How to Choose a Paralegal Studies Program near Tuskegee Institute Alabama
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Tuskegee Institute AL and start your journey that will result in a satisfying career in legal services. However, it’s crucial that you find the right school so that you will receive the comprehensive training that you require to achieve success. As you probably know, the legal field is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and more and more educational choices are becoming available, both at school and online. But with so many alternatives to choose from, where does one start? Many potential students start by looking for paralegal schools within traveling range of their Tuskegee Institute homes. Of those options, they search for the program with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are necessary considerations when picking a college, they are not the only factors you ought to consider. Things like accreditation and the reputation of the school need to be considered as well. Later on in this article we will cover a list of concerns that you should ask potential paralegal certificate schools so that you can examine and compare every one before making your choice. But before we do, let’s have a look at exactly what a paralegal does and the educational alternatives that are offered to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?
Paralegals and legal assistants essentially both hold the same job roles and responsibilities, just with different titles. However, legal secretaries are not the same as either of those two positions and are part of a different job category. Both paralegals and legal assistants assist attorneys in Tuskegee Institute AL with a diverse array of job functions, such as maintaining client files, legal research, drafting legal documents and communicating with clients. Their specific job functions are based upon the type of legal firm where they work. For example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm may assist with the logistics of a trial or delivering documents to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is usually billed by the hour as are the attorney’s. And the same as attorneys, they must conduct themselves with a high level of professionalism and abide by a strict code of professional ethics. As stated, their duties can be wide ranging in support of the practices where they work, but a few of their everyday tasks might involve:
- Researching and fact checking cases
- Researching applicable laws and cases
- Drafting correspondence and legal papers
- Submitting legal papers with opposing counsel or the court
- Helping lawyers prepare for trial and stay organized with their cases
- Organizing and maintaining legal documents, files and other records
With all of their responsibilities, the role of a Tuskegee Institute AL paralegal can be complex and quite challenging. However, what they are not legally authorized to do is offer legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not confined to administrative or clerical duties more suited to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals really are the main support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, attorneys have the ability to manage a much larger number of cases or clients than they could otherwise.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we discussed earlier, paralegals are basically the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. As a result, for either position the academic requirements and job prospects will be the same. The fastest way to launch your career in Tuskegee Institute AL as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which can take as little as six months to complete. A large number of entry level positions do require an Associate’s Degree, which offer a more extensive education and can be earned at many community colleges in 2 years. For an even more comprehensive education, 4 year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. After you have acquired either a degree or a certificate, you might want to continue and obtain a certification. Even though it is not a legal requirement in Alabama to practice as a paralegal, certification may not only help boost your job opportunities, but help substantiate you as a professional as well. Some of the highly regarded certifying agencies 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 degree or certificate from an accredited program (we will discuss the advantages of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken 2 important initial steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Tuskegee Institute AL.
Online Paralegal Degrees
Online paralegal programs have become more prevalent and can be an excellent alternative for students in Tuskegee Institute AL looking for convenient access to classes as well as accommodating scheduling. Online schools can be particularly appealing to individuals who keep working while obtaining a degree. As an additional advantage, online programs can sometimes be less expensive than on campus options. Even supplementary expenses for such items as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all internet programs are accredited, which we will address in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps ensure that the education you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make certain that the school and program you are considering are accredited by a reputable organization, for instance the American Bar Association. But if you are disciplined enough to study in a less structured and conventional environment, then obtaining your degree or certificate online could be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Paralegal Programs
Once you have a better understanding about what paralegals do and what educational choices are offered, you can start the undertaking of assessing Tuskegee Institute AL area schools. But considering that there are so many programs accessible at junior and community colleges, as well as vocational and trade schools, you must know what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is particularly true when you add all of the online paralegal certificate and degree programs also. If you are like most 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 important issues to research also, including the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at a few of the questions you should be asking the schools you are investigating so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your final selection.
Is the Paralegal Training Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you pick should be accredited by a reputable organization such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance training. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the education you will obtain will be of the highest quality, but it will show potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. Numerous Tuskegee Institute AL law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that are graduates of an accredited program. Also, financial aid and student loans are usually available only for accredited programs.
What’s the Program’s Reputation? Research what the rankings and reputations are for the Tuskegee Institute AL paralegal schools you are contemplating. This is of special importance if you are new to the profession with no previous experience, since employers will need to rely on the caliber of your training exclusively. Checking that the program you pick is accredited is a good first step. Checking school rating services, including those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help confirm school quality of education and rankings as well. You can also call several law practices that you may have an interest in working for after graduation and ask which schools they suggest. Keep in mind that even if a school is not the most highly rated, its paralegal program could still have an excellent reputation.
Does the Program Offer Internships? Internship programs provide students an opportunity to experience working in a law practice or other legal enterprise while still in school. They can also provide a pathway for students to start establishing contacts within the Tuskegee Institute AL legal field. Ask if the paralegal schools you are assessing offer internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you are most interested in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in a new field can be challenging without help. Find out if the paralegal schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama legal services employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Campus Located? Because laws vary from state to state, it might be beneficial to select a paralegal school located in the state where you want to work after graduating. Also, it will be important to cultivate relationships in the area legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is all the more justification to obtain your education in the community where you want to work. 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 need to initially investigate those schools that are within your Tuskegee Institute AL local area.
What is the Total Cost? Paralegal programs can differ in cost depending on the credential obtained and the amount of training provided. Having said that, tuition will not be the only cost for your training. Don’t forget to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget also. Financial assistance might be available to help reduce some of the expense, so make sure to consult with the school’s financial aid department to find out what is offered in Tuskegee Institute AL. Needless to say that if you decide to attend an online program, some of these additional costs, for instance for commuting, may be decreased or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Fit your Schedule? Numerous paralegal students keep working while getting their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can just attend weekend or evening classes near Tuskegee Institute AL, make certain classes are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you choose makes available that option. Finally, ask what the process is for making up missed classes as a result of sickness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Paralegal School in Tuskegee Institute AL?
Tuskegee University is a private, historically black university (HBCU) located in Tuskegee, Alabama, United States. It was established by Lewis Adams and Booker T. Washington. The campus is designated as the Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site by the National Park Service and is the only one in the U.S. to have this designation. The university was home to scientist George Washington Carver and to World War II's Tuskegee Airmen.
Tuskegee University offers 40 bachelor's degree programs, 17 master's degree programs, a 5-year accredited professional degree program in architecture, 4 doctoral degree programs, and the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. The university is home to over 3,100 students from the U.S. and 30 foreign countries. Tuskegee University was ranked among 2018's best 379 colleges and universities by The Princeton Review and 6th among the 2018 U.S. News & World Report best HBCUs.
The school was founded on July 4, 1881, as the Tuskegee Normal School for Colored Teachers. This was a result of an agreement made during the 1880 elections in Macon County between a former Confederate Colonel, W.F. Foster, who was running on the democratic ticket and a local Black Leader and Republican, Lewis Adams. W.F. Foster propositioned that if Adams could successfully persuade the Black constituents to vote for Foster, if elected, Foster would push the state of Alabama to establish a school for Black people in the county. At the time the majority of Macon County population was Black, thus Black constituents had political power. Adams succeeded and Foster followed through with the school. The school became a part of the expansion of higher education for blacks in the former Confederate states following the American Civil War, with many schools founded by the northern American Missionary Association. A teachers' school was the dream of Lewis Adams, a former slave, and George W. Campbell, a banker, merchant, and former slaveholder, who shared a commitment to the education of blacks. Despite lacking formal education, Adams could read, write, and speak several languages. He was an experienced tinsmith, harness-maker, and shoemaker and was a Prince Hall Freemason, an acknowledged leader of the African-American community in Macon County, Alabama.
Adams and Campbell had secured $2,000 from the State of Alabama for teachers' salaries but nothing for land, buildings, or equipment. Adams, Campbell (replacing Thomas Dryer, who died after his appointment), and M. B. Swanson formed Tuskegee's first board of commissioners. Campbell wrote to the Hampton Institute, a historically black college in Virginia, requesting the recommendation of a teacher for their new school. Samuel C. Armstrong, the Hampton principal and a former Union general, recommended 25-year-old Booker T. Washington, an alumnus and teacher at Hampton. The Tuskegee Railroad was 5 and 1/2 miles from Tuskegee to Selma. It was destroyed in the Civil War but then rebuilt in 1880 to connect the Tuskegee Institute to other railroad lines.
Select the Best Paralegal Training near Tuskegee Institute AL
Selecting the ideal paralegal degree program is an important first step toward your success in the gratifying field of law. As we have addressed in this post, you have the option of attending classes on campus or you can attend them online in the privacy and comfort of your Tuskegee Institute residence. Paralegal training programs are offered in various formats and lengths. Various types of private and public institutions provide paralegal education, including community colleges, four year colleges and universities, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a profound influence 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 opportunity to succeed in this rewarding profession. But irrespective of how you decide to obtain your education and earn your degree or certificate, by asking the questions that we have furnished you will be able to evaluate each program and make your final selection. And with the right education you can accomplish your career objective to become a successful paralegal in Tuskegee Institute AL.
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