How to Find a Paralegal School near Troy Alabama
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Troy AL and begin your journey that will lead to a satisfying career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s essential that you find 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 increasingly more academic options are being offered, both on campus and online. But with so many alternatives to choose from, where does one start? Some prospective students begin by trying to find paralegal schools within driving distance of their Troy residences. Of those alternatives, they search for the program with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are necessary considerations when picking a college, they are not the only factors you should take into consideration. Things such as accreditation and the reputation of the program must be taken into account as well. Later on in this post we will review a list of concerns that you ought to ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can evaluate and compare each one before making your selection. But first, let’s take a look at what a paralegal does and the instructional alternatives that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?
Paralegals and legal assistants for the most part both fill comparable job positions and responsibilities, just with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and belong to a different job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants help attorneys in Troy AL with a wide range of job duties, including legal research, maintaining client files, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their particular job duties are relevant to the type of practice where they are employed. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm might assist with trial logistics or transferring files to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is normally billed by the hour as are the attorney’s. And the same as lawyers, they must carry out their duties with a high degree of professionalism and abide by a strict code of professional ethics. As noted, their responsibilities can be wide ranging in support of the firms where they work, but some of their regular tasks might include:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on pertinent laws and cases
- Preparing correspondence and legal documents
- Submitting legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
- Assisting attorneys prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal documents, files and other records
With all of their duties, the job of a Troy AL paralegal can be involved and quite challenging. However, what they are not legally allowed to do is provide legal counsel and advice or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not restricted to administrative or clerical duties more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the main support systems for lawyers. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, attorneys have the ability to manage a much larger volume of cases or clients than they could alone.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are actually the same as legal assistants, with paralegals possibly having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the educational prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The quickest way to start your career in Troy AL as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which may require as little as 6 months to complete. Many entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which furnish a more expansive education and may be obtained at many community colleges in 2 years. And if you are interested in an even more extensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are an option as well. Once you have earned either a certificate or degree, you may choose to proceed and obtain a certification. Although it is not a mandatory requirement in Alabama to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help maximize your employment opportunities, but help establish you as a professional as well. A few of the highly respected certifying organizations 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 certificate or degree from an accredited school (we will discuss the advantages of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken 2 essential initial steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Troy AL.
Paralegal Online Certificates
Paralegal online schools have become more popular and can be an excellent alternative for individuals in Troy AL searching for convenient access to classes and flexible scheduling. Online schools can be particularly appealing to those who continue to work while earning a certificate or degree. As an added advantage, online schools can sometimes be less costly than more traditional options. Even secondary expenditures for such items as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated. One caveat, not all online schools are accredited, which we will discuss in greater detail later. But at a minimum accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest quality. So check to make sure that the school and program you are considering are accredited by a respected agency, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to attend classes in a less supervised and formal environment, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Paralegal Schools
Once you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what educational choices are available, you can begin the process of evaluating Troy AL area schools. But since there are numerous programs available 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 particularly true if you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs as well. If you are like most prospective students, you will start by searching for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously covered, there are other important factors to consider also, such as accreditation and the reputation of the schools. So let’s go over several of the questions you should be asking the schools you are researching so that you can properly vet each one and make your final selection.
Is the Paralegal Program Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you pick 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 distance or online education. Accreditation will not only certify that the education you will get will be of the highest quality, but it will demonstrate to future employers that you are a qualified professional also. Numerous Troy AL law firms will only employ entry level legal assistants that are graduates of an accredited school. Also, financial assistance and student loans are typically offered only for accredited programs.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Find out what the reputations and rankings are for the Troy AL paralegal programs you are considering. This is of special importance if you are new to the field with no previous work history, since employers will need to rely on the quality of your training exclusively. Confirming that the program you select is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating reports, including those furnished by U.S. News and World Report, can help verify school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also contact several law practices that you may be interested in working for after graduation and ask which schools they recommend. Bear in mind that even when a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program could still have an exceptional reputation.
Does the Program Provide Internships? Internship programs offer students an opportunity to experience working in a law practice or other legal establishment while remaining in school. They can also present an avenue for students to start developing contacts within the Troy AL legal community. Find out if the paralegal programs you are considering provide internship programs, specifically in areas of the law that you have the most interest in pursuing after graduation.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the paralegal schools you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama legal services employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Campus Located? Considering that laws differ among states, it might be beneficial to choose a paralegal school located in the state where you wish to work after graduating. In addition, it will be necessary to cultivate relationships in the neighboring legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is even more reason to receive your education in the area where you want to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, most require a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you might need to initially investigate those colleges that are within your Troy AL local region.
How Much is the Total Cost? Paralegal programs can vary in cost based on the credential earned and the amount of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your education. Remember to include the cost of books, supplies and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance may be accessible to help reduce part of the cost, so don’t forget to consult with the school’s financial aid department to find out what is offered in Troy AL. Naturally if you decide to attend an online program, some of these supplementary costs, such as for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? A number of paralegal students keep working while getting their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can just attend night or weekend classes near Troy AL, make sure classes are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you enroll in makes available that option. Finally, inquire what the process is for making-up missed classes because of work, illness or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Troy AL?
Between the years of 1763 and 1783, the area where Troy sits was part of the colony of British West Florida. After 1783 the region fell under the jurisdiction of the newly created United States of America.
As of the 2010 census, the population was 18,033. The 2016 estimated population was 19,191. The City of Troy is considered one of the fastest growing cities in Alabama. Troy is a college town and is home to Troy University, the third-largest university in total enrollment in the state of Alabama.
For many centuries, the area in and around Troy was settled by different tribes of Native Americans, but became primarily known for its Muskogee Creek presence. Most Creek tribes lived along rivers or streams at that time. Near the Troy area, many Native Americans settled around the Conecuh River and the Pea River.
Between the years of 1763 and 1783, the area where Troy would eventually be established was part of the colony of British West Florida. After 1783 the region fell under the jurisdiction of the newly created United States of America. After 1783, the region fell under the jurisdiction of the newly created United States of America. In 1819 the State of Alabama was admitted to the Union and was soon organized into counties. The county that Troy was eventually founded in, known as Pike County, was one of the first counties established in Alabama. It comprised a large tract of country, so large that it was called the "State of Pike", which included parts of what are now Crenshaw, Montgomery, Macon, Bullock, and Barbour counties, and extended to the Chattahoochee River on the east.
Enroll in the Ideal Paralegal Training near Troy AL
Enrolling in the ideal paralegal educational program is a crucial first step to guarantee your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have addressed in this post, you have the option of attending classes at school or you can participate online in the privacy and comfort of your Troy home. Paralegal academic programs are made available in numerous lengths and formats. Various types of private and public institutions make available paralegal education, including community and junior colleges, four-year colleges and universities, as well as trade and vocational schools. Your selection of a paralegal program will have a pronounced impact on your opportunities for success in your new career. Given that there is a broad range in the quality of programs, choose wisely. Give yourself the greatest possible chance to be successful in this fascinating profession. But no matter how you choose to acquire your training and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will be able to evaluate each school and make your ultimate selection. And with the ideal education you can achieve your career objective to become a practicing paralegal in Troy AL.
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