Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you pick need to be accredited by a reputable organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online school, it can also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. Accreditation will not only help guarantee 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 also. Numerous New Brockton AL law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited school. Also, financial assistance and student loans are often offered only for accredited schools.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Learn what the rankings and reputations are for the New Brockton AL paralegal programs you are contemplating. This is of specific importance if you are new to the field with no prior work history, since employers will have to rely on the caliber of your education exclusively. Confirming that the program you select is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating reports, such as those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call some law offices that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask what schools they recommend. Remember that even when a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program may still have an excellent reputation.
Does the Program Provide Internships? Internship programs offer students an opportunity to experience working in a law practice or other legal operation while attending school. They can also provide a means for students to begin creating contacts within the New Brockton AL legal community. Ask if the paralegal programs you are evaluating provide internship programs, particularly in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in a new profession can be difficult without help. 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 indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama legal services employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School’s Location? Considering that laws differ among states, it may be beneficial to enroll in a paralegal school domiciled in the state where you want to practice after graduation. Also, it will be important to develop relationships in the neighboring legal community, possibly through an internship program. This is all the more reason to receive your education in the area where you choose to work. 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 wish to first look at those schools that are within your New Brockton AL local area.
How Much is the Total Expense? Paralegal programs can differ in cost depending on the credential received and the amount of training furnished. Having said that, tuition will not be the only cost for your education. Don’t forget to add the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid may be accessible to help reduce part of the cost, so make sure to consult with the school’s financial aid office to see what is offered in New Brockton AL. Naturally if you choose to attend an online program, some of these added costs, such as for commuting, might be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students keep working while receiving their training and need flexibility to schedule classes. If you can only attend night or weekend classes near New Brockton AL, verify classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the program you select makes available that option. Last, inquire what the procedure is for making-up classes missed because of sickness, work or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in New Brockton AL?
New Brockton, Alabama
New Brockton is located east of the center of Coffee County at 31°22′52″N 85°55′28″W / 31.38111°N 85.92444°W / 31.38111; -85.92444 (31.381138, -85.924339). The city of Enterprise is directly to the southeast.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,146 people, 469 households, and 327 families residing in the town. The population density was 143 people per square mile (55.4/km²). There were 561 housing units at an average density of 70.1 per square mile (27.1/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 70.1% White, 21.0% Black or African American, 5.5% Native American, 0.2% from other races, and 2.7% from two or more races. 2.5% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 469 households out of which 27.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.3% were married couples living together, 15.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.3% were non-families. 27.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.97.
In the town, the population was spread out with 23.2% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 26.4% from 25 to 44, 26.8% from 45 to 64, and 15.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.5 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.3 males.
Enroll in the Best Paralegal Certificate Program near New Brockton AL
Selecting the right paralegal training program is an essential first step to guarantee your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have covered in this article, you have the choice of attending classes on campus or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your New Brockton home. Paralegal education programs are made available in numerous formats and lengths. Different types of public and private 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 pronounced impact on your prospects for success in your new profession. Given that there is a broad range in the quality of programs, choose wisely. Afford yourself the best possible opportunity to be successful in this exciting profession. But irrespective of how you decide to receive your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have provided you will have the ability to assess each program and make your final selection. And with the right education you can accomplish your career objective to become a successful paralegal in New Brockton AL.
Other Cool Cities in Alabama